The plight of unofficial coal mining in South Africa South Africa News


The darkness spread an unused mine in South Africa’s eastern Empumalanga province as a pick-up truck left the site entrance and loaded coal overnight.

Informal miner Banginkosi Melanga threw a pixie over his shoulder and landed under the ground, where he stayed until daybreak.

Locally known as “Jame Jama” – “those who try and try” in Zulu – Mlanga and his associates make a living by running on previously abandoned mine shafts by mining teams.

According to the National Association of Artificial Miners (NAAM), there are thousands of unofficial mines in South Africa.

As mining companies struggled to find new jobs in a country of millions of people, many people became unemployed, even before the coronavirus epidemic hit.

Melanga, 31, shuffled through 72 slippery steps and returned to a narrow tunnel just 1.60 meters (5.2 feet) high.

The air becomes thicker when he drops the floor with its rise, walls and moisture.

Bent-over figures cleared the past, they became visible in the dark as they dragged the coal bogie up to the surface of the bogie.

As the ceiling descended, it passed through the shaking holes and spread out until it reached a black vein of rock about 2 m (6.5 ft) wide.

“It’s my spot,” he told AFP.

“I take care of it, I keep it clean and no one is supposed to touch it.”

Using a headlamp, Mlanga lifted her pixie and repeatedly plunged it into the rock with all her might.

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He later collected raw coal with his bare hands, stuffed it into old polypropylene sacks and sold it for a minimum of Rs 500 per tonne (35 35).

Mining is an important source of income for South Africa, which accounts for about 6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

NAM estimates that there are about 1,000,000 unused mines in the country.

Lack of maintenance and observational use of explosives can cause old tunnels to collapse and bury miners with them.

“When you go there you will never know if you will come back,” Mlanga said, reluctant to talk about past events.

“If it happens, you have to run and throw everything behind you.”

Mlanga pulls out his last bag after spending H2. He did just 250 reds (17 17) in a twelve-hour night shift.





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