Save Vital Freshwater Supply from Proposed Coal Mine

Vaal River, South Africa

Target: Bomo Edna Molewa, South Africa’s Minister of Environmental Affairs

Goal: Stop a coal mine from potentially contaminating a crucial water supply

One of the biggest freshwater sources in South Africa is under attack from a proposed coal mine. The Eskom Coal Mine is proposed to sit dangerously close to the Vaal River, which provides millions of gallons of water to surrounding communities daily. The mine will be an opencast and underground mining facility, which will extend within the Vaal River’s 100-meter flood line. Action must be taken now to protect this water supply, the surrounding environment, and human health from this dirty coal mine.

Coal mining degrades the land, impacts human health, and destroys plant and wildlife because of the heavy metals and toxins commonly associated with the mining process. Toxic substances find a way into water supplies from acid mine drainage and rain runoff. Coal particulates in the air, created from digging and mining operations, cause respiratory problems. Acidic toxins in the water kill fish populations and cause nervous system disorders and cancer in humans. The health of surrounding communities is worth more than any amount of monetary gain associated with this type of destructive facility.

Eskom wants to provide coal for a profitable power station. Locals understand the need for coal but not necessarily the reason behind this exact location. The proposed coal deposit has an estimated 300 tons of low-grade coal. However, this amount is less than half of one percent of South Africa’s total estimated coal reserve. Mining coal in this area is not safe or crucial. The project has squeaked by with little to no public participation and not much is known about the mining company, Richtrau 253 Ltd. However, the name associated with the company, Mokgokong, has a history of environmental issues related to improper mining practices.

By signing this petition, you are urging South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs to deny the request to mine coal near the Vaal River. The company seeking approval has been the root of previous environmental issues and the mining practice itself will truly degrade a water source so crucial for millions of people.


Dear Minister Molewa,

The Vaal River is a crucial water source for millions of people in South Africa. Millions of liters of water are diverted from the Vaal River to communities every day. However, this precious water source is threatened by contamination from a proposed coal mine. The Eskom Coal Mine seeks to operate dangerously close to this freshwater supply. Air quality, water quality, agriculture, recreational activities, and human health are at risk if this proposed coal mine is approved.

The coal mine will operate as an opencast mine as well as conduct underground mining activities. The mine will extend past the Vaal River’s 100-meter flood line, increasing the risk of river contamination. Opencast coal mining is associated with increased coal particulates in the air, greatly reducing air quality. The mine’s processing exposes dangerous toxins and heavy metals, which could find its way into the Vaal through acid mine drainage and rain runoff.

A coal mine in this location is not crucial. This location has less than a half of one percent of the total coal reserves in South Africa. Please take action to protect the Vaal River and the millions of citizens who rely on it.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Ivan Fourie via Flickr

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