SA archaeological site under threat

Comment on this story


iol scitech july 9

SUPPLIED

The 1 100-year-old Mapungubwe World Heritage Site in Limpopo has been compromised by opencast coal mining.

Johannesburg - The United Nations has voiced its concern over a coal mine adjacent to the Mapungubwe heritage site in Limpopo, the Sunday Independent reports.

Part of this ancient landscape is protected within the Mapungubwe National Park, which contains archaeological evidence of a sophisticated Iron Age trading kingdom, including palace sites and dependent settlement areas.

The UN Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (Unesco) has sent two missions to Mapungubwe to assess the impact of proposed large-scale coal mining in the area.

Opencast coal mining had resumed in Vele, with a limited version of the open pit that coal miner Coal of Africa planned once full production was reached. The Vele colliery is located on Limpopo's northern border.

“Yet, the visual impact of even this 'small' intrusion in the landscape is substantial,” Unesco was quoted as saying.

The mine would not only destroy the cultural heritage which happened to be in its way, but also modify the cultural landscape. Unesco did not agree with a heritage assessment which found the impact of Vele would be minimal.

The site had “seriously deteriorated” and Mapungubwe risked being placed on the list of world heritage sites in danger, the weekly reported. It recommended that the buffer zone around Mapungubwe be increased, and asked South Africa to submit information on Mapungubwe's boundaries by February next year. It wanted South Africa to ensure that mining activities did not affect the site's value.

The environmental affairs department reportedly said it would work with Unesco's world heritage committee. - Sapa

Hungry for more scitech news? Sign up for our daily newsletter


sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

     

Join us on

IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks