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27 Jan 2017

Paul Burkhardt, Bloomberg (South Africa)

NGOs say abandoned Blyvooruitzicht Mine a 'Catastrophe'; urge government to protect communities' rights

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"Abandoned S. Africa Mine a ‘Catastrophe,’ Rights Group Say", 27 Jan 2017

The closing of the Blyvooruitzicht gold mine in South Africa resulted in a humanitarian “catastrophe” and the government must protect the rights of residents who were neglected, according to advocacy groups.The mine, about 80 kilometers (56 miles) west of Johannesburg, started production in 1942 and was operated by companies including DRDGold Ltd. and Village Main Reef Ltd. before going into liquidation in 2013. Lawyers for Human Rights, based in Johannesburg, and the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights, gathered data from about 300 households in the area and found that 60 percent of them said they didn’t have enough to eat or the ability to support their children...Since the closure of the mine, the community of about 6,000 people has struggled to keep water and power connected to the area, Michael Clements, a representative for Lawyers for Human Rights, said on Friday. "This is much more than a collapse of the business," she said...Illegal miners have continued to work in the area, attacking the community, and buildings have been stripped by scrap dealers, said Pule Molefe, a representative of the Blyvooruitzicht Residents Committee.