The South African government is appealing for calm after the killing of an anti-mining activist in a coastal area where people are divided over a plan by an Australian company to mine titanium.

Police are investigating the death of Sikhosiphi Rhadebe, who was fatally shot March 22 at his home in the Xolobeni area of Eastern Cape province.

Martin Madlala of South Africa's mineral resources department said Monday that the department has sent a team to try to reduce tensions in the area.

Australian firm Mineral Commodities and its South African business partners want to mine titanium deposits in the area, where tensions have risen between mining advocates and opponents.

The Associated Press on Monday called the Perth office of Mineral Commodities, but no one was immediately available to comment.