Comments

Wonderfonteinspruit - the unaddressed questions

Written by  Tuesday, 09 April 2013 12:48
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Notwithstanding the establishment of the Wonderfonteinspruit Regulators Steering Committee on the 21st of December 2007 and  admirable intentions of the Wonderfonteinspruit Regulators Steering Committee to address an urgent environmental matter, and the honourable Minister's response, the following issues remain unaddressed at the time of writing:

 

  • Regular non-compliance by the Mines of the directives brought by the DWAF and the NNR with no enforcement regarding non-compliance.
  • The Wonderfonteinspruit Regulators Steering Committee’s expressed intention “the mines will be approached to contribute financially towards the remedial work to be done as per the findings of the team of experts”.
  • The call to the Minister of Minerals and Energy for the Constitution of the FWRDWA to be amended to deal with current and future circumstances in its area of responsibility and liability  and to intervene in the dissolution of the FWRDWA (a legal instrument which was created to deal with dewatering and rewatering issues within the Far West Rand).
  • Request for access to the archival  material of the FWRDWA, which is currently incomplete and poorly managed.  The archival material of the FWRDWA will undoubtedly assist in the apportionment of responsibility and liability.
  • The posture in which the issuing of water use licenses is currently standing.  This matter has been left in abeyance since 1998.  The issuing of water licenses has become imperative in view of inequities in water allocation. The use of water by the gold mining industry is prioritized.  Mining companies are visibly polluting ground and surface water with impunity while local communities go without.
  • The site locations of the priority hotspots.  It is assumed that the hotspots correspond to the contaminated sites identified by the NNR’s Screening Assessment, entitled Radiological Impacts of the Mining Activities to the Public in the Wonderfonteinspruit Catchment Area.

And,

  • Pursuant to the outcome of the screening assessment, the NNR issued directives to the holders operating in the vicinity of the WCA to inter alia to:
  • Immediately conduct a comprehensive investigation in order to determine the full extent of the radioactive contamination arising from mining operations over the WCA and provide a report to the NNR with respect to the findings of such an investigation.
  • Provide a plan of action for the immediate control of the area to prevent exposure to members of the public.
  • Review and update their environmental monitoring programme in light of the indications of radioactive contamination in the WCA.
  • Provide the NNR with a schedule for the review and update the Public Hazard Assessment of the mine, taking into account the leading exposure pathways as identified through the study. 

In terms of the NNR Status Report, dated the 29th October, 2007, the holders have not adequately responded to the directives as required by the NNR. To substantiate:

The NNR directed:

Conduct a comprehensive investigation in order to determine the full extent of the radioactive contamination arising from mining operations and provide a report to the NNR.

The Response:

Not all the holders submitted the required reports. Of the submitted reports, there is a clear indication that a comprehensive assessment need to be done as little additional information was provided.

The NNR directed:

Restrict access of the animals and the public or use of water for irrigation purposes to the identified sites, while further investigations were being carried out.

The Response:

Widespread watering of cattle, irrigation of crops and use of water for recreation and spiritual rituals are continuing.

The NNR directed:

Review and update  environmental monitoring plans in light of the indications of radioactive contamination in the WCA.

The Response:

No reports were provided.

The NNR directed:

Provide a schedule to review and update the Public Hazard Assessment (PHA) of the mine, taking into account the leading pathways as identified through the study.

The Response:

No schedule was provided for the review of the PHAs.

SUBMITTED BY: MARIETTE LIEFFERINK
CEO: FEDERATION FOR A SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT
DATE: 8TH APRIL, 2008

MINING

It’s all about the money

The hazardous mining by-product raises two questions – who’s to blame and who should pay. The acid mine drainage crisis is going to cost someone a lot of money, but probably not the people who caused it. The “polluter pays” principle was next to impossible to apply to the acid mine drainage problem in a retrospective way, said Marius Keet, chief director for mine water management at the department of water and sanitation.

Down in the dumps, there's hope

"WHERE there's waste, there's opportunity," said mining hydrologist Kym Morton, ...

Fokus reports on Coal Mine east of Springs

SABC's Fokus of 23 July 2017 addresses the planned Palmietkuilen coal mine east ...

SA NEWS

Addressing waste and pollution of the past

The Federation for a Sustainable Environment is proud to announce the launch of the booklet titled “Rehabilitation of Mine Contaminated Eco-Systems. A Contribution to a Just Transition to a Low Carbon Economy to Combat Unemployment and Climate Change” by Mariette Liefferink of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE). The booklet was commissioned by the Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) in collaboration with the Friedrick Ebert Stiftung.

Nuwe myn ‘sal duisende hul huise kos’

Byna 10 000 mense sal verskuif moet word as Anglo Operations Ltd en Canyon Coal hul sin kry om ’n massiewe oopgroefsteenkoolmyn oos van Springs te begin.

SA coal mines leave legacy of ruin

Johannesburg - A 19-month data investigation of mine closures indicates that since at least 2011 no large coal mines operating in South Africa have been granted closure.

Besoedelingklagte: Mynbase daag nie by hof op

Drie direkteure van die Blyvooruitzicht- en Village Main Reef-goudmyn buite ­Carletonville kan ’n boete van tot R10 miljoen of tien jaar tronkstraf opgelê word weens die beweerde besoedeling en agteruitgang van die omgewing.

WATER

Coalition defending Mpumalanga water source area

Last week, the coalition of eight civil society and community organisations that has been resisting the proposed coal mine inside a protected area and strategic water source area in Mpumalanga launched further proceedings in the Pretoria High Court.

Project to heal polluted river . System will·create stream·of jobs

THE POTENTIAL to create 100 climate jobs and to help : bring a "dead river syste...

'Mine Water can be treated, safe'

SOUTH Africans have to "change their mindsets" that they can't drink acid mine d...