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Australian miners ‘impact locals right to fish and food’

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Fishers along the coast are “deeply distressed” by the recent dismissal of appeals against the Environmental Authorisation for mining in the Oliphants River.

Mineral Sands Resources (MSR), an Australian mining company, is set to mine along the coast. In a statement Masifundise, which represents various fishers, said it was distressing that Minister Barbra Creecy, of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), dismissed the appeals logged against a decision to grant an Environmental Authorisation to MSR in respect of a prospecting right application. “We are concerned about the number of Mineral Sands Resources (MSR) applications being filed for mining activities from Elandsbaai to Alexander Bay,” the organisation said on Tuesday.

Part of their distress comes from the accessibility, or the lack thereof, small-scale fishing communities will have to traditional fishing grounds and the natural resources if the coastal mining continue as planned. “The minister’s decision to accept the prospecting application right is potentially devastating for the future of small-scale fishing communities.”

Sylvester Donn, Coastal Links leader from Ebenhaezer, says the number of mining applications on the West Coast from Alexanderbaai to Elandsbaai is “piling up”. Carmen Mannarino, Programme Manager at Masifundise, says mining will certainly impact the future of small-scale fishing communities concerning their right to work and right to food.

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