FSE Comment on Joburg SDF

Written by  Friday, 05 December 2014 05:23
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Academics and the FSE consider residential townships, edible crop production and livestock grazing to be high risk land-uses for tailings storage facilities (TSFs), TSF footprints and areas within aqueous or aerial zone of influence of TSFs and metallurgical plants in South Africa. Failure by regulators and industry to agree on suitable ‘soft’ end land-uses and buffer zones could exacerbate liabilities for the City of Johannesburg by resulting in subsequent land-uses that are sub-economic or risky.

In order to address residual and latent impacts, we strongly recommend that the City of Johannesburg should adopt the precautionary approach and consider the following risks when determining its developmental framework:

  • The near certainty of contaminated water, which will require some form of decontamination treatment, decanting from closed underground mines, or from lower lying interconnected neighbouring mines;
  • The near certainty of sulphate, chloride, metal and NORM contamination of soils and sediments by seepage from unlined tailings storage facilities, tailings spillages and plant discharges, and the potential for contamination of downstream /downwind soils and sediments;
  • The near certainty of sulphate, chloride, metal and NORM contamination of surface water bodies and their sediments, and groundwater, by seepage from unlined tialings storage facilities, tailings spillages, plant discharges and underground workings. In  In addition, the potential contamination of surface soils overlying shallow polluted  groundwater via evaporative pathways during dry seasons;
  • The potential for slat, sulphate, chloride, metal and NORM contamination of corp soils irrigated with contaminated surface water or contaminated groundwater.
  • The concomitant loss of genetic / biodiversity and potentially ecosystem goods and services on disturbed, fragmented or polluted properties.
  • The potential for bioaccumulation of some metals and NORMs by flora and fauna;
  • The potential for exposure of fauna and humans to bioaccumulated pollutants.
  • The potential for acute and latent toxicity impacts of bioaccumulated pollutants on humans and the potential for radioactivity impacts form NORMS on humans;
  • The potential for human disease as a result of exposure to windblown dust from Tailings Storage Facilities;
  • The potential for structural damage to buildings and other structures, and human injury, by mining exacerbated seismicity.
  • In dolomitic regions, the potential for structural damage to buildings and other structures, and human injury, by mining exacerbated sinkhole formation.

The potential for uncontrolled future land uses on or within the zone of influence of tailings storage facilities, footprints and mineral processing facilities, such as human settlement and recreation, food crops and home vegetable gardens, livestock grazing and informal re-mining or scavenging, all of which are incompatible with safety and the fragile status of lands under rehabilitation, and could exacerbate liabilities for the state post closure.



The FSE, in association with Gold Fields’ South Deep Mine, donated 40 white Karee Trees (Searsia penduline) during Arbor Week to the mining affected community of Simunye in the West Rand and participated in the tree planting ceremony with the community of Simunye, the local Municipality and officials from South Deep Mine.  The FSE also delivered a presentation during the ceremony.

"Varkies" gou op hok, maar als nie pluis | Beeld

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WITS Economics & Finance Courses: Mining for Development: The Taxation Linkage

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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The SDGs are spearheaded by the United Nations through a deliberative process involving its 193 Member States. The SDGs are a set of 17 “Global Goals” with 169 targets between them, covering a broad range of sustainable development issues.  These include ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, making cities more sustainable, combating climate change and protecting oceans and forests. The SDGs were endorsed by all Heads of State, including South Africa, who authorized it “without any reservations” on 25 September 2015. The commitment was reconfirmed by the former President during World Water Week (March 2017),  which took place in South Africa, and he also called for urgent action. Goal 6 is to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030. The FSE is a member of the Water and Sanitation Sector Leadership Group (WSSLG) Sustainable Development Goal 6 Task Team. The attached presentation, which was presented by the Leader of the SDG6 Task team, Mr Mark Bannister has identified significant gaps. A summary of the gaps is attached hereto. The SDG Programme informs relevant ‘vehicles’ such as the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan (NW&SMP) to translate these Gaps into Actions that can be implemented by the Sector, towards the 2030 objectives.  However, although these actions have been identified in the NW&SMP, most of these Actions have not been implemented.  It is doubtful that South Africa will achieve the 8 targets of the SDG6 by 2030. View the SDG 6_Consolidated Gap_Action_2020 document here.View the FSE SUMMARY OF GAPS SDG6 TARGETS document here.