AFU obtains preservation order for Mpumalanga illegal coal mine, assets
The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) in Mpumalanga and the police obtained a preservation of property order in the Mbombela high court on Monday to the value of more than R1.5bn.
“The seized assets consist of a farm in the Carolina district, stockpiles of coal in two separate areas (coal ore material and 'washed' coal), heavy-duty mining machinery, equipment and motor vehicles as well as the washing plant machinery and all movable buildings, machines, equipment and motor vehicles used at Droogvallei barrel coal processing and washing plant near Carolina,” National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Monica Nyuswa said.
The assets were seized on the basis that they were believed to be “instrumentalities” to commit illegal large-scale coal mining and environmental offences at the farm and/or that the assets were believed to be the proceeds of unlawful activities.
The seizure is the result of a multi-agency investigation and co-operation between the SAPS illegal mining unit in Gauteng, the Mpumalanga organised crime unit at the director of public prosecutions’ office, the Mpumalanga AFU, the enforcement sections of the department of mineral resources and energy and the department of agriculture, rural development, land and environmental affairs.
The seizure of the property follows an illegal coal mine operating at portion 11 and 12 of the farm Witkranz in Carolina.
It is estimated that about 270,000 tonnes of coal were illegally mined at the farm from November 2021 to September 2023 by a company named GNJ Mining.
At a minimum estimated market value price of R980 per tonne, the estimated 270,000 tonnes illegally mined amounted to about R264m.
“GNJ Mining never had lawful authorisation/permit to mine coal at the farm. The illicit coal that was mined at the farm was taken to Droogvallei where the coal was processed and 'washed' to prepare it for sale to GNJ Mining’s coal-using clients.”
Police carried out an operation at the farm on September 19 where they saw the magnitude of the illegal coal mining operation and processing plant.
Police arrested the alleged illegal mine manager Paul Boshoff and seized most of the assets at the farm and processing plant.
Boshoff appeared in court the next day and his case was postponed to February 16 in the Carolina magistrate’s court.
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