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SOUTH AFRICA: Winelands in the dark over mining threat

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Confusion reigns in South Africa's winelands, over claims that the country's African Exploration and Mining Finance Corp (AEMFC) has withdrawn its application to prospect in the Western Cape.

Earlier this month, AEMFC applied for rights to prospect for tin, zinc, lead, lithium, copper, manganese and silver in the wine-producing regions.

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This was followed, however, by a statement dated 11 March, in which company chairman Mputumi Damane said the firm has withdrawn its application “for strategic business reasons”.

However, wineries in the threatened area, who have grouped themselves as the Winelands Action Group, discovered from AEMFC’s consultants, GCS, yesterday (15 March) that the corporation is still going ahead with its application.

A spokesperson for the Winelands Action Group has told just-drinks today (16 March): “An untenable situation has developed where either the employees and consultants of AEMFC have deliberately gone against the chairman’s public statements, or else there was a deliberate attempt by AEMFC to distract both the media and the public at large by informing them of the application withdrawal, but then still continuing with the process hoping there would be no comments received by the objectors to the plans.”

The association has called on the chairman of AEMFC to issue a statement confirming the prospecting right application numbers that have been withdrawn.


Sectors: Wine

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