Pretoria - The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) cannot issue a mining right without the consent of the affected communities in terms of the existing legislation, the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) argued in the North Gauteng High court on Monday.
The case is around the DMR’s attempts to mine the land in Xolobeni in the Eastern Cape.
The ACC brought an application to prevent the DMR from issuing an mining license to Australian mining conglomerate Transworld Energy and Minerals (TEM) to mine titanium along the Wild Coast.
The ACC is made up of residents from the Xolobeni community who have been fighting against the proposed open cast mining on their land since the early 2000s.
The community is seeking an order preventing government from granting mining rights over property belonging to the community or, alternatively, that the right not be granted until the land owners have consented.
The community is also seeking an alternative order that, if the mining rights are granted, TEM compensate the community for any losses or damages which they are likely to suffer as a result of mining.
Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, for ACC, argued that if the court granted the DMR the licence, it would have severe negative effects on their land and community.
"They reasonably fear that mining will result in the physical displacement of community members from their land or from their homes. Community members will also lose access to communal resources that they rely on to survive," he argued.
The community also argued that in customary law, it owns the remaining portions of the land not used and occupied by community members.
Advocate Vincent Maleka for the State, said if the community members refuse to consent, he's allowed under the mineral and petroleum resources act to grant anyone who meets the requirements to mine.
Maleka emphasised that the act also states that minerals belong to the nation and government is the custodian thereof.
The matter continues on Tuesday.
African News Agency/ANA