South Africa’s largest producer of high quality metallurgical anthracite coal, Petmin Corp. has proposed to expand its opencast coal mine in the Somkhele area of South Africa. The mining company has been granted rights for a vast new swath of land.
Activists in Somkhele have gone to court to close the mine or at least halt any expansion which many officials believe would have the same response.
Mining began in the area a little over a decade ago. One resident listed her grievances with the mine: dust, noise, ground-shaking blasting, heavy truck traffic, inadequate compensation for households relocated and a lack of communication since mining began in the region.
One resident, Thulziwe Jane Dladla, said: “Life here is too bad”.
The mine is also within a 15-minute drive of Hluhluwe–Imfolozi, the oldest nature reserve in Africa, which is home to hundreds of rhinos, antelopes and big cats.
Officials say the complaints are unreasonable and point out the benefits that mining has brought to the region, including over a thousand jobs, a maternity ward for the local clinic, roads, water pipes and a school and crèche.
These plans have been met by significant protests from local communities.
With the court case approaching in a matter of weeks, Jan du Preez, CEO of Petmin, said its operations were fully compliant with all legal requirements, and accused critics of being activists who hate mining.“It would be wonderful if the world could obtain its raw materials with zero harm, but that is in utopia,” Du Preez told the Guardian.
Preez added: “While the world needs environmental activists to protect against unscrupulous people, these activists also need to … actually consider the facts. Unfortunately some are idealists who would rather have a devastated economy and no jobs than a responsibly run mine. ”
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/exploration-and-development/19102018/south-african-mine-expansion-plans-divides-local-communities/