Friday, July 19, 2024

Mhlume Coal Mine: A Potential Catalyst for Sustainable Development & Community Growth – A Discussion with King Mswati III



During a recent familiarisation tour of the Mhlume Coal Mine, His Majesty King Mswati III made an impactful statement, urging the directors of the operation to ensure that the benefits of the mining activities extend beyond the mine itself, reaching the community and bolstering the nation’s economy.

The King’s visit to the mine on Thursday allowed him a closer look at the preliminary operations. During his visit, he engaged with both management and staff, emphasizing the vital role mining projects should play in benefiting the wider community.

His Majesty highlighted the significant potential of the mining sector to act as a catalyst for achieving sustainable development goals. He expressed optimism about the project, known as Mhlume Eswatini Anthracite, particularly its potential to create job opportunities for Emaswati, which, in turn, would enhance the livelihoods of their families and the broader community.

With a clear vision, the King stated, “It is time for the mines to ensure that they contribute immensely towards the development of the area. We do not want to see a situation where the community will remain the same even after the mining project is over.” His expressions of excitement about the initial employment of Emaswati set the tone for his expectations regarding the mine’s developmental impact.

His Majesty challenged the project’s stakeholders, “It is now in your hands to nurture and grow this project since you are already part of it. I hope that next time I come here the project will be even bigger and more people will be employed.” He drew parallels between the nascent mining project and the surrounding successful sugar cane farming ventures, urging the mine’s leadership to ensure continual growth and to prevent project failure.

On the operational front, the King was informed that the mine’s operations are projected to last for many years, with an impressive 20 million tonnes of anthracite coal slated for extraction. At full capacity, the mine is expected to extract approximately 5,000 tonnes of coal daily.

The tour saw the presence of Emakhosikati, chiefs, the Prime Minister Russell Dlamini, Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Prince Lonkhokhela, other Cabinet ministers, members of the Minerals Mining Board, and various stakeholders and business figures. This collective attendance underscored the project’s perceived significance for the nation.

Earlier in the year, Minister Prince Lonkhokhela also toured the facility, expressing satisfaction regarding the project’s potential to generate considerable employment for Emaswati. In a broader initiative to bolster the nation’s mining sector, the ministry previously launched a multi-disciplinary Geoscience Mapping exercise in the Manzini and Hhohho regions, with the aim to identify and prioritize mineral targets throughout the country.

In related developments, Michael Lee Enterprises secured a mining licence to extract Green Chert and Gold at Malolotja, with the operation already credited with creating over 100 jobs. With plans to become fully operational, the mine aims to offer 1,500 more job opportunities, contributing further to the national vision of utilizing natural resources for economic development and community upliftment.

The concerted efforts to leverage mining activities for broader societal benefit are clearly gaining momentum, with the highest levels of leadership advocating for sustainable development practices. As these projects evolve, the focus on community and economic development continues to promise a brighter future for Emaswati.

Alexandra Bennett
Alexandra Bennett
Alexandra Bennett is a seasoned business journalist with over a decade of experience covering the global economy, finance, and corporate strategies. With a Bachelor's degree in Economics and a Master's in Business Journalism from Columbia University, Alexandra has built a reputation for her insightful analysis and ability to break down complex economic trends into understandable narratives. Prior to joining our team, she worked for major financial publications in New York and London. Alexandra specializes in mergers and acquisitions, market trends, and economic

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