In the local fishing community of Doringbaai, an application has been made by Trans-Atlantic Diamonds for proposed prospecting along the West Coast from just south of Groothoekbaai to north of Doringbaai.
The applicant is applying for a permit to prospect for diamonds, gemstones, heavy- and industrial minerals, as well as ferrous, base and precious metals.
On 11 November, Anchor Environmental Consultants hosted a public participation meeting at the Mariam Owies Hall in Doringbaai to inform the community about the proposed prospecting, as well as giving Interested and Affected Parties the opportunity to make comments on the proposed prospecting activities.
More than 100 members of the community and various other organisations were present.
Anchor made a good presentation but it did not clearly demonstrate that the negative impacts on marine life and the lives and livelihoods of the community would outweigh the positive ones.
Seismic mining will be used on the shore while drilling with a specialised tool. The consultant added that no employment will be available for community members during the prospecting period which will take between two to five years to complete.
During the meeting a small-scale fisher from Doringbaai opposed the planned prospecting north of Doringbaai.
For the local fishers of the surrounding areas, this area is important for their fishing activities. During the snoek run (March to July) the fishers do not have to travel far, as the snoek will be laying in the area north of Doringbaai. This also means that the fish is sold at cheaper prices to community members thus contributing hugely to the food security and nutrition of the area.
During difficult times, when there are no fish, women and children collect mussels to be able to provide the family with a nutrient filled meal. This would not be possible should this be declared a mining area.
Finally, members of the public voiced their concerns about the latest approval by the minister of DFFE of prospecting rights in the Olifants Estuary. The meeting ended in a walk out and a call for the ministers of DFFE and DMRE to come and address the community.