Gaia Foundation press release, Thursday 15th December 2011
Yesterday in Central London a silent protest took place outside the General Meeting of Shareholders of Australian mining company, Coal of Africa Ltd (CoAL). The protest was held in solidarity with the communities of the Limpopo Province, South Africa, who face untold ecological, social and economic damage to their ancestral homes should the mine go ahead.
The CoAL project which will affect this region is known as the Makhado Project. It is in addition to one other mine owned by the company in Limpopo Province, known as Vele, and a further two in the neighbouring Mpumalanga province. Yesterday’s meeting preceded CoAL’s Conditional Placing of Shares on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange plc, which is set to take place today.
Liz Hosken, founding director of The Gaia Foundation, took part in the protest: “We are here in support of the local communities and especially the Makadzhis – the guardians of the sacred sites and sacred lands of Venda in Limpopo Province. These are the spiritual leaders of the people whose responsibility it is to protect their ancestral homeland, which these coal-mining projects will destroy if they go ahead. The company haven’t even carried out proper studies, but the one thing that they have admitted is that the underground water will be finished within two years. So there isn’t even enough water for their own projects; let alone for life itself. If there is no water, there is no life. This is truly Ecocide.”
Earlier this week twelve civil society groups and community members from the Limpopo Province sent a letter to over fifty shareholders and potential investors of Coal of Africa (CoAL) demanding that they reconsider their plans to support the company – and specifically the Makhado Project.
The letter set out a number of grave concerns relating to CoAL’s handling of the Makhado project and their neighbouring Vele mine. These included a flawed public participation process; failure to provide adequate answers to questions raised by the community; no water licence; and an insufficient Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA), Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan.
The letter states: “We have a responsibility to our ancestors and to our children to stop the destruction of our ancestral lands. You would do the same if someone wanted to mine your home. Please think about that”.
Notes to Editors:
Watch a 2-minute film about yesterday’s protest and what the mine will mean for the lives of the communities of Limpopo here:
For further information please contact Rowan Phillimore at The Gaia Foundation, London on +44 207 428 0054 or firstname.lastname@example.org
or A.M. Mudau, Dzomo la Mupo, South Africa email: email@example.com or +27 79 412 2666
Image: Silent protest outside CoAL’s General Meeting of Shareholders which took place in Central London yesterday (Wednesday 14th December). Copyright, The Gaia Foundation.
Representatives from The Gaia Foundation, the London Mining Network and the general public took part in the peaceful protest.
The letter which was sent to CoAL shareholders and investors earlier this week has been based on evidence and analysis drawn from a research report commissioned by an alliance of groups, to look into the impacts of coal mining. The report Mine Not – Waste Not: A preliminary critique of aspects of the CoAL Makhado Colliery Project EIA and EMP is available on the following websites: The Gaia Foundation http://www.gaiafoundation.org and London Mining Network www.londonminingnetwork.org.
Coal of Africa’s website states today that, ‘subject to obtaining shareholder approval to issue the Conditional Placing Shares, the Company will apply for admission of the Conditional Placing Shares to trading or quotation and listing of the Conditional Placing Shares on the AIM market of London Stock Exchange plc (“AIM”) on 15 December 2011 and on the Main Board of JSE Limited (“JSE”) on 20 December 2011. Accordingly, the anticipated settlement date for the Conditional Placing Shares on AIM is 15 December 2011’. www.coalofafrica.com