“Our farms are not for sale and we will fight this no matter what,” Silkaatsnek landowners told representatives of a company that lodged an application for prospecting in the area during a heated public meeting in De Wildt last week.
The landowners made it voluble clear that they would do anything to stop the proposed prospecting in this beautiful area.
An application to prospect for chrome, copper, coal and platinum metals on 36 portions was brought by Stonibut Trading and Invest 14 (Edms) Bpk, and the relevant owners were only contacted three working days before the deadline for comments was to expire.
Despite the fact that the meeting was only published on the day of the meeting, quite a number of residents and affected landowners attended and voiced their objections and concerns loudly.
However, a seemingly assured Dr Konstant Bruinette for Stonibut told the landowners that “it would pay everyone to share in the process” which infuriated the landowners even more.
“Money is not everything, most of the farms have been in our families for five to six generations. We don’t want to sell,” one said. To which Bruinette replied that he was obviously not a poor man.
Upon questions as to what is supposed to happen if chrome is found, Dr Bruinette said: “You will have to sell your properties and become shareholders in the mine.”
On the question of refusing prospectors on their land, Bruinette said the landowners have rights as do mines.
John Wesson, of the Wildlife and Environment Society of SA (WESSA) reminded Bruinette that the relevant area might be included in the Magaliesberg Biosphere and be registered as a conservancy next year. “Up until then we cannot allow any prospecting.”
According to a summary by the Resource Co Group, a shareholder of Stonibut of which Bruinette is a director, the Hernic Chrome mine’s ore body is directly to the west, but is displaced by a fault some 5 km to the north.
‘Some of the Hernic geologists, and others, are of the opinion that no chrome or PGM will be present in the exploration area. The technical directors of RCG and other geologists believe that chrome and PGM of significance may be present. The ore body is expected to be 10km long with the deepest at around 300m deep and 500m wide. Approxia-mately 110 portions of land are involved and in addition another 250 neighbouring portions will be affected.”
When asked about damage to all affected land, not just those to be prospected and mined on, Bruinette said damage management will be done. “Houses and other assets will be measured and plans drawn with photographs and all defects and cracks recorded and photographed. The value of each asset will be obtained
from a recognized quantity surveyor and agreed with the owner.
To the shock of residents in the area, a second application for prospecting has now surfaced. This application is brought by Halovax Investments with 14 days comment time. However, emails to comment are either being returned or not answered. Kormorant contacted phone numbers advertised and first reached a “Mr Du Toit” who denied being involved. However upon contacting the office number, Kormorant was told that the number belonged to the applicant “Mr Toitjie du Toit” and that the relevant person comments have to be lodged with, was out of the country.
Residents have been chain-emailing in order to present the issue to the Department of Mineral Affairs.
Kormorant’s investigation continues.