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  • Oxpeckers and Mark Olalde’s “Coal mines leave a legacy of ruin” OSF-SA Open Society Foundation for South Africa

Oxpeckers and Mark Olalde’s “Coal mines leave a legacy of ruin”

Oxpeckers has published Mark Olalde’s 19-month data investigation exposing the lack of mine closures in South Africa, despite R45-billion being held in financial provisions for rehabilitation since 2015. The ground-breaking data uncovered by this investigation indicates that since at least 2011, no large coal mines operating in the country have been granted closure by the Department of Mineral Resources. This means the mines have not been rehabilitated and are simply abandoned, leaving a legacy of local and global pollution and devastated communities. In 2014, the One Environmental System (OES) was introduced with the goal of streamlining environmental management regulations by streamlining licencing related to mining within the Department of Mineral Resources. It is yet to be determined whether government’s implementation of the OES will yield positive results for the mining industry. But the findings in this investigation suggest that there are many challenges ahead. Read the full investigation here.

OSF-SA supports this work through the Research and Advocacy Unit’s portfolio on ‘Extractive Sector Transparency and Accountability. The strategic goal of this concept is to promote transparency, accountability and inclusive participation in mineral governance in South Africa, with the aim to improve livelihoods in mine-affected communities through capacity-building and amplifying marginalised voices. Similar interventions that are supported under this portfolio, specifically on monitoring mining and promoting advocacy around licensing and financial transparency, include core support for Publish What You Pay South Africa which calls for an open and accountable extractives sector through promoting mandatory disclosures in the extractives industry and support to ActionAid South Africa and the Mine Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA) movement to conduct and scale-up social audit work in mine-affected communities, using this tool to hold actors to account. For the past three years OSF-SA has also supported #MineAlert, which is an online and mobile platform to make available mining licences and related documents to the public in order to support access to information. OSF-SA also supported the ‘Right to Say No’ campaign led by the Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC). For more information on related projects, visit our website here.