Tunatazama - Community Monitors

Open cast mine blasting endangering lives of residents

Community Alerts/ Alex Salang/ Rustenburg-Mmaditlhokwa/ 07 October 2016


Mmaditlhokwa village located in Marikana which was relocated by Tharisa Minerals, an open cast mine which operates less than a km from a residential/settlement area they relocated the community to. Tharisa extracts chrome and platinum out of their two deep large western and eastern pits.

Our community is highly affected by their blasting operations as it results in high noise, dust, fume levels, polluted water, heavy blasting vibrations and bad traffic caused by their trucks during their blasting time which is scheduled at 5pm during week days.

The blasting programme is too much to bear, I don’t think they actually meet the South African standards, they had agreed in a meeting in 2014 where the community and representatives from DMR was present that they will minimize the vibrations and only minimized when they conducted test once which was to prove that they have minimized. These huge vibrations have cracked houses and they also realize toxic fumes and dust which lasts 30min after blasting weekly.

The unbearable impacts are from the Western pit which is located less than 100meters from the settlement.  When blasting takes place the residents have to evacuate their houses(mostly shacks, poorly  built with cheap material by the Tharisa Minerals) as they fear that the roofs may collapse on them. Small rocks fly towards the settlement and results in bumping the cheap zink used to bulid the shacks and at times furniture fall which is one other reason why residents evacuate their houses.

This is endearing residents’ lives, and people are reluctant to build proper houses as they will crack and the vibrations have ruined furniture.

Last month there was a huge blasting that had  resulted in loudest noises, heavy fumes and small rocks flying into the settlement, residents who are experiencing cracks in  their houses in  the area then approached me and asked me to challenge Tharisa  which i did, i meet up with the company management and lodged a community complain also showed them pictures, funny enough they showed their disrespect and inhumanity by  referring me  to their complainant  box at their security office, I approached their environmental manager who was also not helpful as he also referred me to the box.

One of the residents by the name of Mr Molemane always complains to me about his house. His house is full of cracks , “its so bad it’s like living  death trap” as he always says. One can see inside the house while outside, Tharisa has attempted to fix it before with no success.

When raising these issues the company management would say there is no prove, even if we showcase pictures. They recon that one can’t prove that their operations is responsible to the cracks . Our community is still is engagements regarding issues which are a results of their operation.