Outcry as Manzolwandle plans to start coal mine near Kruger

Outcry as Manzolwandle plans to start coal mine near Kruger
THREATENED: An eMalahleni based mining company's application to mine coal next to Kruger National Park has been met with outcry by the community. PICTURE Supplied

The company wants to mine anthracite, a rare type of high quality coal in demand for its energy intensity and comparatively clean burn.

A plan by a mining company called ‘Manzolwandle Investments’ to start a process of digging coal just a small distance from the Kruger National Park is not making people comfortable in the conserved and tourist destination area of Mpumalanga.

The company intends to mine anthracite on the doorstep of Kruger’s southern border, located that side of Komatipoort.

The records show a company bearing this name is situated in Duvha Park’s number 8 Victor Pohl Street in eMalahleni and was registered in March 2002. It is owned by Phiki Zulu and Zef Mkhatshwa.

The company has already submitted a scoping report, the Daily Maverick reports, and the report to government serves as an initial assessment of a mining project’s viability. 

Both local residents and conservationists are now concerned of the environmental impact the mining operations will have in the nature reserve and tourist area.

Farmers look at the area as having scarce water and say bringing a mining company will create a mess in the area. 

The department of mineral resources confirmed they have received an application to mine from Manzolwandle Investments and this application was accepted on 12 September 2018. It said that a scoping report received on 31 August 2018 “doesn’t indicate that the area is within a protected area”. 

“However, it mentions that it is on the immediate eastern side of the Komatipoort airport,” the department told the Daily Maverick 

“The applicant will be advised to consult the Mpumalanga Tourism Agency (MPTA) to indicate the buffer between the application and protected area,” the department said. 

Manzolwandle Investments hasn’t yet been given the mining right – its application has simply been accepted and will be answered to at a later date. 

A scoping report contains assessment of a proposed mining project, including estimation of money needed to start operations. 

One of the concerned people in the area said there was major concern around flora and fauna.

“Will tourists be sharing the road with mining trucks? How visible will the operation be?”

Mining near Kruger is unusual but is not a new thing. For example, the Palabora Mining Company operates a copper mine and a smelter and refinery complex in the town of Phalaborwa, west of Kruger. 

The department said a company called Manzolwandle Investments gave them four applications, all for coal – two of which were for prospecting, one a mining right, and the last one for a mining permit.

Attempts by 013NEWS to draw comment Zulu and Mkhatshwa drew blank. 

(edited by ZK) 

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