Community members of Hwelereng village, near Lebowakgomo in Limpopo, are demanding for the reopening of a mine shaft in the area.
The residents say the Baobab Mine, which is now owned by Sibanye-Stillwater, has been under care and maintenance for over five years. The mine shaft currently processes platinum and iron ore deposits from another mining operation in Mogalakwena.
Employment for locals
Desperate for economic opportunities, community leaders have handed over a memorandum to mining executives demanding for the employment of locals.
The mine that was closed in 2009, currently only has one shaft operating with fewer workers where raw materials are processed and distributed to a smelter plant in Polokwane.
Locals, however, have demanded that the mine be reopened fully to absorb unemployed young people from the area.
One of residents says, “The closure of the mine has affected us a lot as the community, our kids are not working, they can’t get bursaries and they don’t assist the community. We try to engage the mine with these issues but they don’t want to listen to us. Our community is not benefiting.”
Community leader Freddy Ledwaba says the mine’s care and maintenance period has lapsed. He says the mine is not adhering to its social labour plans.
“The mine has been under care and maintenance since 2009, actually it’s eleven years. It means they are breaking the clause of the mining charter if I can put it like that,” Ledwaba explains.
Tshediso Kadiaka, an unemployed youth at the village, says he’s been struggling to find employment at the mine despite having mining qualifications.
Kadiaka says, “According to our main research, there is production still going on at the mine and the mine at Sibanye are still operating but there are no people. Only few work from there, from our community. I will like to see myself working there because I have qualifications in mechanical engineering.”
The community will engage with mine executives on Tuesday to receive feedback from their memorandum.
Efforts to reach Sibanye-Still-Waters for comment were unsuccessful.