The application to prospect for tin, silver and other minerals in the Stellenbosch and Cape Town regions has now been officially withdrawn by the African Exploration Mining and Finance Corporation (AEMFC).
Recent weeks had seen a great deal of confusion as government officials said the application would not go through and the AEMFC said it would back down, only to continue with the plans over the following days.
The Winelands Action Group, composed of wine producers whose estates such as Jordan, De Grendel and Saxenberg were at risk, has been pressuring the AEMFC and the government to withdraw or reject the application since the news broke last month.
The AEMFC could always reapply for the prospecting rights in a year’s time, as the courts never rejected them.
It is not completely finished, though, as it recently came to light that other farms and vineyards are also at risk and the Bottelary Conservancy, home to many endangered species, still has the threat of prospecting hanging over it.
Robyn Martin of Jordan Estates told the drinks business that the Winelands Action Group have vowed to continue the struggle and stand by those producers still affected by the plan, “we’ll try and help them as much as we can,” she said.
However, the producers believe that the company has lost a good deal of its credibility due to the irregularities in the application procedure and its misleading and confusing statements, deliberate or otherwise.
The groups’ Facebook page, STOP Mining our Winelands, which they intend to keep running while the AEMFC still threatens vineyards in the Western Cape, currently has 4,321 followers.
The whole episode has rather soured the 2010 harvest, which is now well underway but Martin said that it was progressing well and looked like it was turning out to be a good year at last.