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Twee River in the Cederberg declared a nature reserve amid environmental concerns

Western Cape recently gazetted the declaration of the Twee River Nature Reserve as a protected area amid numerous environmental concerns raised about Orren Capital’s intention to mine iron and manganese ore near the area. Picture: JEREMY SHELTON/Freshwater Research Centre

Western Cape recently gazetted the declaration of the Twee River Nature Reserve as a protected area amid numerous environmental concerns raised about Orren Capital’s intention to mine iron and manganese ore near the area. Picture: JEREMY SHELTON/Freshwater Research Centre

Published May 6, 2022

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Cape Town - The Western Cape government recently gazetted the declaration of the Twee River Nature Reserve as a protected area amid numerous environmental concerns raised about Orren Capital’s intention to mine iron and manganese ore near the Twee River in the Cederberg area.

Freshwater Research Centre ecologist Bruce Paxton, who has worked on the hydrology and ecology of the rivers in the affected areas of Cederberg, said: “The application to have parts of the Twee River catchment declared as a nature reserve was initiated by landowners in the catchment some time ago and was recently gazetted.”

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Paxton said it would afford the valley the protection it deserved against any activities that may compromise the integrity of ecosystems or agriculture in the valley.

These activities included Orren Capital’s potential prospecting right application to mine for manganese ore and iron ore near the area of Twee River in the Cederberg.

CapeNature landscape conservation intelligence manager Marius Wheeler said: “The farm earmarked for prospecting includes very sensitive river habitat that is home to a fish species, the Twee River Redfin, which is critically endangered.

“The area also forms part of the Koue Bokkeveld mountain catchment area and is listed as a national strategic water source area.”

Wheeler said there had been several conservation expansion initiatives in the area that bore testament to its conservation importance and its value in providing ecological infrastructure to the Western Cape Province.

He said CapeNature supported the Western Cape government and various stakeholders in protecting the area.

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Botanical ecologist Caitlin von Witte said: “The Critically Endangered Twee River redfin is endemic to the catchment, as is the Twee River galaxias.

“The future of both of these fynbos and fish species is already uncertain, given the existing threats of invasive alien fish and habitat loss to agriculture, particularly through ploughing, water abstraction and fertiliser runoff.”

Von Witte said the importance of protecting this area from the long-term effects of mining was as crystal clear as the water it provided.

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CapeNature general manager Petro Van Rhyn, on behalf of the Department of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, said the proclamation of Twee River Nature Reserve would be taken into consideration in Orren Capital’s plans to mine iron and manganese ore.

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Cape Argus

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