The socio-economic implications of mine closure - A South African and Zimbabwean scenario

M. Mugonda

In the traditional mining set up gender sensitivity never existed. Mine closures means that there are no more jobs for men, and therefore no means of livelihood for many women who depend on mine earnings. These economic hardships are felt through the home village of a mineworker as a result of job losses. Literature describes populations that are poverty stricken and their family structures are broken as women and men fail to handle the problems that follow joblessness due to retrenchments (Musvoto, 2001). In both Zimbabwe and South Africa, mine closure makes the situation difficult to resolve because a big proportion of the population is not in a position to take responsibility in efforts to facilitate their attainment of better livelihoods for the sake of sustainability. These communities in and around the mine do not have economic opportunities such as those that come with the option to trade and to start income generating activities, they do not have the capacity built in them through training and attainment of skills among other things. This would have helped them during the life of the mine and it is critical after mine closure when household incomes are low and women are expected to supplement these incomes. Mine closures force women to abandon their roles as housewives and mothers to join in the search for odd jobs to sustain a living. It is clear that mine closures subject women to socio-economic hardships as they struggle to manage on a very tight budget, to find work in an economically depressed area and care for their families. Socio-economic dynamics of mining community livelihood are complex because mining communities especially those on mining properties owned very little i.e. the houses they lived in are mine houses, so is the infrastructure. These communities have no security of tenure as this depended on being an employee of the mine. Out of desperation these exposed communities are trying to eke a living by embarking on dangerous and illegal activities such as gold panning.

Mugonda, M. (2006). The socio-economic implications of mine closure - A South African and Zimbabwean scenario. In A.B. Fourie & M. Tibbett (Eds.), Proceedings of the First International Conference on Mine Closure. Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Johannesburg (pp. 829-834).

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Conference paper
South Africa, Zimbabwe
The socio-economic implications of mine closure - A South African and Zimbabwean scenario