Today's Labour News

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coalFin24 reports that as the Somkhele coal mine in rural KwaZulu-Natal restarts operations after a two-year break, tensions over the project have been reignited.

The anthracite coal mine, owned by Petmin's Tendele Coal Mining subsidiary, is located in in the Mtubatuba area, which has extremely high unemployment rates in excess of 90%. The mine has been the only major employer in the area and was the lifeblood of the local economy up until June 2022, when the depleted mine was placed on care and maintenance. An expansion plan proved highly controversial and was halted by a court judgment in May 2022, which found that Tendele had failed to comply with various statutory requirements, including the public participation process. The mine was ordered to conduct a new participation process. Tensions between those in community in favour of expansion and those against it have in the past boiled over, most notably in late 2020, when activist Fikile Ntshangase was gunned down in her home. Now, with Tendele having restarted mining activity, animosity in the community has resurged. A large portion of the community is in favour of the recommencement of mining activities and Tendele received over 5,00 applications for just 100 job openings ahead of restarting mining activities. Seventy of the posts have since been filled. Attracting around R1 billion in investment, at full operation, the mine is expected to directly and indirectly employ 1,200 people. The Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (MCEJO), however, continues to voice numerous concerns over the company's activities.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Lisa Steyn at Fin24

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