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In response to strike, we don't strike-out!

On Thursday May 11th, the UBC Mining graduates departed for Phalaborwa. The iconic Palabora Mine is located in Phalaborwa, Limpopo province, South Africa. Palabora is a current underground block-caving copper operation. It is a converted open-pit operation with the open cast mine recording the widest man-made hole for all of Africa at 2,000 m wide. The Palabora Mining Company Limited also operates processing facilities that produce a copper product of copper cathodes and copper rods. Our group was excited to continue our underground operations exposure but now with a copper focus for the tour on Day 5.

However, our plan was faced with adversity on Day 5. Unfortunately, a labour dispute and mine strike resulted in the cancellation of the planned activities. Further research into the current legal strike of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) began on May 3rd. On May 4th, AMCU members aggressively blocked the exit and exit routes of the mine trapping approximately 1,500 employees inside. Workers were released that night but emergency procedures were further utilized, halting mining operations. The dispute involves the disagreement over pay increase rates, and negotiations are still underway.

With an open day in the schedule, our group made the best of the situation by visiting a few national treasures on our way to Hazyview, where our next activities are planned to take place. We first stopped at Blyde River Canyon. With the record of 3rd deepest gorge in the world, the canyon offered breathtaking views.

We then continued on to the Potholes. The Blyde and Treur River meet at this geological wonder which carve fascinating features in the rock. Our final stop before reaching Hazyview was at God’s View. We were once again spoiled with an outstanding view of the landscape and surrounding terrain.

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