So. Africa: Locals say mining in coal-rich Limpopo could threaten their livelihoods & pollute environment

Author: Llewellyn Leonard (University of South Africa)in The Conversation (So. Africa), Published on: 13 September 2018

"Why there’s resistance to coal mining at a world heritage site in South Africa"

There are fears that new mining operations in the north east of South Africa could threaten communities, tourism and the environment. Plans to resume coal mining operations at the Mapungubwe Unesco World Heritage Site in Limpopo have been halted and it’s uncertain when mining operations will resume. What’s known is that the government is currently considering approving new mining applications in the province, with some possibly approved already...A study conducted a year ago explored the effect of mining on tourism growth and local development at the Mapungubwe heritage site. It found that mining operations were likely to have a negative impact on the environment, tourism development and local communities...

People interviewed were clearly influenced by the way mining was done previously. For example, residents noted that mining consultative meetings weren’t done effectively before previous mining approvals in the area. The majority of people consulted were not from the area. In addition, mining operations resulted in damage to the environment and to people’s homes. The Tshikondeni Mine, an opencast mine, resulted in land destruction. The mine polluted water, lead to houses cracking as well as dust and noise pollution. Residents also pointed to the effect mining pollution had in other provinces. In Mpumalanga, for example, mining pollution caused environmental degradation and threatened the tourism and agricultural industries as well as water supplies.Limpopo residents fear the same will happen in their area which is why they’re against new mining operations.

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