Locals up in arms over big new [Canadian platinum] mine – by Schalk Mouton (Sunday Times – September 25, 2013)

http://www.timeslive.co.za/ [South Africa]

Community members in several villages accuse Canadian mining group Ivanhoe Mines of attempting to shove them aside to make way for its Platreef mine.

Ivanplats, an Ivanhoe subsidiary, is prospecting around the villages of Kgobudi, Magongoa, Mzombana and Tshamahansi, where it has discovered a massive reef with inclusions of platinum, palladium, gold, rhodium, nickel and copper.

The company, which plans to establish a highly mechanised underground mine, has applied for a mining licence. The mine is the second that mining companies intend to open to exploit the 30km-long reef. The first is Anglo Platinum’s Mogalakwena.

But the community is angry. “They will fight,” said Sylvester Masenya, a Mzombana resident. “They are angry but they can’t do anything.” Eliphas Molwatsi, chairman of the Mokopane Interested and Affected Community organisation, claimed community members had been assaulted, bribed and intimidated into signing documents stating that they agreed to the establishment of the mine.

Pensioners, he said, had been told they would lose their grants if they did not sign.

The mine is expected to start operating in 2018 but residents do no t know whether they will be compensated if they are relocated .

“The people are not against the mine,” Molwatsi said. “They just want to know what is going to happen. They understand that there’s development but they must be assured of their livelihoods.”

Anjuli Maistry, of Lawyers for Human Rights, said the organisation had been unable to get a copy of Platreef’s social and labour plan.

“It creates a lot of worry and anxiety,” said Maistry.

Jeremy Michaels, a spokesman for the mining company, denied the allegations.

“Platreef intends to comply fully, both in letter and in spirit, with all relevant legislation,” he said.

For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2013/09/25/locals-up-in-arms-over-big-new-mine

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