A report on a heritage impact assessment for the proposed new shaft position and power line associated with underground operations at Block F, Kriel Colliery, Mpumalanga ProvinceSummary

Archaetnos cc was appointed by SRK to conduct a cultural heritage study for a proposed new shaft and power line at the Kriel Colliery. This is located close to the town of Kriel in the Mpumalanga Province.

The proposed development is a result of a request from Eskom to extend the life of the Kriel Colliery and to provide coal to the Eskom Kriel Power Station. This entails additional infrastructure as described above. The client indicated the area where the proposed development is to take place. The field survey was confined to this area.

The heritage survey was done to identify objects, sites, occurrences and structures of an archaeological or historical nature (cultural heritage sites) located on the property. These also needs to be assessed it terms of significance relating to archaeological, historical, scientific, social, religious, aesthetic and tourism value. Possible impact on these is to be described and recommend for suitable mitigation measures proposed.

Cultural Resources are all non-physical and physical man-made occurrences, as well as natural occurrences associated with human activity. Cultural significance is site-specific and relates to the content and context of the site.

The methodology for the survey included a survey of literature which was undertaken in order to obtain background information regarding the area. This was followed by a field survey. 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 Global Positioning System (GPS). The information was added to the description in order to facilitate the identification of each locality. The evaluation of Heritage sites is done by giving a field rating of each.

Aspects concerning the conservation of cultural resources are dealt with mainly in two acts. These are the National Heritage Resources Act (Act 25 of 1999) and the National Environmental Management Act (Act 107 of 1998). These are shortly discussed in the report.

During the survey one site of cultural heritage significance was located near to the area to be developed. It is a grave yard belonging to the Historical Age. No Stone or Iron Age sites were identified. This is not surprising as the broader geographical area is not known for such sites.

The site found is a grave yard consisting of 2 graves. Graves always are regarded as having a high cultural significance. In this case there are two categories of graves being those older than 60 years and those of an unknown date. These are therefore all heritage graves. They are of a local significance and are therefore given a rating of Grade IIIB. It may however be mitigated.

The basic recommendations are as follows:

  • From the available plans it seems that there will not be a direct impact on the site. Therefore option 1 is recommended. This is the fencing in of the site and the writing of a management plan for the sustainable preservation of the site.
  • It should be remembered that due to the natural factors indicated in the report, it is possible that all cultural sites may not have been identified. Also the subterranean presence of archaeological and/or historical sites, features or artifacts are always a distinct possibility. Care should therefore be taken when development work commences that, if any


Report by

Dr. A.C. van Vollenhoven (L. Akad. S.A.)