A new billion rand coal mining initiative is set to alleviate unemployment and assist the poverty-ridden people of northern Zululand.
The signing of the deal between Mpisi Mining and the department of Minerals and Energy,, which is worth several millions of rand was sealed in Durban yesterday.
The deal will see thousands of unemployed people getting jobs.
Mpisi Mining was able to clinch the deal after receiving funding from an overseas company.
Two mines will be located in Ntambanana, outside Empangeni, and Okhukho, near Ulundi, where 25000 hectares of land will be used.
Cedric Xulu, owner of Mpisi Mining, said he was excited that the deal had finally come through. Xulu ventured into the mining industry in 2006, when he partnered with renowned soccer boss and business mogul Jomo Sono.
But he signed out of the partnership to start his own company and this is his first project.
When the mining commences, locals would be employed and tenders for local sub-contractors, including truck owners to deliver the coal, will start.
He said with many companies, firms and businesses closing down due to the economic recession, the deal was expected to go a long way to helping alleviate poverty in the areas.
Xulu said they would also identify young children who are doing geography and science in five areas under amakhosi whose areas form a boundary within which the mines are located.
"Once we have recruited them we will give them scholarships," he said.