Vele coal mine

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Vele coal mine is a coking coal project owned by Coal of Africa Limited (CoAL) located in the Limpopo Province.[1] After opposition to the R1bn project, as it is located around the Limpopo-based world heritage site called Mapungubwe National Park, Coal of Africa CEO John Wallington said production was expected to start during the first half of 2012.[2]

Opposition to mine

The mine has been opposed by environmentalists and local residents. The proposed mine was originally planned to be commissioned in late 2010.[3]

CoAL was granted a water use license for the mine on April 4, 2011. A coalition of non-profit organisations (NGOs) said they would appeal the license. The Vele colliery is located outside the Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site, and the coalition said the granting of the water license would damage the area’s water sources.[4]

Shortly after environmental groups flagged their intention to appeal against the decision, CoAL Chief executive John Wallington was asked whether the company would abandon the project. "That may happen. We may need to do that," he said.[5]

The Vele project was suspended in August 2011 when the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) ordered CoAL to stop work because of the alleged violations of the National Environmental Management Act. The company sent a petition to the DEA in August 2011, requesting Minister Edna Molewa to lift the suspension. The company said it had already spent about R600m in capital at Vele, which was 95% complete and already producing coal when development was halted. Wallington also said CoAL’s second major coking coal project in Limpopo’s Makhado region - the Makhado coal mine - was also progressing, with an application for a new order mining right already made and preparations continuing for regulatory approval.[6]

License suspension lifted

On October 19, 2011, Reuters reported that shares in Coal of Africa jumped as much as 21 percent after South Africa lifted the suspension of a key licence at its Vele colliery, allowing the miner to press ahead with plans to start production in 2012.[7]

Groups opposing the project

Resources and articles


  1. Coal of Africa Limited, "Vele coal mine", Coal of Africa Limited website, accessed May 2010.
  2. Luphert Chilwane, "Coal Mine to Start in 2012" The New Age, Sep. 20, 2011.
  3. Bheki Mpofu, "Coal of Africa to complete Vele project in third quarter", Business Day, April 29, 2010.
  4. Loni Prinsloo, "NGOs ready to appeal CoAL’s Vele water licence" Mining Weekly, April 7, 2011.
  5. Lucky Biyase, "Vele coal project might be abandoned: Coal of Africa faces ongoing court action and government bungling", Times Live, April 16, 2011.
  6. Luphert Chilwane, "Coal Mine to Start in 2012" The New Age, Sep. 20, 2011.
  7. "Coal of Africa shares jump on Vele licence decision" Reuters, Oct. 19, 2011.

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