Mine clashes continue

2017-08-23 06:02
These teeth are among the remains that were discovered at the Kitso Mine.Photo: Supplied

These teeth are among the remains that were discovered at the Kitso Mine.Photo: Supplied

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Violence and confrontation by community members flared up at the Kitso Mine between Lohatlha and Postmasburg after a reportedly failed attempt by the mine to sneak out minerals through a truck of its logistics department.

This follows strict instructions from the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) that all mining operations be suspended pending the outcome of an archaeological study.

Suspension of mining operations followed the discovery of presumably human remains by workers on the mining site after management reportedly ignored warnings from the workers three weeks ago.

(See last week’s front page of Express Northern Cape.)

The company management reportedly dismissed it, citing that it was baboon remains.

The response by DMR was late for last week’s edition.

The discovery has since sparked outrage within the community, who blockaded the entrance and exit of the mine with burning tyres on Monday, 14 August, after a tip-off that the mine was planning to proceed with a part of the operations.

A more intense and violent confrontation followed on Monday (21/08), when angry community members reportedly assaulted a security guard who fired shots in an effort to prevent them from entering the premises.

The community members threatened to burn down the offices after destroying the security room.

Now the community members want all mining machinery to be removed from their land and the mine to be shut down completely, as they feel there is no transparency.

The company informed the workers and the community that the DMR gave the go-ahead for part of the operations to continue.

In response to that information, the DMR clarified in a statement to Express Northern Cape: “All operations have been suspended. The company was instructed to appoint an archaeologist to conduct a study and make recommendations on the graves on site. The operations will remain suspen-ded until the report has been received and recommendations implemented.”

The DMR can, however, not determine any way forward and promises to conduct an audit to verify compliance with terms and conditions, as previous discoveries of human remains were brought to their attention by the company.

The mine now threatens to retrench some of its 120 workers due to loss of income following the incident.

Workers of the mine also fear for their lives, as their safety could not be guaranteed due to angry workers.

No comment could be received from Kitso Mine, as the phone of the operations ma- nager, Hannes Pelser, was not answered.

The Northern Cape police confirmed that they had attended to the protest action at the mine and charges of arson, assault with the intention to cause grievous bodily harm and common assault are being investigated.

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