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The shattered remains of the Nababeep copper mine and processing plant in the Northern Cape look like a sneak preview of a dystopian apocalyptic future, with a sinister steel smoke stack looming over the site, which spreads down the side of a barren hill.

Entwined in the ruined terraces of thick, rubble-laden concrete platforms, broken walls and rusting rebar of a once-important source of SA’s copper output is a shiny, modern plant, SA’s first solvent-extraction electrowinning plant for a dedicated copper mine...

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