I think this article is going to be one of the most difficult articles to compile and write that I have done so far. I was not a part of the problem and its solution but stood on the peripherals shouting: what to do and what not to do. A coal mine mining section is designed to cater for a coal tonnage quota for a month. Continuous miners have a target worked out in Thousands of tonne per month. While long wall mining techniques has the capability and capacity to produce coal up to a quarter million tonne per month.
A coal mine is designed to act as a server to a power station and supply coal to that power station as per contract etc. The coal mine in question had a gross target per month almost 800*000 tonnes. The Power station could absorb that easily and with some to spare. This Power station had six turbine units at its disposal and ran the plant efficiently.
Much of what follows is hearsay and hence the entire article is jeopardised: The management of the mine mustered the entire workforce and gave them a speech which forced the tears to the workers eyes. Not to mine though not to mine because I/we knew what was coming. Managements was making demands and we heard it through the grape vine:Management wanted the total tonne per month lifted to supply another Power station. He carried the speech to the point where emotions override the logics. “gentlemen” Majuba needs your coal urgently“. “There will be power lines to the Natal Midlands and in the coming winter your families will be warm and comfortable” I and others felt the bile rising in our throats by this paternalistic attitude of the Big Man. The workers were not fools and asked how are they to produce double the tonnage in a single month. How was this bad idea going to affect their production bonus? There was the makings of a party to clear the mind and fill the bellies of the workers.
The power station in question was Majuba Power Station. It is convenient to build Power stations and still have a mine planted at the back yard. Think of all the costs that will be saved. But one major problem: The geological survey of the mine was, if I dare say, rather shoddy and it was discovered that the underground geological structures were not in the interest of mining or safety for that matter. The place, as I got wind of, is one network of dykes, methane and other rock formations. Mining was just not viable at the time, circa 1998.
As the night shift arrived by bus the train carrying the coal departed from the mine to go to..;……other mines more deserving.
Some weeks ago, on my way to Morgenzon, I saw, far to the right, a tall finger pointing to the heavens issuing smoke. MAJUBA proudly etched against the sky it was poisoning. (Coal is transported by rail from a source unknown to myself and supplies Majuba ).
This article, as heard via the grape vine, may have fallacies in it but I believe much is accurate and many will denounce it. I, by some freak of nature was at the speech and part of the party
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