Repository logo

The impact of quarrying activities and communal perceptions towards the environmental and animal welfare in the Ashburton community located in KZN Province, South Africa.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The aim of this research was to evaluate the animal distribution, water quality, and how the communal residents perceive the quarry existence in the surrounding community. A qualitative survey in a form of semi-structured interviews was conducted among nine key informants out of 18 landowners at Lower Mpushini community, Msunduzi Municipality in the KwaZulu Natal, Province of South Africa. A larger sample number on the qualitative research approach diminishes the return, which is much more time consuming and costly. The results indicated mixed perceptions from the residents towards the impact of the quarrying activities and the existence of the quarry in the area. According to the results, the community appeared to be divided, with one side demonstrating negative perceptions and the others indicating positive perceptions towards the quarrying activities performed in the area. The impact of quarrying activities on river water quality neighbouring the quarrying mine which act as the source of water for animals in the surrounding area was also studied. A total of five water samples were collected (upstream, open pit, downstream 1, downstream 2, and downstream 3). The Water Quality Index (WQI) of both upstream and downstream sampling were found to have the same status of excellent water quality as the distance from the quarrying point increases. The levels that were acquired from the river water quality were in line with the South African National Standard (SANS) despite the fact that the quarry is suited to the banks of the river. The animal habitat use was studied over the period of 56 days of camera trapping at 20 sites that resulted in 1120 trap-nights with 2071 independent photos. According to the data that was collected from these photos, five species of antelopes Impala (Aepyceros melampus), Nyala (Tragelaphus angasii), Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), Wildebeest (Connochaetes), and Bushbuck (Tragelaphus sylvaticus) were identified to dominate the area with livestock kept inside the resident’s homesteads. However, only two species Nyala and Impala were considered as study animals, as they had naïve occupancy of ≥0.2 and the other species had naïve occupancy of ˂0.2. The naive occupancy for Nyala was 0.90 and for Impala it was 0.30. Nyala's average estimated site occupancy and detection were 0.90±0.05 (ѱ±SE) and 0.69±0.07 (p±SE) respectively. Impala average estimated site occupancy and detection 0.40±0.11 (ѱ±SE) and 0.77±0.04 (p±SE) respectively. The top model (deltaAIC=0) for Nyala species was psi (DH+No.T),p(DH+DW+DR) with the highest AIC weight of 0.098. The top model (deltaAIC=0) for Impala was psi (DH+BG+NoT), p(DR+BG+DH+NoT) with the highest AIC weight of 0.164. The results indicated that distance to the quarry (DQ) did not have a significant influence (p>0.05) on the presence or absence of the two-study species. Based on the findings of this research, it was concluded that there was no conclusive evidence that the quarrying activities have any negative impact on the well-being of the community, animals, and environment. However, more specific, and specialised research is advised to draw more solid scientific conclusions.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.