Having black empowerment partners called Zuma, at a time of general public revulsion against President Jacob Zuma’s cronyism, has added an additional headache for an Indian company trying to develop a new coal mine near Wakkerstroom in Mpumalanga.Atha-Africa Ventures’ Yzermyn, a 2.26Mt/year export underground coal mine, will be on a farm within the declared Mabola Protected Environment near Wakkerstroom, an area consisting of wetlands, pans and an endangered grassland ecosystem. It is the source of the Tugela, Vaal and Pongola rivers and is identified as one of SA’s 21 strategic water source areas by the SA National Biodiversity Institute and the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research.Atha-Africa has secured a mining right, an environmental authorisation and an integrated water-use licence, despite strenuous objections from local landowners, environmental NGOs and the Mpumalanga Tourism & Parks Authority.Melissa Fourie, executive director of the Centre for Environmental Rights...

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