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Prime farmland in South Africa being eaten up by mining

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Staff writer ▼ | March 30, 2016
Mpumalanga
Converting land to mines   Over 4000 mining licences were handed out last year

Benny van Zyl, General Manager of the Transvaal Agricultural Union, said prime arable farmland is being eaten up by mines especially in Mpumalanga, where thousands of mining licences are being given out.

"Only 1.6% of our country is highly arable land, and 46% of that is in Mpumalanga area. And we are losing a great deal of land to open caste coal mines in particular."

But van Zyl says all mines are contributing to this problem. He says that aside from loss of land that should be growing food to feed 55 million strong population in a sustainable manner, instead this land is being taken out from under farmers as more and more mining licences are handed out every year.

"Over 4000 mining licences were handed out last year in Mpumalanga alone."

Agricultural industry role players have asked government to intervene in the threat imposed by mining companies which are reportedly taking over prime agricultural land for the sole purpose of coal mining.

The problem is said to be dire in the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces. This is one of the issues threatening South Africa’s food security.


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