Tendele Coal Mining operates an anthracite mine about 85km north-east of Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Back in 2007 the company decided, without being coerced into doing so, to make a meaningful contribution to the lives of the Mpukunyoni people on whose land its Somkhele mine is located.

The first step was to establish the Mpukunyoni Development Company in conjunction with the Mpukunyoni Mining Committee. The aim was to provide people with jobs, skills and basic business acumen in the hope that those who are empowered this way will endeavour to help develop others in the community.

Then, in March 2011, an opportunity was identified to enable the community to create and develop a brickmaking operation to facilitate building in the community and surrounding area. A Hydraform M7MI blockmaking machine and a crusher were procured for the project, together with the requisite training for members of the community.

Most importantly, the resulting project allows the community to become an active participant in the production and building process. This fosters a sense of awareness and pride as many largely unskilled men and women are empowered to earn an income and support their families.