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  • GCRO

Drosscapes of the GCR

Research on mining activities, for the most part, looks at mining activities and their planning implications as they are today. However, limited research within the GCR has been conducted on the post-mining landscapes of the GCR. This project, initiated in 2019, attends to this lacuna, investigating the GCR’s spatial forms as consequences and/or “waste” products of the mining activities within this region. It builds on the Mining landscapes of the GCR (2018) research report, although through an alternative lens of the urban landscapes as dross and drawing inspiration from international studies which look at the post-mining landscape.

The project is framed within the political ecology perspective to create a fertile ground for explaining the interplay between mining and the urban landscape as well as the associated policy implications within the GCR. It then explores the historiography of the GCR’s post-mining landscapes, their locations, their economic, demographic, social, and environmental forms, the scholarly debates and policy work on them as well as issues around their restoration. To that end, the project will use visual, qualitative, quantitative and spatial data as well as policy materials. The main outputs from this project are expected to be a GCRO report and a journal paper.

The current work on the project is a research report. The first part of this output is a conceptual paper related to the description highlighted above. The final draft of the conceptual paper has been completed and has been used to inform the case study selection. A compilation of different case studies is currently being drafted. The case studies will provide grounded and theoretically informed insights into the state of post-mining landscapes in the GCR and their implications for urban, economic and infrastructural development.

Alongside this work, the project team is working with the Centre for Development Support (University of the Free State) in collaboration with the University of Queensland, on a project on mine closures. The project on mine closures is expected to result in a book on mine closure in South Africa. Additionally, the project team is also working with the Wits School of Architecture and Planning and TU Delft on a project investigating post-extractive sites and their impact on the Water Energy and Food nexus.

Key partners

Relevant WITS and UJ departments, Wits Mining Institute (WMI), Centre for Development Support: University of the Free State, Wits School of Architecture and Planning, TU Delft, government, mining companies and non-profit organisations.



Crous, C., Owen, J.R., Marais, L., Khanyile, S. and Kemp, D. (2020). Public disclosure of mine closures by listed South African mining companies. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management. [Online first]


On 27 January 2020, Ngaka Mosiane and Samkelisiwe Khanyile attended a workshop at the University of the Free State. The workshop was centered on presenting ongoing work and possible publications by the Mining Towns Research group.

On 29 September 2021, Samkelsiwe Khanyile attended and participated in a collaborative workshop on the impact of mine dust and water pollution on the children in Snakepark hosted by the Benchmarks Foundation.

On 06 - 07 April 2022, Samkelisiwe Khanyile attended the NRF-NWO joint kick-off workshop in relation to the project on post-extractive sites and their impact on the water energy and food nexus.

On 17 May 2022, Ngaka Mosiane and Samkelisiwe Khanyile attended a workshop on mine closure in South Africa.

On 04 - 08 July 2022, the GCRO project team attended a field trip with colleagues from Wits School of Architecture and TU Delft visiting mining sites around Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Free State.

Last updated: 04 October 2022.


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