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Mrz 12

South Africa to Spare 300-year-Old Vineyards From Tin Mining

Tag: Länder,Regionensigi.hiss @ 09:24

By Carli Lourens – March 11 (Bloomberg) www.businessweek.com — South Africa’s government said it will stop its own company from exploring for and mining tin and other metals in an area that includes 300-year-old vineyards and some of the country’s best-known wine estates.

The government’s Department of Mineral Resources will block the application to explore and later mine on the land made by state-owned African Exploration Mining and Finance Corp.

“It would be counterproductive if we allow mining to take place,” Sandile Nogxina, the director general of the department, said in an interview from his mobile phone today. The mining company applied after only looking at a geological map that “doesn’t deal with what is happening on the ground.”

The area that would have been affected includes at least eight wine estates, including Jordan, Saxenburg, DeGrendel and Zevenwacht, said Robyn Martin, a marketing official at Jordan. The area lies north of Cape Town near Stellenbosch, an area of rolling hills and vineyards that in the heart of South Africa’s wine industry, the world’s eighth-biggest producer.

“We want to get it in writing before we celebrate,” she said. African Exploration’s Chief Executive Officer Sizwe Madondo didn’t answer three calls to his office phone in Johannesburg today. Mpfariseni Mudau, a company official who wouldn’t give his job title, declined to comment.

“They probably didn’t expect the amount of reaction they received,” Martin said by phone from Cape Town. “The feedback they got on this must have been huge.” The deadline for comment on the plan was March 9, she said.

The winemakers have held meetings and organized protest actions including a Facebook campaign with almost 3,000 members. The state mining company was formed in 2007, according to the Web site of CEF Ltd., a group of state-owned energy companies. It had submitted an application to explore for tin, zinc, lead, lithium, copper, manganese and silver.

Johannesburg’s Business Day newspaper reported the government’s decision earlier. –Editors: Antony Sguazzin, Karl Maier To contact the reporters on this story: Carli Lourens in Johannesburg at clourens@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net

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