1st Edition

Local Responses to Mine Closure in South Africa Dependencies and Social Disruption

Edited By Sethulego Matebesi, Lochner Marais, Verna Nel Copyright 2024
    200 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book investigates mine closure and local responses in South Africa, linking dependencies and social disruption.

    Mine closure presents a major challenge to the mining industry and government policymakers globally, but particularly in the Global South. South Africa is experiencing notable numbers of mine closures, and this book explores the notion of social disruption, a concept often applied to describe the effects of mine growth on communities but often neglecting the impact of mine closures. The book begins with three theoretical chapters that discuss theory, closure cost frameworks and policy development in South Africa. It uses evolutionary governance theory to show how mining creates dependencies and how mining growth often blinds communities and governments to the likelihood of closure. Too easily, mining goes ahead with no concern for the possibility, or indeed inevitability, of eventual closure and how mining communities will cope. These impacts are showcased through eight place-based case studies from across South Africa, one focusing on mine workers, to demonstrate that mine closure causes significant social disruption.

    This book will be of interest to students and scholars researching the social impacts of mining and the extractive industries, social geography and sustainable development, as well as policymakers and practitioners working with mine closure and social impact assessments.

    1 Understanding mine closure: global and national trends

    Lochner Marais, Sethulego Matebesi and Verna Nel

    2 A theoretical framework for understanding the social aspects of mine closure

    Lochner Marais, Sethulego Matebesi and Verna Nel

    3 Mine closure policies and strategies in South Africa: a critical review

    Samkelisiwe Khanyile and Lochner Marais

    4 A scoping review of the literature on mine closure

    Anita Venter, Job Gbadegesin and David van Wyk

    5 Miners’ lives after retrenchment

    Martina Kotzé, Boitumlo Joy Alec, Mmboneni Magadzu and Jan Cloete

    6 West Rand: decline in South Africa’s economic heartland

    Margaret Kusambiza-Kiingi, Verna Nel and Job Gbadegesin

    7 Matjhabeng: decline in the urban periphery

    Kentse Sesele and Margaret Kusambiza-Kiingi

    8 Kleinzee: looking for a new dawn amidst the diamond dust

    Anmar Pretorius and Derick Blaauw

    9 Koffiefontein mine downscaling: socioeconomic and infrastructural consequences

    Sethulego Matebesi, Thomas Stewart, Maléne Campbell and Oupa Kale

    10 Alexkor and the Richtersveld community: unlikely partners to mine diamonds together

    Phia van der Watt

    11 Tshikondeni: mine closure in a deeply rural area

    Verna Nel and Dolphin Mabale

    12 Emalahleni’s just transition: from closure to collaboration?

    Lucius Botes, Samkelisiwe Khanyile and Zolile Mqotyana

    13 Rustenburg: the struggle to go beyond mining

    Sethulego Matebesi and John Ntema

    14 Rustenburg: coping despite mine decline

    Ngaka Mosiane and Cathy M Dzerefos

    15 A framework for understanding the social aspects of mine closure in South Africa

    Lochner Marais, Sethulego Matebesi and Verna Nel


    Sethulego Matebesi is Associate Professor and Academic Head of the Department of Sociology at the University of the Free State (UFS), South Africa. His previous publications include Civil Strife Against Local Governance: Dynamics of Community Protests in South Africa (2017) and Social Licensing and Mining in South Africa (Routledge, 2020).

    Lochner Marais is Professor of Development Studies at the Centre for Development Support at the University of the Free State (UFS), South Africa, and an executive editor of the newly established journal Research Directions: Mine Closure and Transitions. He is also an honorary professor at the Sustainable Minerals Institute, University of Queensland, Australia. He has published The Social Impacts of Mine Closure in South Africa: Housing Policy and Place Attachment (Routledge, 2022).

    Verna Nel is Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of the Free State, South Africa. She is also qualified as a town and regional planner at Wits University, South Africa.