Over the last few years interest in the Limpopo Valley coalfields by mining companies has increased substantially and the magnitude of the impact of the proposed developments and their associated infrastructure make them a significant issue for the new Biosphere Reserve at the reserve, national and international levels. The proximity of some of the developments to conservation areas and the profound effect they could have on the “sense of place” can have severe implications for the expansion of conservation areas and the success of existing and future eco-tourism operations. While the proposed developments may well have a more localized influence individually, the potential cumulative effect dictates that the sphere of influence will be much wider. The VBR maintains that it is necessary to broaden out the environmental impact assessment (EIA) processes to include most of the area incorporated in the VBR.
To this end the VBR has initiated regular engagement with Coal of Africa Ltd and other mining companies, has registered and continues to register as an Interested and Affected Party on these and similar developments and has established a network with relevant organisations, including SANParks, the Peace Parks Foundation, Conservancy committees and relevant NGOs regarding the issue of coal exploitation in the Limpopo Valley.