The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Mpumalanga alleges that illegal mining activities are taking place at the Gupta-owned Optimum Coal Mine in Hendrina. The mine has been under business rescue since 2018.
The DA says about seven contractors were appointed to mine for eight months. However, they are now mining without a valid license after it expired early last year.
The DA provincial leader, Jane Sithole says the Minerals Council of South Africa should investigate the allegation.
“That is the concern that the community has, that is the concern that former employees have and that is the concern that farming communities have because the mine is legally closed. Why are there people there and what are they doing with what they are mining and what they are finding and who is responsible? That is why we have requested an investigation by the Minerals Council of South Africa so that people and we can ascertain what is going on there as the mine is shut down”.
Meanwhile, Optimum Coal Mine‘s General Manager, Howard Pyoos has dismissed allegations that they are mining illegally.
“Firstly the allegations that the Optimum Coal Mine is mining illegally are factually incorrect. The Mine in fact has a valid mining license. The mine is visited on a frequent basis by the DMRE inspectors. The allegations that the DMRE and the Minister are aware that we are mining illegally are incorrect. The allegations of ANC officials and NUM officials also benefiting from this illegal mining are extremely farfetched. All the contracts that we have are above board and like I said we have a valid license.”