MEDIA RELEASE: Mining and murder on the Wild Coast of South Africa

18 May 2016

26 Australian NGO, churches, unions and civil society groups call on Mineral Commodities Limited, an Australian listed mining company based in Perth, to withdraw from the Xolobeni proposal due to human rights concerns.

26 Australian NGO, churches, unions and civil society have signed a statement calling on Australian mining company Mineral Commodities Limited (MRC) to withdraw its proposed mineral sands mining operation at Xolobeni, on the Wild Coast of South Africa, due to human rights concerns and ongoing community opposition.

The statement condemns the  murder of Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe, a South African community leader. Rhadebe was the Chairperson of the Amadiba Crisis Committee which has been resisting MRC’s Xolobeni mine proposal for over a decade and recently filed a legal objection to the mining right application.

The murder, on the 22 March 2016, occurred shortly after the Umgungundlovu Inkosana’s Council, The Amadiba Crisis Committee and 89 residents of the proposed mining area, filed an objection on the 4 March against the mining right application filed by MRC subsidiary, Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources (SA) (Pty) Ltd.

“Our community has been opposing this mine for over a decade. We will not be intimidated into submission. We will continue to defend our ancestral land of Amadiba on the Wild Coast and we call on people from democratic South Africa and all around the world to support us in this struggle” said Nonhle Mbuthuma Forslund, Amadiba community leader.

“In supporting the Amadiba Crisis Committee, we are deeply concerned that the ambitions of an Australian mining company, in seeking to impose a mine on a community, has led to escalating violence, intimidation and murder said Charles Roche from the Mineral Policy Institute.

“Given the ongoing conflict about this mine, financially prudent and ethically responsible shareholders should be calling for MRC to withdraw their proposal and to develop an exit strategy from the project.”

The statement highlights the growing human rights concerns regarding Australian mining operations overseas. It calls on the Australian government to establish and strengthen systems for monitoring and enforcing the human rights standards in the operations of Australian companies acting overseas.

“We are seeing growing human rights impacts of Australian companies operating in Africa and in other parts of the world. It is critical that the Australian government strengthens existing and establishes new systems, including the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, for monitoring and enforcing human rights standards of Australian companies extraterritorially.

The statement is available: https://standwithamadiba.wordpress.com/2016/05/18/joint-statement-on-the-assassination-of-south-african-activist/

Media contact:

Charles Roche, Mineral Policy Institute, +61450901714

Nonhle Mbuthuma Forslund, Amadiba Crisis Committee, +076 3592982

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