South Africa: Abandoned Coal Mines Risk Safety, Rights

(Johannesburg, July 5, 2022) – The South African government’s failure to ensure that abandoned coal mines are rehabilitated puts communities at risk of injury and death and risks polluting resident’s water sources, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 45-page report, “The Forever Mines: Perpetual Rights Risks from Unrehabilitated Coal Mines in Mpumalanga, South Africa,” documents the threats to communities from coal mines in Mpumalanga province that have not been properly cleaned up. Human Rights Watch found that the government has failed to make progress on addressing the dangers of abandoned coal mines, and that the industry, through its inaction, has created ongoing problems that affect communities’ safety and health.