They say all roads lead to Rome, but except for this one bumpy, dusty and gravelly paved, which twists its way and heads straight for the coal mining capital, granting heavy loads and machinery access to the kingdom.

She is the centre of attraction located in the middle of the rich arable land about 10 kilometres east of Delmas, surrounded by thousands of hectors of agricultural activities in its vicinity. A steel city, beautifully stand raised high above the topographic plains of Mpumalanga and yet deep under, nursing a whole lot of solid chunks and layers fossil fuel.

Locals call her Phalanndwa Colliery, an open shaft coal mine under the canyon coal group. It started the operation in 2010, and 3 years later, the wash plant was brought in. The presence of the machines is undeniably visible, including a laboratory and the weigh bridge enabling the Canyon Coal’s Phalanndwa Colliery extracts about 60 000 tonnes of run of mine coal per month which is crushed in deferent sizes for different markets.

Coal is South Africa’s source of energy, therefore coal mining industry play a vital role in the growth and sustainability of the nation’s economy, and has a significant contribution to the gross domestic product. Most of Phalanndwa coal is designated for domestic markets such as Eskom to be precise for electricity generation.

Although the mining industry suffers bad publicity, strict regulation and legislation, Phalanndwa future is brighter. “We are have never had fatalities in a very long time and no strikes that shows we are doing something right”, said Allan, the manager.

However, in business, challenges are inevitable, but Canyon Coal holds close the social and economic improvement of the communities they working with. Due to lack of skilled mining personnel in the area, they launched a driving licences project and bursaries for higher education students who cannot afford but wish to further their studies within the mining field.

By Kish Eusabius Munthali

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