Community Alerts/ Silje Ander/Mpumalanga/20 November 2017

Yesterday we visited coal mines in Vosman near the KG mall close to eMahlahleni. The community monitors showed us a small dam where rocks and sand close to the dam had a white layer, looking like ice. We did not touch it, as it is a sign of high levels of Sulphur. We were about to move and then one of the community monitors accidentally stepped into some mud, and the mud covered her shoe and foot, which immediately started to burn. She washed off the mud and then the foot was ok. To me, not having experienced toxic water before, this was a clear evidence that the drainage water from the mine is full of chemicals, which are invisible, but has direct consequences for the people living close to the mine.
As this site is just above a river, the acid water from the mine runs directly into the river, which is also close to houses where people live and livestock is grazing. Previously people living here used the river actively, but now it is contaminated because of the mining operations and cannot be used anymore. In stead it is a direct risk for the community living next to it and for the animals grazing on the
land.