Please sign the petition and say NO to the Fuleni Anthracite project!

We are shocked and saddened to be sharing the news that the historic iMfolozi Wilderness Area in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi-Park(HiP) of South Africa is now under threat. iMfolozi is the first protected area in Africa, and yet Ibutho Coal (Pty) Ltd has put in an application to create an open coal mine, known as the Fuleni Anthracite Project, just 40 metres from the southern boundary fence. From this short distance the total footprint of the mine’s impacts would reach into the heart of iMfolozi, desecrating the wilderness area for future generations; scarring the landscape and wildlife irreversibly. Ibutho Coal could be given the green light to proceed with the next phase of its plans this month. We ask you all to now help our South African allies in gaining international support against the mine… Join in solidarity against by signing and sharing the petition now! 

The Gaia Foundation join a chorus of international allies objecting to the mining application. You can read our letter of objection here. 

More about the iMfolozi Wilderness Area and this Threat

The iMfolozi Wilderness Area lies at the heart of the early Zulu Kingdom and is the core of conservation in KZN, situated in the historic Hluhluwe-iMfolozi-Park (HIP), the oldest protected area in Africa, proclaimed in 1895. Currently, it supports the densest concentration of rhino in the world, but its rhino population is under constant threat of being slaughtered for rhino horn for the insatiable medicine trade in China and Vietnam. The mine will irreparably compromise the integrity of the wilderness area and make it easier for poachers to enter the park.

Since the proclamation of the iMfolozi Wilderness Area in 1958, many thousands of local and international visitors have shared the excitement of experiencing a wilderness trail and sleeping on the African soil, surrounded by the sounds of the African bush and walking along natural game trails, without any evidence of other humans. This will soon be replaced with the noise, lights and pollution of the Fuleni Mine – if we let iButho Coal get the green light to mine. It will also sabotage a nationally approved plan and a global strategy supporting links between wild places and sustainable livelihoods of neighbouring communities.

The current block plan is just 40 meters away from the Wilderness Area’s boundary fence. The stockpiles will be 70 meters high – almost as high as the Statue of Liberty at 93 meters. It is an open cast mine so there will be blasting and dust. Noise intrusion and vibrations will traumatise and confuse wildlife, and shatter any experience of wilderness. At night, the light pollution will dilute the impressive night sky destroying the sense of wilderness forever.

Impacts on water resources could extend to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa’s first World Heritage, a place of superlative natural beauty and unique global values.

This irreplaceable gem is the place that forged the unique friendship between Dr Ian Player and Magqubu Ntombela.

Ian Player, the famous conservationist who started the Dusi canoe marathon in 1951 and established the first wilderness areas in South Africa, is best known for saving the white rhino from extinction in the 1960s.

Magqubu Ntombela’s grandfather was one of King Shaka’s chiefs and Magqubu’s father was amongst the brave Zulu warriors who defeated the British army at the famous battle of Isandlwana, during the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879. This remarkable man knew the iMfolozi intimately and was Ian Player’s greatest mentor. He is recognised and respected in KZN as an important role model for the youth, and his nearby homestead is much-visited by wilderness trailists.

Ian Player, Magqubu Ntombela and the unique iMfolozi wilderness area have all played an invaluable part in Gaia’s history, and many of our Associates and partners have been inspired through wilderness trails in South Africa.

For more information about the fight to Save iMfolozi visit the website.