South Africa: Game-Changing Xolobeni Judgment Orders Applications for Mining Licences to Be Made Public

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In a ground-breaking judgment, the North-Gauteng High Court has ruled that affected communities have a right to see applications for mining licences -- cutting out miles of red tape that environmentalists, activists and civil society organisations had to wade through in the past to gain access to these details, often with limited success.

A jubilant attorney acting for an Eastern Cape community that fought and defeated a mining giant, on Monday 14 September described a ruling by the North Gauteng High Court that those affected by mining operations had a right to see applications for licences as game-changing and great progress in levelling the playing field.

The attorney for the Umgungundlovu community, Johan Lorenzen, said the judgment went a long way towards balancing the power between mining companies and affected communities.

"After years of the Department of Mineral Resources failing to provide access to mining right applications or forcing communities to use a dysfunctional Promotion of Access to Information Act process, our clients are ecstatic at today's victory that all communities are entitled to applications for mining rights over their land.

"As the court held: 'Meaningful consultation entails discussion of ideas on an equal footing, considering the advantages...

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