Six million people could be affected by coal, gold mine closures

AN estimated six million people who live near mining areas in South Africa will be affected socially and economically by mine closures, said BusinessLive.

Citing a report funded by the Water Research Commission, one study finding was that communities near gold and coal mining operations would be most affected. It concluded Government think seriously about the effects of mine closures.

“Numerous coal mines are expected to close in the near future as the coal fields in Mpumalanga are depleted and climate change limits coal investment; there is significant domestic and international pressure for a ‘just transition’ to clean energy that ensures that the mineworkers and host communities are not left behind,” the study states.

“Similarly, the shift to electric vehicles may see a decline in platinum demand and result in mine closures in the high-cost underground mines in North West and Limpopo.” The study is authored by University of Cape Town academic┬áMegan Cole.

Some 69 mines in Mpumalanga’s coal fields were identified as being at high risk of closure, said BusinessLive. The research also shows that most of the gold mines and a few chrome mines on the Western Limb of the Bushveld Complex in the North West are also in the high-risk category, the newspaper said citing the study.

There was good news, too as demand for energy transition minerals such as manganese, copper, iron ore, base metals, vanadium and rare earth minerals was incentivising exploration and development, the study said.