Authors: Nxumalo, ND

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Nxumalo, ND 2023, '‘Nothing on our land about us, for us, without us.’ Mine closure planning and a post-closure strategy at Tshikondeni Coal Mine, South Africa', in B Abbasi, J Parshley, A Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2023: Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth,

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Since the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand in 1886, mining has been at the centre of South Africa’s development. Although mining continues to contribute significantly to the country’s economy, it is a temporary land use activity, and mine closure is inevitable. This paper reviews mine closure planning at Tshikondeni Coal Mine – currently an active mine closure site since 2014. The review presents the mine closure processes that have been undertaken at the Tshikondeni Coal Mine as regulated by South Africa’s principal mining legislation, the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002, and other relevant regulatory frameworks. To compile this review: (1) A desktop study was conducted; (2) Empirical data was collected through one-on-one interviews with research participants at Tshikondeni Coal Mine, and 3) Physical observations were done of the rehabilitation at various mine operations within the Tshikondeni Coal Mine complex. Research participants consisted of mine officials across different departments (i.e., human resources, environmental, social, and business strategy) who were directly involved with the Tshikondeni Coal Mine closure. A questionnaire with semi-structured questions was developed. It was utilised to acquire a better understanding of mine closure planning at Tshikondeni Coal Mine and identify mine closure processes that aim to achieve post-mining land uses and align with Tshikondeni Coal Mine’s post-closure strategy, namely the Tshikondeni Legacy Project. Tshikondeni Coal Mine closure presents an imperfect case however its post-closure strategy has the potential to transition a mining economy to an eco-tourism economy that can preserve livelihoods and self-reliant communities.

Keywords: mine closure, mine closure planning, rehabilitation, engagement, financial provision, relinquishment.

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