High Court rules in favour of Xolobeni community in historic mining rights case

Xolobeni community member against mining (Paul Botes/M&G)

Xolobeni community member against mining (Paul Botes/M&G)

The minister of mineral resources will have to obtain full and formal consent from the Xolobeni community prior to granting mining rights, the Pretoria High Court ordered on Thursday.

READ MORE: Would-be Xolobeni miner has ‘broken’ West Coast promises

The Amadiba Crisis Committee launched a court battle against the department of mineral resources and Australian company Transworld Energy and Mineral Resources (TEM) over mining rights earlier this year.

READ MORE: We will die for our land, say angry Xolobeni villagers as dune mining looms

TEM, which is the fifth respondent in the matter, had filed an application for rights to mine the titanium-rich sands at the Umgungundlovu area of Xolobeni on the Wild Coast.

In her judgment, Judge Annali Basson declared that the mineral resources minister must obtain consent from the community, as the holder of rights on land, prior to granting any mining right to TEM.

In her conclusion, she stated that while the informal rights of customary communities were previously not protected by law, they now had the right to decide what happens with their land.

“As such they may not be deprived of their land without their consent,” said Basson in her judgment.—News 24

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