Exploring the Impacts of Mining on Tourism Growth and Local Sustainability: The Case of Mapungubwe Heritage Site, Limpopo, South Africa

Mining licenses in post‐apartheid South Africa are being granted by the ruling government in sensitive areas that are important tourism hubs and employment generators. Limited research has been conducted to understand mining impacts on protected environments and tourism sites. This paper will focus on the Mapungubwe World Heritage Site as a tourist attraction in Limpopo to shed light on how mining is impacting on the area and on tourism development and local sustainability. This paper examines the difficulties that have been encountered by the tourism destination and surrounding communities due to the mining licences granted. Semi‐structured interviews were conducted with key informants (communities, an employee at the heritage site and a government official) and are reported in this paper. We conclude that mining should not be allowed, with the need to rather safeguard the environment for cultural and environmental purposes. Stakeholder participation needs to be taken seriously by both the mining company and the government.
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