- WSL / Alan van Gysen

The Experience Northern Cape Namakwa Challenge presented by Billabong Adventure Division World Surf League (WSL) Specialty Event has partnered with environmental non-profit Protect The West Coast (PTWC) to raise awareness around mining operations in the area.

Supported by the Amandla Surf Foundation and Billabong Adventure Division, this collaboration will ensure the event leaves no footprint in the ecologically sensitive area. Northern Cape Tourism is encouraging eco- and adventure tourism all-year-round and the Namakwa Challenge is the perfect opportunity to showcase what the region has to offer.

"We are happy to collaborate with Northern Cape Tourism and the Namakwa Challenge as they are bringing surfing and surf events to the West Coast," said PTWC Managing Director and big wave surfer, Mike Schlebach.

"I think we have to see the upside and strike a balance. This kind of event will help local communities from an economic and social upliftment perspective. We love the idea of adventure tourism and sport being used to realise the true potential of these areas rather than mining - and this fits right into the Protect The West Coast's mission statement."

From the Orange River to Cape Columbine, hundreds of kilometres of South Africa's West Coast coastline are being mined, or have been earmarked for mining. These industrial-scale extractions have lasting consequences for local communities, fisheries and the natural environment, for generations to come. South Africa's West Coast is part of the Cape Floristic Region and inside the Fynbos biome, the West Coast is home to thousands of species of unique plants, most of which are found nowhere else in the world.

UNESCO deemed the Cape Floristic Region Protected Areas World Heritage Sites including the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve and the Namaqua National Park. The whole area is a biodiversity hotspot with the largest concentration of succulent plants in the world. Despite the creation of short term jobs, mining adversely affects ecosystems and has a detrimental knock-on effect to the broader West Coast environment, economy and society.

Protect the West Coast seek to inform on the dangers, raise funds to protect the coastline and looking beyond the battle, seek to help build a future economy for the area, through sustainable tourism.

Sign the petition today and join the fight for the West Coast.

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