PMC Archaeological Sites

 The archaeological remains of Phalaborwa and the greater Phalaborwa Region are non-renewable diminishing cultural resources, and must be treated as assets.

It represents an exceptional and unique part of the cultural heritage of South Africa.

These cultural resources are significant due to their unique character.  They are the remains of communities whose life ways were based on metal (iron and copper) working.

This industrial complex, and the lifestyle of the metal workers who sustained this industry for one thousand years, is unequalled elsewhere in the prehistory of South Africa, Africa or any other region in the world.


The justification to improve the profile and the establishment of a cultural heritage register was submitted to the Board of Directors in 2003.

The approval also included the establishment of an electronic register, which would be accessible to all interested parties: In summary the motivation behind this was:

* Legal license to operate could be challenged if no sustainable plan was put in place.
* Such a programme would be appealing to share holders and ethical consumers.
* It would attract socially responsible investors.
* Would avoid third party claims of damage and other liabilities.
* Compliance with the Rio Tinto 5 Year Communities Plan in which register of cultural property is compulsory.

The plan includes:

Legal Frame work.
Management arrangements.
Rio Tinto’s commitment to sustainable development.

Advantage of having the register published on Palweb:

Accessibility to all interested parties.
Assist in management decisions when new projects are planned or existing infrastructure is expanded.
A living document which can be updated regular and cost effectively.
Transparent and effective management and monitoring of cultural heritage sites.