Archaetnos cc was requested by Geovicon to conduct an archaeological impact assessment (AIA) for the proposed Zibulo North Shaft Expansion Project. The site is located south west of Ogies in the Mpumalanga Province.


The methodology for the study includes a survey of literature and a field survey. The latter was conducted according to generally accepted HIA practices and was aimed at locating all possible objects, sites and features of cultural significance in the area of proposed development.


If required, the location/position of any site was determined by means of a Global Positioning System (GPS), while photographs were also taken where needed.  The survey was undertaken by doing a physical survey via off-road vehicle and on foot and covered as much as possible of the area to be studied. Certain factors, such as accessibility, density of vegetation, etc. may however influence the coverage.


All sites, objects, features and structures identified were documented according to the general minimum standards accepted by the archaeological profession. Co-ordinates of individual localities were determined by means of the GPS. The information was added to the description in order to facilitate the identification of each locality.


During the survey, twenty-five sites of cultural heritage significance were identified within the project area.


The following is recommended:


  • Nineteen of the identified sites are graves and graveyards, namely: number 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9-16, 18-19, 21, 22, 24 and 25 with site no, 17 also having graves together with farm buildings. These are always of high heritage significance. There are two ways of dealing with graves.
    • The first option would be to fence the graves in and have a management
      plan drafted for the sustainable preservation thereof. This should be
      written by a heritage expert. This usually is done when the graves are in
      no danger of being damaged, but where there will be a secondary impact
      due to the activities of the mine.
    • The second option is to exhume and relocate the mortal remains. This
      usually is done when the graves are in the area to be directly affected
      by the mining activities. For this a specific procedure should be followed
      which includes social consultation. For graves younger than 60 years
      only an undertaker is needed. For those older than 60 years and
      unknown graves an undertaker and archaeologist are needed. Permits
      should be obtained from the Burial Grounds and Graves unit of SAHRA.
      This procedure is quite lengthy. Since the graveyard is outside of the area of direct development, and already fence in, it should remain as such.
    • One grave site, site number 15 is in danger of being directly impacted by the development. However, the mine has indicated that they would rather make use of current infrastructure in order to avoid Option 2. Therefore Option 1 is also recommended here, but the mine needs to ensure that the site remain unaffected. If impossible, Option 2 will have to be implemented.
  • Five grave sites, site numbers 2, 9, 10, 12, 13 is in the development area and may be impacted by issues like dust and blasting. Thus Option 1 is recommended. The drafting of a cultural heritage management plan (CMP) is of extremely importance to ensure the sustainable protection of the graves.
    • Ten grave sites, site numbers 6, 7, 11, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22 and 25 is in the larger underground mining area. It is advisable to also implement Option 1 to prevent any damage and minimize the chance for future claims for compensation due to damage to the graves. The mine also needs to ensure that mining does not lead to collapsing or incaving of the graves.
    • Three graves sites, site numbers 1, 3 and 24 is located outside the study area. These may be excluded from mitigation measures.


  • All other sites, i.e. farmyards and historical structures (site 4, 5, 8, 17, 20 and 23) are of low heritage significance. The description in this phase 1 heritage report is seen as sufficient recording and it may be granted destruction at the discretion of the relevant heritage authority without a formal permit application, subjected to the granting of Environmental Authorization. It may also be left in situ to deteriorate naturally. The latter is rather recommended as the sites falls outside of the area of direct impact.
  • Only after implementation of the above mitigation measures and upon receiving the necessary comments from the heritage authority, the proposed development may continue.


  • It should be noted that the subterranean presence of archaeological and/or historical sites, features or artifacts is always a distinct possibility. Due to the density of vegetation it also is possible that some sites may only become known later on. Operating controls and monitoring should therefore be aimed at the possible unearthing of such features. Care should therefore be taken when development commences that if any of these are discovered, a qualified archaeologist be called in to investigate the occurrence.


  • In This regards the following ‘Chance find Procedure’ should be followed:


  1. Upon finding any archaeological or historical material all work at the affected area must cease.

2.     The area should be demarcated in order to prevent any further work there until an investigation has been completed.

3.     An archaeologist should be contacted immediately to provide advice on the matter.

  1. Should it be a minor issue, the archaeologist will decide on future action, which could include adapting the HIA or not. Depending on the nature of the find, it may include a site visit.
  2. SAHRA’s APM Unit may also be notified.

6.     If needed, the necessary permit will be applied for with SAHRA. This will be done in conjunction with the appointed archaeologist.

7.     The removal of such archaeological material will be done by the archaeologist in lieu of the approval given by SAHRA, including any conditions stipulated by the latter.

8.     Work on site will only continue after removal of the archaeological/ historical material was done.


It is also important to take cognizance that it is the client’s responsibility to do the submission of this report via the SAHRIS System on the SAHRA website.  No work on site may commence before receiving the necessary comments from SAHRA.

Report by

Prof. A.C. van Vollenhoven (L.AKAD.SA.) Accredited member of ASAPA Accredited member of SASCH