Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register

Author Topic: Verelorenvlei threatened by tungsten mine in the Piketberg  (Read 2251 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline tok-tokkie

  • Race Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: Yamaha TW200
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,007
  • Thanked: 83 times
  • Green Point
The valley above Verlorenvlei will be turned into an opencast tungsten mine if the developer gets his way.  The owner of the farm that the mine will be on is opposing it.  I have copied an email here explaining the situation and the English & Afrikaans fuller explanations are the next posts in this thread.


The attached Word document explains that the mine will be on the Krom Antonies river.  This is the river that starts in the Piketberg itself & flows northwards to join the Verlorenvlei river just where the Kapteinskloof road joins the R366 (Piketberg to Elands bay road).  The farm is marked on the 1:250 000 #3218 Clanwilliam map as #76 Namaquasfontein.

This is the Kapteinskloof road with (I believe) the Krom Antonies river at the bottom of the slope.  That is the Piketberg ahead but the bit directly behind the town is off the picture on the left.  It is the best picture of the area that I happen to have.

Verlorenvlei.  The mine will be upstream from here but it will cut off the water supply and severely pollute what water does come through to the vlei.

This is near Het Kruis (which is mentioned in the report) but is not the Krom Antonies river, it is the Langvleirivier – Piketberg mountain is further to the right (south).

The report states that the mine will be twice as big as Phalaborwa.  This is Phalaborwa from Google Earth.

Two aerial photos of Phalaborwa.


In the report you will see that they ‘ claim they will have to dam the Berg, Olifants and Krom Antonies rivers for the mine.- with resultant cessation of irrigation farming in entire districts.’  Obviously this mine, if it goes ahead, will have serious (catastrophic) implications for the environment in the area.  Equally, it will generate jobs and economic benefits for the area.
Verlorenvlei will be a thing of the past and the Piketberg Sandveldt and much of the West Coast (Sandveldt) will be forever changed.

We, as users of the area, can register as interested and affected parties opposed to the mine.  For the objections to be effective they need to be based on legitimate legal and procedural points.  Saying that we are not happy about the impact on the view or scenic beauty will have little or no effect.  It would be best to consult the lawyers working on the case as to how best to go about any objections – the more objectors the better for them so they should be amenable to an approach from organised (as against many individual) bike riders.

I don’t want to organise the objections to this mine.  I bring this matter to your attention.  What happens next is up to you. 

Be aware that what happens here will set a precedent for the country so it has implications for WDs throughout the country.

« Last Edit: May 04, 2009, 10:32:13 am by tok-tokkie »

Offline tok-tokkie

  • Race Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: Yamaha TW200
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,007
  • Thanked: 83 times
  • Green Point
Re: Verelorenvlei threatened by tungstem mine in the Piketberg
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2009, 10:30:11 am »

From: Kerry Kruger
To: 'Bennie van der Merwe' ; 'Philippa Huntly' ; strangedesign@telkomsa.net
Cc: garry@devs.co.za
Sent: Friday, April 24, 2009 12:34 PM

Dear All

We believe that you may well be interested in the proposal to mine tungsten in the Moutonshoek Valley!

The attached correspondence, one a notice circulated by Aubrey Withers, the environmental consultant appointed by the proposed developer of the mine, the other by Dr Bennie van der Merwe, one of the farmers who would be most affected by the proposal, should shed some light.

Some of the implications of the proposal are:

1.. Loss of many jobs, mostly by PD women
2.     Diverting all, or most, water currently replenishing the vlei, to the mine's use.  Perhaps damming the vlei!

3.     Significant dust and noise pollution in the entire area.

4.     Increased Traffic which will damage roads and increase risk on roads.

5.     Loss of valuable, and productive farming land and farm workers jobs

6.     Compromise of an area rich in wildlife, archeological interest, and fynbos.

7.     The mine will cause serious water pollution which will affect not only the immediate area but the entire catchment and down stream users and will threaten Verloerenvlei - a Ramsar wetland.

The above mentioned Environmental Consultant has proposed a public meeting at the Karookop Primary School (see attached directions), at 14h30 on 30th April 2009, and has noted a closing date for objections by Interested and Affected Parties (I & AP's) of 25th May 2009.

Attendance by as many prospective I & AP's as possible is essential!!!

Please contact me should you require further information!

Yours sincerely

Kerry Kruger

P.S.!!  NB!!  There may be an attempt to postpone both the public meeting and the closing date for objections due to the very short notice period.  I will inform all recipients of this mail as soon as possible should this transpire!

Our contact details are as follows:

Office telephone no. 021 689 2377

Office fax no. 021 686 3389

Kerry Kruger email - kerry@devs.co.za

Garry Sheard email - garry@devs.co.za

I attach the ‘Intertested and Affected Parties’ (I&APs) official pdf files to this post.


Offline tok-tokkie

  • Race Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: Yamaha TW200
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,007
  • Thanked: 83 times
  • Green Point
Re: Verelorenvlei threatened by tungstem mine in the Piketberg
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2009, 10:31:04 am »
Introduction to issues at hand

Herewith in point form the basics.

The trouble started in 2004 after the expropriation of private farmers’ mineral rights by the Government.  (Recently ruled as unconstitutional by the courts! – Agri SA vs Govt).

There is a relatively large deposit of Tungsten and related Molydenum here (A 0.2% deposit in veins around 110m below the surface) – low grade.

Tungsten’s biggest use is in mining – hardens drillbits (from the smallest to the largest) also in light globes (‘wolfram’) and as linings in gun barrels.
China is the biggest producer but their mines are skidding and are getting too deep and dangerous (Reeks of Chinese Conspiracy theory ala Dalai Lama!)
The ‘Rubber Bible’ of metals in SA predicts that the Riviera deposit here would be the first to be mined.

We are situated in a narrow (3km) beautiful, pristine valley north west of Piketberg on the West Coast.  The Krom Antonies River originates from here.  The river supplies roughly 60% of the volume of water of the Verlorenvlei, an international RAMSAR site.  Also by far the largest volume of high quality clean (uncontaminated/ non-polluted) water to the Verlorenvlei wetland of International Importance.

We farm with export fruit, wine, potatoes, rooibos tea, racehorses and livestock in this fertile valley.  Irrigation is our life blood.  We employ nearly 500 permanent and 1000 seasonal workers – mainly women.

The ‘Bad Guys’ are Bongani Minerals and their chums in the DME.  The main man is Trevor Pikwane from Kimberley.  He is the largest licenced black diamond buyer in SA.  He does not enjoy a good reputation.  He is well connected with the Premier candidate in the Northern Cape.  They want to (by their own admission) build an open cast mine twice the size of Phalaborwa, with resultant dust that will make the whole valley uninhabitable.  They claim they will have to dam the Berg, Olifants and Krom Antonies rivers for the mine.- with resultant cessation of irrigation farming in entire districts.
Bongani’s geologist is/was An Cornelissen, who has been scratching around here for a long time.  (There is a 30 year history of prospecting in this valley amongst others by Anglo etc).  His chum Robert Cooke was involved but has since died.  Their consultant Philip Schreuder (an ex DME Head) has also died.  Wian Basson seems to fit in somewhere.  Their new consultant is Aubrey Withers and he REALLY has a shocking reputation.

Bongani made their first application for a prospecting right in 2005.  They ignored all procedural requirements and regulations.  (We were well coached by a person who makes a living doing applications.  He told us exactly how to trip them up, but to his astonishment they survived all the way! Patently corruption etc played a role).

Mary Slack (nee Oppenheimer) has a racehorse stud in the valley.  Only after the involvement of her and our legal teams was the shocking application rejected on a small technical point!

Only to be replaced by yet another prospecting right application – just as rotten and full of duck-and-dive and deceit.

In spite of massive opposition by Cape Nature, Dept of Agriculture and the whole community that would lose their livelihood, the prospecting right was granted on 4 April 2007.

We challenged the Minister responsible to a Judicial Review.  The process took so long that after R1 million legal fees, we had a ‘slam-dunk’ case against her.  But the first court date we could get was 3 weeks after Bongani’s 2 year prospecting right lapsed!

The State Attorney and our legal team did absolutely everything to get an earlier court date.  Bongani stated that they didn’t care – they had other plans…..  On 22 October 2008 we caught Aubrey Withers and his team trespassing on our land.  They want to start an EIA for Bongani Mining Application.

In the meantime some more vultures pull into the valley (Nanda Investments) and apply for a prospecting right to the remaining properties in the valley.  We object, mainly as an identical application is subject to a Judicial Review that we expect to win.

Their application gets referred to RMDEC (a committee where other government departments sit but chaired by the DME).  Just before the RMDEC meeting, where we were to state our case, Nanda withdraw their application.

At the RMDEC meeting an associate aks the RMDEC chair about the status of our Bongani applications on our behalf.  She assures her that no NO Bongani Applications will be entertained until the outcome of the Judicial Review at the end of April 2009.  Contrary to the assurance given by the RMDEC chair, the DME accept the Bongani Mining Application on 19 March 2009… Obviously, the whole Judicial Review became moot.

We stumbled onto this fact by accident as the Section 10 notice only got pinned to the DME notice board in the Foreshore, Cape Town for 30 days.  One has 30 days to comment.

Our consultant instructed us in no uncertain manner that the time to kick up a big stink and ‘name and shame’ people is right now!  With maximum media coverage! (the rationale being that when the other government departments get to comment, they have no option but to oppose).

We need all the action and help right now!

Offline tok-tokkie

  • Race Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: Yamaha TW200
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,007
  • Thanked: 83 times
  • Green Point
Re: Verelorenvlei threatened by tungstem mine in the Piketberg
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2009, 10:31:50 am »
Inleiding tot kwessies huidiglik

Die moeilikheid het in 2004 begin na onteiening van mineraalregte deur die regering.  (Onlangs deur hof as ongrontwetlik bepaal-Agri SA vs.Regering.)

Daar is ‘n redelike groot neerslag van Tungsten en verwante Molibdeen hier (‘n 0,2% neerslag in are teen rondom 110m)- lae graad.  Tungsten se grootste gebruik is in die mynbedryf-maak boorpunte hard-ook in gloeilampe "wolfram" en lope van gewere.  China is die grootste produsent maar hul myne raak op en gevaarlik.(Ruik na `n Chinese komplot soos algemeen in Afrike-Dalai Lama en al!)  Die "Rubberbybel" van metale in SA voorspel dat die Riviera neerslag hier die eerste is wat ontgin sal word.

Ons is in ‘n nou (3km) pragtige vallei noordwes van Piketberg op die weskus.  Die Krom Antoniesrivier ontstaan hier.  Dit voorsien nagenoeg 60% van die volume water van die Verlorenvlei-`n Internasionale RAMSAR gebied.  Ook die grootste volume onbesoedelde skoon water.

Ons boer hier met uitvoervrugte, wyn, aartappels, rooibostee, resiesperde en vee in ‘n baie vrugbare vallei.  Besproeing is dus ons lewensaar. Ons het rondom 500 permanente en 1000 seisoenswerkers in diens.

Die "Bad Guys" is Bongani Minerals en hul Tjommies in die DME.  Bongani se baas is Trevor Pikwane van Kimberley-Die grootste swart gelisensieerde diamantkoper in SA.  Hy is baie bekend in Kimberley en geniet ‘n baie swak  reputasie ..  Hy is groot maatjies met die premierskandidaat van die Noordkaap.Volgens hulle beoog hul `n oopgroef myn tweekeer so groot soos Palaborwa  met stof implikasies wat die hele vallei onleefbaar maak.Hul sal ook die Krom Antonie`s rivier,Berg- en Olifantsrivier moet opdam vir die myn.Die implikasie is dat alle besproeiingsboerdery tot by die see gestaak moet word.

Die outjies wat hom aanvuur is `n man met die naam An Cornelissen, `n Geoloog wat al baie jare hier rondkrap.(Hier is vir 30 jaar al geprospekteer o.a. deur Anglo ens).  Sy maat Robert Cooke was by maar hy is nou dood.  Hul konsultant Philip Schreuder(`n ex DME hoof) is ook dood.  Die geoloog Wian Basson pas iewers in.Hul nuwe konsultant/fasiliteerder het `n skokkende reputasie in die bedryf.Sy naam is Aubrey Withers.

Hulle het in 2005 aansoek gedoen vir `n prospekteerreg op ons grond.  Hulle het alle prosedures ens verbreek en geignoreer.(‘n Konsultant wat sulke aansoeke hanteer vir `n lewe het ons geleer hoe om hulle te pootjie- hulle het tot sy verbystering als oorleef-vrot van die korrupsie).

Mary Slack(nee Oppenheimer) het ‘n resiesperdstoet in die vallei-eers met die toetrede van hul en ons prokureurs is die skokkende aansoek op `n klein tegniese puntjie afgekeur.

Om dadelik vervang te word met nog `n prospekteer aansoek-net so vrot, net so vol jakkalsdraaie en bedrog.  Ten spyte van massiewe teenkanting van Cape Nature, Dept Landbou en die hele gemeenskap wat hul werk sal verloor ens word die prospekteer reg toegestaan!

Ons daag toe die Minister tot ‘n Geregtelike Hersiening (‘Judicial Review’).  Die proses vat so lank dat na R1miljoen se regskoste het ons `n uitgemaakte saak ("Slam dunk" hofsaak) maar die eerste datum wat ons kan kry is 3 weke na Bongani se 2 jaar prospekteer reg verval het!  Die Staatsadvokaat en ons regspan spook vir `n vroeër datum-Bogani gee nie om nie want hulle het ander planne.........
Op 22Oktober 2008 betrap ons vir Aubrey Withers en sy span wat ons grond sonder toestemming betree-hul wou begin met die EIA vir Bongani se Mynaansoek…..

Intussen sak nog aasvoëls hier in (Nanda Investments)en doen aansoek vir al die omliggende gronde hier vir `n prospekteer reg-ons objekteer meestal want `n identiese aansoek is "subject to a Judicial Review".  Hul aansoek word na RMDEC verwys (`n kommittee waarop alle staatsdepatemente oor omgewings goed besluit.  Net voor die RMDEC vergadering waar ons ons saak gaan stel trek Nanda hul aansoek terug.  `n Maatjie van ons by Cape Nature vra toe vir die RMDEC chair (van DME) wat die Bongani Status is.  Sy verseker haar dat GEEN Bongani aansoeke oorweeg sal word nie tot NA die Judicial Review van 23 April 2009 nie.  Ten spyte van die versekering aanvaar die DME op 18 Maart Bongani se mynreg aansoek.......Duidelik word die Geregtelike Hersiening niksseggend.

Ons kom toevallig daarop af want die kennisgewing daarvan word net op die DME se kennisgewingbord in die Kaap Foreshore opgeplak en `n mens het net 30 dae om kapsie te maak....

Ons konsultant het aangedring dat die tyd om ‘n groot bohaai op te skop nou is.  Met maksimum media dekking (die rationale is dat teen die tyd dat ander regeringsdepartmente kans kry om kommentaar te lewer, het hul geen opsie meer as om dit teen te staan nie.)

Ons het alle aksie en hulp nou dadelik nodig!!