Jindal plan for $2bn iron ore mine in SA rejected

JINDAL Steel & Power Ltd. has had an environmental application to develop an iron-ore mine in South Africa at a cost of as much as $2bn rejected, said Bloomberg News.

Citing All Rise, an environmental legal organisation, the newswire said the application was rejected owing to “extensive gaps in the environmental impact assessment in the context of constitutional rights”.

The proposed mine, intended for eastern KwaZulu-Natal province, would be South Africa’s second-biggest iron ore mine producing seven million tons of iron ore concentrate, Bloomberg News said citing South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.

Parshant Kumar Goyal, GM for mines and business development at Jindal Africa, told the newswire his company would appeal the decision.

The planned development has been opposed by local communities, who say thousands of homes and graves would need to be relocated. Jindal has said all resettlement and grave relocation decisions would be made in consultation with the communities.

Jindal is controlled by Asia’s richest woman, Savitri Jindal, and her family.

While Jindal said only a minority of community members opposed the mine, Bloomberg News cited a petition signed by 6,700 people as saying: “Our community of Makhasaneni has been fighting Indian giant mining company, Jindal Mine, who for years have been intruding with their plans to dig up iron ore in the lush hills that we have called home for generations”.

The Entembeni Crisis Forum, the group that organised the petition, told Bloomberg News that an assessment of the area that Jindal wants to mine shows it could lead to more than 3,000 households and 3,000 graves being moved.

According to the firm, about 350 homes would be impacted, subject to a final determination, for the first stage of mining. That could take about 15 years, while the number of graves that would need to be relocated is yet to be assessed, said the newswire.