Johannesburg, South Africa — 24 April 2012 – Coal of Africa (CoAL) “’ an emerging developer and producer of high-quality thermal and coking coal “’ has published a statement in which it intends setting the record straight regarding the possible negative effects of its plans to build a 22.5km railway line from its Makhado project.
CoAL is proposing construction of a 22.5-kilometre railway ‘spur’, linking its Makhado coking coal mining project in Limpopo to the existing Transnet Freight Rail line between Musina and Makhado town, at the existing Huntleigh siding.
The anticipated cost of the spur is R330 million, and CoAL believes this to be a significant and very specific contribution towards infrastructural development in Limpopo to further the province’s minerals potential.
CoAL environmental consultant Marietjie Eksteen said at a meeting for interested parties at the company’s head office last week that the tracks would cross nine farms, among them four game farms. She revealed that 400 indigenous trees, several of them protected, would have to be removed, and that the company would apply for permits to do so. Eksteen added that the company planned to erect a game fence on both sides of the track.
It was reported on Friday that owners of game farms in the area were upset by the plans, saying a fence would have a negative effect on the migration patterns of game. They also expressed concern that CoAL’s plans would impact negatively on their quality of life and the value of their land.
Farmers in the area intended opposing CoAL’s development plans, and they anticipated that the issue would end up being settled in court, it was reported.
A statement released by CoAL said the article contained a number of factual inaccuracies which were misleading and detrimental to Coal of Africa Limited (CoAL).
“Indeed, permission will be sought for the removal of some 400 trees on the protected list, to accommodate the railway spur,” the statement said. “However, the report neglected to mention that the intention was to re-locate as many of these trees as possible. Size would be a factor in how many could be re-located, and this had yet to be determined.”
It also pointed out that some 80ha of land would be required for the railway spur – not 2 000ha, as reported.
CoAL stated that it was peculiar that the report said claims from game farm owners alleged the proposed railway spur would impact negatively on animal migration patterns. “None of the interested and affected game farm owners with whom CoAL has engaged in terms of its public participation process has raised this as a concern,” it added.
“In fact, interested and affected game farm owners specifically requested of CoAL that game fences – as opposed to conventional five-strand wire fences – be installed on either side of the railway line as a precaution against poaching, and CoAL has factored in this request, together with installation on some properties of underpasses to allow for animal movement,” it said.
“Contrary to the report, threats of legal action from disgruntled individuals or groupings have not deterred CoAL from responsibly pursuing the necessary processes to attain the regulatory permits. CoAL remains committed to continuing engagement with all genuine interested and affected parties, and to arriving at solutions to differences and concerns through consultation and accommodation,” it concluded.
Source: Coal of Africa Limited. For more information, click here.