Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 29 April 2010
Bongani Mineral’s recently withdrawn application for mining rights and newly submitted application for prospecting rights in the Moutonshoek Valley are about low grade tungsten ore and short term profits.
For the people who live in the district the true issue is about the threat to their way of life, food security, provision of water, air quality and the potential for massive environmental degradation throughout the Verloren Valley from Piketberg to the Atlantic Ocean.
The rains which fall on the Piketberg feed the Krom Antonies River which has sustained farming in the fertile Moutonshoek Valley for 300 years. The Piket-bo-berg and the valley produce export fruit, nuts, olives, potatoes, proteas and world class horses and provide work and a livelihood for hundreds of local people. The Krom Antonies River feeds the Verloren River which runs past Redelinghuys on its way to the sea. This water constitutes 60% by volume of that received by the Verlorenvlei which forms an estuary at Elands Bay and functions as a nursery for the local fishing and crayfishing industries.
Whilst the applicant is keen to limit the focus of the issue to the valuable Moutonshoek Valley; the area of effect is in fact about 4000 square kilometers.
The quality and flow of water reaching the Verlorenvlei and thus the sea is at high risk of contamination by tungsten which becomes unstable during the mining process and has a strong affiliation for water. The fledgling tourist industry in the district, based on burgeoning guest houses, nature reserves and the famous left hand break at Elands Bay, may cease to exist.
The rich and unique flora and fauna in the area, many species of which are vulnerable or endangered, could be lost.
This ancient riverine system and wetland, the livelihoods of thousands of people on the Piket-bo-berg, in the Moutonshoek Valley, Redelinghuys and Elands Bay, all the farms which lie on either side of the Verloren River and around the vlei look set to be sacrificed on the altar of greed.
Source: Life on the Vlei