Coal production from KwaZulu-Natal disrupted by last week’s violent protests

COAL production from KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa was widely disrupted last week owing to violent protests initially related to the imprisonment of the country’s former president, Jacob Zuma.

BusinessLive said the operations of Petmin and Ikwezi Mining were interrupted and there were reports of absenteeism at Zululand Anthracite Colliery (ZAC), owned by Menar. MC Mining, which operates the Uitkmost mine, said last week it had shut operations in order to discourage invasions by community members.

Zuma’s incarceration led to protests that then deteriorated into the looting of retail centres and industrial sites. Rail and port facilities owned by Transnet were interrupted while telecommunication masts were also destroyed. An estimated 212 people have died as a result of the protests which also flowed into Gauteng province.

“If all goes according to plan and the unrest subsides, the Somkhele mine expects to commence operations over the next few days,” a spokesman for Petmin told BusinessLive. “Given the remote location of the mine and blocked roads, we were extremely concerned with the inability of the SAPS or SANDF to assist with protecting our mine,” the spokesperson said.

Menar said the railing of products has been interrupted at ZAC as well as its two other Mpumalanga coal operations due to the inability of Transnet Port Terminals, Transnet Freight Rail and private ports to perform.