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.
View the FSE's comments here....
Re-discovering Water Roots: the Consequences of Nickel Mine Prospecting in the Groot Marico River Region, South Africa
Research project attached for download....
FSE - DONATION OF TREES AND TREE PLANTING IN SIMUNYE, WEST RAND IN ASSOCIATION WITH SOUTH DEEP MINE
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.
Article also available for download as an attachment.
Millions of South Africans are exposed to radioactive radon gas in their homes and workplaces every day, as the naturally occurring gas escapes through cracks in the earth. The second leading cause of lung cancer in several countries, radon breaks down and when inhaled, decaying atoms emit alpha radiation that can damage the DNA. There are no safe levels of radon concentration. The United States Environmental Protection Agency emphasises any radon exposure has some risk of causing lung cancer. Carte Blanche investigates why South Africa has no regulations to protect against radon accumulation in the home and what you can do to test your home and prevent lung cancer. Watch the video here.
Economics & Finance Courses at the University of the Witwatersrand. Mining for Development: The Taxation Linkage - Understand taxation for development and sustainability in mining. View the course here. Enrolment starts on the 7th of October 2019.
SDG6: AVAILABILITY AND SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF WATER AND SANITATION FOR ALL BY 2030 - GAPS
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.
View the final report here....
FSE’s presentation to the Water and Sanitation Sector Leadership Group’s (WSSLG)* Sustainable Development Goal 6 Task Team on Thursday, the 26th of November 2020.
*The Water and Sanitation Sector Leadership Group (WSSLG) is the highest non-sta...