Inside Sibanye’s ‘zombie mine’
The miner has been trying to shut down Ezulwini’s operations for four years. But without a closure certificate it can’t do so. And until it gets one, it’s on the hook for R23m a month to pump water from the disused shaft
Though technically nonoperational, Sibanye-Stillwater’s Ezulwini mine, in the southwest of Joburg, sees its fair share of activity every day. That is, about 60 employees descend the shaft to ensure 68Ml of water is pumped from 1,500m below the surface every day, at a cost of R23m every month. And while Sibanye is none too pleased about pumping water from the "zombie mine" in perpetuity, it is forced to carry on with what it’s doing until it can obtain a mine closure certificate.
Mining began at Ezulwini — originally known as Western Areas gold mine and then as Cooke 4 — in 1961. In 1989, the operating company was awarded a permit to pump water from an underground compartment in aid of mining activity...