Yesterday in Central London, Gaia joined a silent protest which took place outside the General Meeting of Shareholders of Australian mining company, Coal of Africa Ltd (CoAL). The protest was held in solidarity with the communities of the Limpopo Province, South Africa, who face untold ecological, social and economic damage to their ancestral homes should the mine go ahead. Click here to watch a 2-minute video of the silent protest and find out more about the communities and ecosystems it will affect.
The CoAL project which will affect this region is known as the Makhado Project. It is in addition to one other mine owned by the company in Limpopo Province, known as Vele, and a further two in the neighbouring Maphumalanga province. Yesterday’s meeting preceded CoAL’s Conditional Placing of Shares on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange plc, which is set to take place today.
Liz Hosken, founding director of The Gaia Foundation took part in the protest: “We are here in support of the local communities and especially the Makadzhis- the guardians of the sacred sites and sacred lands of Venda in Limpopo Province. These are the spiritual leaders of the people whose responsibility it is to protect their ancestral homeland, which these coal-mining projects will destroy if they go ahead. The company haven’t even carried out proper studies, but the one thing that they have admitted is that the underground water will be finished within two years. So there isn’t even enough water for their own projects; let alone for life itself. If there is no water, there is no life. This is truly Ecocide.”
Earlier this week twelve civil society groups and community members from the Limpopo Province sent a letter to over fifty shareholders and potential investors of Coal of Africa (CoAL) demanding that they reconsider their plans to support the company – and specifically the Makhado Project.
The letter set out a number of grave concerns relating to CoAL’s handling of the Makhado project and their neighbouring Vele mine. These included a flawed public participation process; failure to provide adequate answers to questions raised by the community; no water licence; and an insufficient Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA), Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan.
The letter states: “We have a responsibility to our ancestors and to our children to stop the destruction of our ancestral lands. You would do the same if someone wanted to mine your home. Please think about that”.