The Gupta-owned Optimum coal mine in Mpumalanga could lose its mining licence if its water supply to the town of Hendrina is not restored, a mining law expert says. Hendrina’s water reservoir is empty and the town and surrounding settlements have been without piped water for six days after contractors at the Pullens-hope water-purification plant at the Optimum colliery shut down the operation over nonpayment of contract fees and workers’ wages. Tanker trucks were transporting water from Bethal (about 45km away) to fill plastic tanks supplied by the municipality and others, residents said. Residents queue for hours to fill hand-held containers. A nurse at a clinic in Hendrina said there was still no piped water and the clinic had to rely on tankers.

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