Canteen Kopje is a low rise outside the town of Barkly West in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. It is an archaeological site of national and international significance. On March 16, 2016 illegal mining began on this site under permit from the Department of Mineral Resources but without permit from the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA). Canteen Kopje was declared and gazetted as a protected National Monument in 1948. There is a clearly delineated protected area and all other parts of the site beyond the protected core area have already been destroyed by mining.
In 2015 the Sol Plaatje University began a field school at Canteen Kopje in collaboration with the University of Toronto and the McGregor Museum. This field school provides a unique training opportunity and an opportunity for students to engage with the physical remains of their heritage.
The mining of Canteen Kopje will result in the irreversible destruction of an invaluable cultural and scientific resource and will rob future generations of their proper legacy. Mining a declared Heritage Site also sets a precedent that imperils all South African archaeological sites.
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