The imminent sale of De Beers' diamond mining operations on the Cape West Coast must be halted until full disclosure and proper consultation with all affected parties has taken place, says the community of Hondeklipbaai.
The department of Mineral Resources (DMR) is expected to make a decision on the approval of the amended environmental management programme, and the transfer of mining rights to Tranx Hex, within weeks. The community launched an awareness campaign this week, to urge DMR to postpone their decision.
Speaking at a media briefing in Cape Town, Hondeklipbaai community leader Dawid Markus said the sale cannot be allowed to continue until they were assured that the companies would honour their obligations to rehabilitate the area.
'We make an urgent call on the DMR to hold these companies to account and to not forget the communities that are directly affected. Too often big mining companies exploit the country's natural resources without undoing the damage they cause,' said Markus.
He was speaking at the launch of two documentary videos in which the direct damage to the Hondeklipbaai area can be seen. The community is on the West Coast of South Africa, approximately 300 kilometres outside Cape Town.
Markus was supported by the Bench Mark Foundation at the briefing. Bench Mark Foundation earlier this year asked De Beers Consolidated Mines to make substantial revisions to the Environmental Management Programme Report which will become the only legal tool to prevent a lasting negative legacy from diamond mining in Namaqualand.
'The area in Hondeklipbaai is rich in biodiversity, with some species of plants and animals that are not see anywhere else in the world.
'This area must be protected and conserved, and we're not convinced that the current plans will not leave the area exposed to more risks. Their budget for this kind of repair work is wholly inadequate, and it is the people of Hondeklipbaai that will end up paying for it, for generations to come,' said Markus.