A report on a cultural heritage impact assessment for the proposed Kangwane Anthracite Mine, close to Komatipoort, Mpumalanga Province


Archaetnos cc was requested by Prime Resources (Pty) Ltd to conduct a cultural heritage impact assessment for the proposed Kangwane Anthracite Mine. This is a follow-up of a baseline study that was done in November 2011. The surveyed area is close to the town of Komatipoort in the Barberton district in the Mpumalanga Province.

A survey of the available literature was undertaken in order to obtain background information regarding the area. This was followed by the field survey which was conducted according to generally accepted HIA practices, aimed at locating all possible objects, sites and features of cultural significance in the footprint area of the proposed development.

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 a Global Positioning System (GPS). The information was added to photographs and the description in order to facilitate the identification of each locality.

During the baseline survey three sites of cultural heritage significance were located in the area to be developed. The one is remains of government farm buildings and infrastructure and the other two areas containing prehistoric artifacts. None other cultural heritage sites were identified during the follow-up survey.
All three of the sites are inside of the area to be influenced by the development and will therefore be impacted on. Both sites 1 (buildings) and 3 (prehistoric remains) are of low cultural heritage significance and therefore do not need to be mitigated. Site 2 (prehistoric remains) is of high cultural significance and therefore needs to be mitigated.

It should be noted that various problems were experienced during the field work phase for the impact assessment. The density of vegetation in certain areas is a determining factor making it sometimes impossible to locate all archaeological and historical sites, including graves. Apart from this, a very large amount of rain has fallen a few days before the fieldwork, making certain roads inaccessible. Social unrest as a result of service delivery strikes, made it impossible to travel on certain road, albeit outside of the area, but creating difficulty in reaching the intended area. Also the subterranean presence of archaeological and/or historical sites, features or artifacts is always a distinct possibility. Care should therefore be taken when mining commences that if any of these are discovered, a qualified archaeologist be called in to investigate.

Report by

Anton C. van Vollenhoven (L.AKAD.SA.)