A wetland in the St Lucia estuary on the cast coast in KwaZUILI-Natal province was saved from devastation when the country's cabinet banned the development of a mineral sands project by Richards Bay Minerals (RBM). The ban brought to an end a six-year struggle by environmental groups to prevent exploitation of the area which is claimed to be one of the world's richest breeding grounds for birds, and home to the largest number of hippopotamuses in southern Africa. The cabinet found that mining the eastern shore would affect sustainable economic development of the region and that the project was incompatible with tourist development at St Lucia. The region will be registered as a World Heritage Site and promoted as a tourist attraction. The decision was accepted by RTZ-CRA, joint owner Of RBM with Gencor of South Africa. The joint venture company produces titanium dioxide, used as a whitener in paint and other surface coatings.

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