Limpopo floods halt coal mine operations

2013-01-22 09:14
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Flooding in the Lowveld

As Mpumalanga and Limpopo experience high rainfall, entire towns have been affected by extensive flooding. See the pictures.

Johannesburg - Floods in Limpopo have forced a coal mine to halt its operations, Coal of Africa Limited (CoAL) said on Tuesday.

Chairperson David Brown said CoAL hoped to resume operations within a week.

"Coal of Africa Limited advises that, following heavy rains in the Limpopo province, operations at its Vele Colliery have been forced to stop due to flooding," he said in a statement.

The mine site had recorded 500mm rainfall in the past five days, compared to 450mm normal rainfall a year.

"CoAL expects normal operations to resume in approximately seven days, subject to receding rainfall.

"Vele currently has a 5 500 tons stockpile of thermal coal product and produces 7 000 saleable tons per week."

The mine's lodge and management facility, Dongola Ranch, near Vele Colliery, had become a crisis communications hub and a safe haven for people stranded near the Mapungubwe World Heritage Site and surrounding farms.

"Doctors without Borders [Médecins Sans Frontierès], the South African Police Services and the Musina Local Municipality have set up a base at Dongola where an expected number of more than 150 flood victims, some of which have been stranded on rooftops in the greater Mapungubwe area and rescued by military helicopter, are expected to seek shelter," said Brown.

At least six people had died following heavy rains in the province over the past few days, the provincial co-operative governance department said on Monday.

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