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Cape mineral rights prospecting saga finally over

Prospecting for mineral rights in the Western Cape will not go ahead, the South African government has confirmed.

The announcement comes after a ‘farcical’ situation in which the government see-sawed in its decision as to whether prospecting would go ahead.

Now the Department of Mineral Resources ‘has confirmed that state-owned African Exploration Mining and Finance Company (AEMFC) had officially withdrawn their Cape Town and Stellenbosch prospecting rights applications in the Western Cape.’

The Winelands Action Group, a coalition which includes the Cape Winemakers Guild, Wines of South Africa (WoSA), farmworker forums, Worldwide Fund for Nature and several other bodies, hailed the news as ‘a victory for social justice and democratic rights’.

It had previously accused AEMFC of either ‘bureaucratic bungling’ or deliberately giving false information, and called on DME director-general Sandile Nobxina to ‘step in and put an end to this farcical situation.’

The Group is now calling for a National Forum on Mining Policy, saying the prospecting rights applications in Cape winelands ‘have highlighted the fact that applications need to be tackled at a national policy level rather than remaining individually case-specific.’

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Written by Adam Lechmere

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