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Help protect the Pondoland Centre of Endemism from commercial exploitation

Please help create awareness and prevent the Pondoland Centre of Endemism from being commercially exploited and destroyed:

The Wild Coast of South Africa is being threatened by several potentially devastating encroachments into the most fragile and pristine portions of its near interior and inland water estuaries: the Pondoland Centre of Endemism (PCE) - which is an internationally acclaimed biodiversity hotspot.

Approximately 2000 plant species (196 of which are endemic) have been identified in an area covering just 1880km2. To put that into perspective, the Kruger National Park is approximately 20,000km2 (the size of Wales) and has 1400 species.

An Australian company, MRC (Mineral Resource Commodities) has applied for a mining concession at Xolobeni, right in the heart of the PCE, where they have allegedly discovered the world's 10th largest "heavy minerals" deposit in the red dune sands between Mkambati Nature Reserve in the South, up to the Mzamba River in the North.

Estimates of the payload vary from between R60 to R120 billion(!) which will be recovered over approximately 20 years.

Richard Spoor sums it up succinctly: "Mining the Pondoland Wild Coast is the moral, cultural and aesthetic equivalent of quarrying Ayers Rock for granite, or the Great Barrier Reef for calcium carbonate."

The second threat is a proposed N2 Toll Road which aims to cut a gray swathe of concrete, tarmac, rubber and petroleum fumes through the exact same fragile ecosystem... apparently in the name of eco tourism.

A third, and immediate threat (on which, perhaps, the others hinge) are the instructions by govt to Eskom to upgrade the electricity supply in the region to approximately 5 times its current capacity (no pun intended). This despite the region being very sparsely populated (by humans) and the route of the new power lines coming (coincidentally or not) directly to the proposed Xolobeni mineral sands project.

More ominous still are motions by the dept of Minerals and Energy to remove the mining industry from the legal authority of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMSA).

South Africa is a signatory to the International Convention on Biodiversity; and yet the government is flagrantly threatening one of the most important biospheres within our land.

Government must reject the mining and N2 toll concession applications out of hand - and the region must be declared a National Park as was promised in 2002.

1. We say NO to open cast dune mining at Xolobeni

2. We say NO to the proposed N2 toll road through the PCE

3. We call on the government to fulfill its promise to protect our children's eco-logical heritage