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An Ethical interrogation of coal mining activities and its implications on women’s health and the environment in South Africa.

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Coal mining is one of the earliest forms of economic activity that is still practised today in the majority of African countries, including South Africa. Because it also offers employment opportunities to a large number of individuals, its contribution to the growth of the economy is unparalleled. In spite of the debates around climate change, global patterns of coal consumption have not changed over the past few years. In fact, it has been observed that coal is not even close to being in decline. Coal is recognised as one of the most utilised resources in the world. Even though coal mining helps substantially to economic development, its positive impact on economic growth appears to have outweighed the adverse effects it has on local communities and the environment.Although debates and discussions have been conducted on coal mining in South Africa, most scholars have not written about how coal mining affects women’s health and the environment from an ethical perspective. This study aims to ethically interrogate coal mining activities and their implications on women’s health and the environment in South Africa. The study highlights the contribution of coal mining activities towards environmental pollution and how it has affected women’s health. Furthermore, coal mining activities have resulted in the displacement of local communities, violence and a violation of human rights. It is through this backdrop that this study, through the lens of ecofeminism and intersectionality, argues that coal mining companies and government in South Africa reconsider their approaches to mining and prioritize women’s health and the environment.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.