Archaetnos cc was requested by Geovicon to conduct an archaeological impact assessment (AIA) for the proposed Black wattle Colliery. The site is located south of Middelburg in the Mpumalanga Province.


Black Wattle Colliery is an existing mining operation. The study is aimed at an additional area earmarked for mining. The study forms part of the Environmental Authorisation Process.


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, two sites of cultural heritage significance were identified within the project area.


The following is recommended:


  • Although the graveyard at site no. 1 is outside of the area of direct development, there will definitely be an indirect (secondary) impact due to its closeness to the mining area. It therefore needs to be mitigated.
  • Option 1 is for handling graves is recommended, which entails the drafting of a cultural heritage management plan (CMP). The site should also be fenced in.


  • Site no. 2 is 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.


  • 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.

Report by

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