Exxaro Leeuwpan Colliery is expanding, threatening national water and food security by destroying wetlands and pans, and disrupting river flows. Activists claim that their advance into the Weltevreden Pan is illegal.
The Leeuwpan Colliery is located on the Mpumalanga Highveld, less than five kilometres from the town of Delmas, South Africa, approximately 65 kilometres East of Johannesburg. The Highveld is rich in coal reserves and numerous coal mining companies are exploiting these reserves. This region has some of South Africa’s most productive arable land, and is of strategic importance for South Africa’s national food and water security.
The farm Weltevreden forms part of the Leeuwpan operation and Exxaro has obtained a valid mining right for this farm. They did not however secure a Water License for this property, which makes mining on the farm illegal.
The conflict started early in 2012, when a local farmer laid charges against Exxaro for mining illegally in a wetland referred to as the Weltevreden Pan, on the farm Weltevreden (Afrikaans for very satisfied). The Department of Water Affairs responded with a stop order, and various analyses of the case have been published in national media and NPO websites.