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Uranium mining victory for Karoo farmers

08 July 2016
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Prospective Karoo uranium mining developers Tasman Pacific Minerals Limited and Lukisa JVCo announced the withdrawal of their joint application for mining rights to 570 000 hectares of Central Karoo farmlands yesterday.

Eastern Cape farmers are celebrating this development in the Western Cape as a victory, as the current mining application now only has 12 percent of its original scope.

Agri Eastern Cape president Douglas Stern said the announcement was a major capitulation.

Following presentations made at the last Agri Eastern Cape general council meeting, he said they and their affiliated commodity organisations raised numerous issues with the environmental consultants contracted to do the environmental impact assessment.

Stern said it was clear that the concerns raised by residents, farmers, community organisations and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) were of a sufficiently serious enough nature to make the developers reconsider.

“On behalf of the farming community of the Karoo, we at Agri Eastern Cape would like to thank everybody who made inputs in this regard.”

Ani Tsondru, CEO of SAFCEI in Cape Town, said it was a wonderful victory for the people of the Karoo, the environment and the South African nation.

They are tasked with tackling environmental issues and are actively involved in the opposition to uranium mining.

“While the economics to mine Karoo uranium were questionable from the outset, the current large-scale withdrawal puts a stop to most plans of this disruptive industry, whose impacts would have been felt far beyond the Karoo,” said Tsondru.

Stern also highlighted the contribution of Agri Western Cape in its extensive research of issues surrounding uranium mining and farmland.

Although the tide was turning in farmers’ favour, he said the fight was not over yet.

“The remaining 12 percent that the developers are applying for is still of concern, but we will continue fighting this tooth and nail.

“We cannot allow the mining to happen. It would have a serious negative impact on the environment,” said Stern.

“We will do everything we can to protect the health of our farmers and animals.”

The next public participation meeting will be held at Beaufort West on July 22 to discuss the issues and strategies going forward.

Caption: Agri Eastern Cape president Douglas Stern says that the announcement is a huge victory for Karoo farmers. Photo: Supplied