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Kusile coal-fired Power Station protest, South Africa

One of the world's four largest coal-fired Power Stations, the Kusile Powerplant, sparks protests over its environmental impacts.


The Kusile power station is a coal-fired power plant project sponsored by the South African state electricity utility Eskom. Originally, Eskom proposed a plant consisting of six 900 MW coal-fired generating units, adding up to a total generating capacity of 5,400 MW.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Kusile coal-fired Power Station protest, South Africa
Country:South Africa
State or province:Mpumalanga Province
Location of conflict:Hartbeesfontein and Klipfontein farms, Nkangala District
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Coal extraction and processing
Thermal power plants
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The proposed Kusile coal-fired power station was originally proposed to hold six 900 MW coal-fired generating units, guaranteeing a generating capacity of 5,400 MW. By August 2008 however, the total capacity has been reduced to 4,800 MW.

Project area: 1,355 hectares
Level of Investment:approx. 10,140,990,630 USD
Type of populationUnknown
Affected Population:Approx. 219,403 (according to Greenpeace report 2011)
Start of the conflict:01/03/2006
End of the conflict:01/12/2011
Company names or state enterprises:ESKOM from South Africa
Alstom from France
International and Finance InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Greenpeace Africa:
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Although the protests have stirred the debate about coal in South Africa and have contributed to a delay in construction of the Kusile coal-fired power station, the project is still under construction and the first unit synchronisation of Kusile Unit 1 is now scheduled for the first half of 2017.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

The Center for Media and Democracy, Kusile Power Station, SourceWatch Database,
[click to view]

Business Enterprises, University of Pretoria (Pty) Ltd, (2011), The External Cost of Coal-Fired Power Generation: The case of Kusile, Prepared by Business Enterprises at University of Pretoria (Pty) Ltd for Greenpeace Africa and Greenpeace International, 29 September 2011,
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Kusile Power Station Project, ESKOM Homepage,
[click to view]

Greenpeace stages protest at South African coal power station, Associated Press, The Guardian, 7 November 2011,
[click to view]

Greenpeace Protests South African Coal Power Station, by Donna Bryson, Associated Press, Huffington Post, 7 November 2011,
[click to view]

Kusile coal power plant, South Africa,, April 2011,
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Protest at coal power station, Multimedia South Africa, news24,
[click to view]

Top 10: Pics from Kusile Action, Greenpeace Africa,
[click to view]

Other documents

The construction site for Eskom's Kusile power plant near eMalahleni, Mpumalanga. 17 January 2015 eNCA/Bianca Bothma
[click to view]

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Last update19/09/2015
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