The World Health Organization is collecting hair samples west of Johannesburg to see if residents are suffering from excessive uranium pollution due to ore dumps from 130 years of gold mining.
The Geneva-based United Nations unit will analyze hair samples from about 1,600 people living in neighborhoods near mine-waste dumps, mainly west of Johannesburg, it said in an e-mailed response to questions. Uranium, which can cause cancer, can be ingested through drinking contaminated water or inhaling dust.
South African minister of water and sanitation announced earlier in the month that her department was ready to implement a long term strategy to deal with acid mine drainage. The acid has been a source of pollution known to gold miners and activists for over 100 years. Angelo Coppola of CCTV has more.
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At Blyvooruitzicht, a 77-year-old gold mine southwest of Johannesburg, almost everything had been stolen except gold-bearing ore in the looting after the operation was closed in 2013.
Now, New York University graduates Bastiat Viljoen, 31, and his brother Dane, who was an intern at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., want to revive the ailing mine, which they say may contain 9 million ounces of gold, worth almost $11 billion at current prices. They are partly financed by South African mining entrepreneur Peter Skeat.
The department of mineral resources has been left with a R30-billion rehabilitation bill to clean up the damage left by failed mining firms.
Residents of Blyvoor were this week still not sure what their future would bring.
According to Blyvoor's provisional liquidator, Mr Leigh Roering, the mine's liquidation is set to be finalised towards the end of May, despite the fact that some administration would still have to be done after this time. At this stage only the mine's No. 5 rock stock pile and the assets of Shaft no. 2 still need to be sold.
The case of the inactive Blyvooruitzicht (Blyvoor) gold mine, in Gauteng, highlights the need for clarity on the situation where mines are not ownerless or abandoned, but are nonetheless not operational, states the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). SAHRC research associate Angela Kariuki says that, in situations such as at Blyvoor, there is no access control, the mine is not being monitored, nor is it being effectively managed. Article based on presentations delivered at the Nuclearisation of Africa Symposium.
Two women wage a daily struggle against toxic dust entering their homes and lungs, the legacy of mining on the West Rand, which yielded gold necklaces for some and bleeding sinuses and kidney disease for others. By KYLA HERRMANNSEN for HEALTH-E NEWS.
Over a million Gauteng residents are exposed daily to high levels of uranium with some areas in the West Rand exceeding that of disaster zones from Chernobyl, site of the 1986 Ukrainian nuclear disaster.
A standoff between guards and illegal miners at one of South Africa's biggest gold mines this week erupted in a mini war, prompting fears of another Marikana.
Booby Jordan reports for Sunday Times
There are no environmental checks on Gauteng's emergency response to the mine drainage crisis, as polluted water seeps into rivers and land.
FSE’s Report on the Technische Universitat Bergakademie Freiberg Conference (programme) and the FSE’s Paper and Presentation on “Current Reclamation Of Historical Uraniferous Tailings Dams And Sand Dumps – Exacerbating The Mess Or Minimizing The Mining Footprint? Case Studies Within The Witwatersrand”.
The ground shudders and heaves, then slowly rips apart, pulling whatever is nearby — houses, trees, cars, factories — into a newly-formed, gaping hole.
It sounds like a scene from a science fiction film, but over the last several decades, this scenario has played out thousands of times — entirely unscripted — near South Africa’s largest city.