Tunatazama - Community Monitors

Communities risk burning mine sink holes to gather coal

Susan Moraba/Mpumalanga/21st July 2016

Umzobanzi mine is an open cast mine in Emalahleni, Vosman which is operating on the old abandoned mine once owned by the the Transvaal Delagoa Bay. This mine is surrounded by purification ponds he with many sinkholes.

The mine dumps the rocks from the open cast in an area close by. Community members of Vosman and surrounding areas come and dig the rocks local for bits of coal to use  at home. Some sell it.

The first site that the mine operated is closed and cracks are seen on the ground. This poses a risk to the community members who come and dig coal because the women come with babies at their back. Young children walk around by themselves while their mothers work.

Women, men and youth come on a daily basis in numbers to collect the dirty coal. Most of this people are unemployed and they depend on the coal to make a living. They know and understand the dangers of the place but because they need to put food on the table, they have to risk their lives.

The mine is not fenced and is about +_ 100 m away from the community of Vosman. The area has many burning, cracking sinkhole. The mine has they dug a trench to discourage people from crossing over the sink holes. But poverty forces people to take their chances with danger.

SusanUmzobenzi-20160722 (3)The dust from blasting and the gravel road by trucks collecting coal is also posing a risk to the communities more especially Vosman.