Mtunzini is a small coastal town 25km South of Richards bay in Kwazulu Natal. The popular destination is a mecca for a large diversity of bird and plant life and is much sought out by holiday makers seeking a retreat to nature. However, despite a 50 year old tourism industry, the town’s main source of income has come under serious threat with a current proposal for Titanium mining on a large scale by Tronox, the world’s largest Titanium mining company.

The Mtunzini Conservancy is valiantly challenging Tronox by raising public awareness and funds to rally against the company’s attempts to dominate the area with massive, open cast mineral sand mines. The mines, which will begin only 100 meters from the nearest village house, promise to destroy the natural vegetation of the area, erasing local birding habitats and dramatically reducing the town’s attractiveness for holiday makers.

In an open letter to the public, Bruce Hopwood,  a concerned resident and member of the Mtunzini Conservancy, outlined his issues with the proposed mining, which could pose a disaster for the community’s environmental and economic sustainability.
“In my work with the uMlalazi Tourism Association I have spent much time on creating media awareness about our region by inviting members of the Press to visit and I’m always struck by their surprise at finding such a beautiful unspoilt location on the KwaZulu-Natal coast. It is unique and that should be celebrated and cared for. In the past year, we have enjoyed media coverage from an enormous range of national media – including Country Life, Wild magazine, Wildside magazine, SundayTimes Travel Weekly, Sunday Tribune, the Mercury, The Witness, Go!/Weg!, Getaway, Pasella (on TV) and even Mens’ Health which included Mtunzini in its ‘seven most underrated spots in South Africa’ article in the November 2012 issue. All articles have had the highest praise for the region.

The most recent Press report by respected journalist Myrtle Ryan opened with: ‘Mtunzini is still one of the prettiest towns in KwaZulu-Natal. Huge trees shade the winding roads, vegetation flourishes and the locals are helpful’ (Saturday Star 22 December 2012)
Not many towns get compliments like that. Can you imagine what they will write if Tronox starts to mine the 12-km strip along the N2 entrance to Mtunzini with bare red earth on the seaside and enormous slimes dams on the inland side. They will write:‘Mtunzini used to be one of the most beautiful towns until Tronox moved in and wrecked one of the last unspoilt environments along the KwaZulu-Natal coast’. Or, ‘Mtunzini used to be the gem of the Zululand coast until Tronox mined it’.

The Mtunzini Conservancy is doing an exceptional job in taking on Tronox’s bid to mine 100m from people’s homes and it has set an outstanding example to small communities around the country that they do not have to be bullied by faceless international corporations driven by profit and greed. It’s difficult to appreciate the magnitude of this battle but the Conservancy has prepared its case thoroughly and convincingly by pooling whatever resources are at hand and seeking the best legal advice when need be. All this has come at great sacrifice to a small group of people who have given of their time and expertise in this mammoth task but more importantly, it would not have been possible without the incredible generosity of ordinary people with whom this battle has struck a deep personal chord. Your donations – large or small – will make a difference and I urge you to contribute to the SOS Campaign run by the Mtunzini Conservancy to preserve our environmental heritage.”

To assist the Mtunzini Conservancy’s mission against mineral sand mining on their doorstep, you can like their facebook page here, spread the message, and offer tax deductable financial support by donating to the following:

The Mtunzini Conservancy at any branch of First National Bank or via the internet to:
First National Bank
Sort Code: 220130
Account number: 62093027475
Please use your business name or surname and initials as a reference and fax to + 27 86 512 6476 or email the following information:
1. Proof of payment
2. your full name
3. postal address
4. E Mail address and your telephone number

For donations from outside South Africa, the details for the bank and bank account are as follows:
First National Bank
Empangeni Branch
PO Box 13, Empangeni 3880
KwaZulu Natal
South Africa
Sort Code: 220130
Account number: 620 930 274 75

If you have any problems, you can contact the Operations Manager at First National Bank, Empangeni:
Mrs Reeva Cornelius
Telephone: +27 35 772 6763
Fax number: +27 35 7922591
The Mtunzini Conservancy (Reg. No. 2007/006455/08) is a Section 21 company (Non Profit Organisation).
The Mtunzini Conservancy has Section 18A tax status and can issue tax certificates for donations made.

Information obtained from Life in Balance Magazine:

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