by Zwanga Mukhuthu of M&G
Fears that a facility to treat acid mine drainage could contaminate plants, animals and people. Government is forging ahead with a R1-billion project for the treatment of acid mine drainage in Ekurhuleni – despite a fierce backlash by residents and environmental experts over the millions of cubic metres of toxic, and possibly radioactive, sludge the project will churn out.
An environmental and civil rights group has implicated a West Rand-based gold mining company in several alleged contraventions of environmental legislation.
A mammoth new plant is nearly ready to treat toxic water. A hundred tons of lime a day and a " hell of a lot" of electricity. This is some of what it will take to power the biggest acid mine drainage (AMD) plant of its kind in South Africa and the continent.
CHANTAL Whiller and her husband did their homework before they moved their family to an upmarket country estate at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.
Whiller’s husband, who worked on the mines in Welkom, had heard about the toxic and potentially radioactive acid mine drainage (AMD) seeping into the Cradle from the Witwatersrand’s abandoned goldfields.
“He took satellite photos and had our water tested,” remembers Whiller. “Everything was fine – that’s why we bought here.”
The FSE is of the firm opinion that many persons and companies want to financially profit from the current situation. This is resulting in failure to holistically identify and manage the AMD impacts and challenges. The reason might partly be that the situation is a political problem as well.
BY MARTIN PLAUT
BY MARTIN PLAUT
Johannesburg – the city of gold – is facing a pollution crisis that could threaten its very existence.
South African officials report that in late 2013 the water on which the city depends will become contaminated, unless immediate measures are taken. It is a threat, warned Professor Terence S. McCarthy, of the School of Geosciences, at University of the Witwatersrand, that could affect the Orange and Limpopo river systems.
The discovery of gold changed the fortunes of those who made Johannesburg their home. But 120 years later, abandoned gold mines on the West Rand have left a legacy of pollution that is threatening the security of the water supply. This pollution has also destroyed agricultural land and led to premature deaths and miscarriages in animals at a nearby game reserve.
The history of the gold mining industry is surrounded by no obscurity. 120 years of non-internalised negative externalities have resulted in a legacy of polluted surface- and groundwater, Acid Mine Drainage (AMD), air pollution, degraded land, gaping holes in the ground and un-enriched and disrupted communities.
Government's newly released report on acid mine drainage and the budget allocated to deal with it has had a lukewarm response from environmentalists.
Mariette Liefferink calls it the smell of death. And after all the years she has spent fighting mining pollution, the environmental activist doesn’t even gag at the strong stench of sulphur wafting from the old mining shaft behind her.
Palmietkuilen Coal Mining Project Rejected
The Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) has refused to grant permission for the proposed Palmietkuilen Coal Mining Project. The FSE with other interested and affected parties lodged an objection with the Department of Mineral Resources against the proposed open cast coal mine to be situated on the Palmietkuilen farm in Lesedi.
THE SAWC’S STATE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND SANITATION REPORT
THE FSE CONDUCTED A NUMBER OF NEWS MEDIA INTERVIEWS ON THE SAWC’S STATE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND SANITATION REPORT INTER ALIA SABC NEWS, IOL, CHANNEL AFRICA AND E.TV.
Lack of skills to manage water supply systems A DAMNING report published by the South African Water Caucus has revealed that the quality of the water drunk by South Africans has severely deteriorated and is now a cause for concern.
The South African Water Caucus (SAWC) today launched a report which exposes the dysfunction and institutional paralysis in the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS). The report is almost entirely based on publicly accessible information including Parliamentary Questions and Answers, Portfolio Committee meeting reports, information from access to information (PAIA) requests and media articles. However, importantly, it presents it in a single document which paints a particularly bleak picture for SA’s water institutions and hence water security.
MEDIA STATEMENT R10 BILLION OWED FOR WATER – CUTS LOOMING 22 November 2017 The Department of Water and Sanitation is issuing notices to at least 30 municipalities that its water supplies will be cut off, by Friday, 08 December 2017; should they fail to pay their water debt that has been outstanding for more than 60 days.
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.
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SOUTH Africans have to "change their mindsets" that they can't drink acid mine d...