MINING has been suspended at Tshikondeni Exxaro Coal Mine, near Kruger National Park, in Limpopo after disgruntled residents blocked the road leading to the mine, claiming blasting was causing cracks in their houses.
The residents from Mutele and Mukoma Wa Bani, east of Thohoyandou, blocked the entrance to the mine with stones, burning tyres and other debris, effectively prohibiting workers, distribution trucks and mine management from entering the site. The mine produced 299 000 tons of coal during the 2011 financial year.
The residents started the demonstration on Friday, to highlight the problems apparently caused by mine blasting since the mine shifted to an open-pit operation. The demonstration started after a preliminary report on blasting indicated that the cracks in houses and schools did not stem from the blasting.
Maanda Rasivhaga, the community member who led the protest, said the demonstration is also aimed at showing “negligence” on the part of the mine, claiming that it did not consult with the community.