Another year is almost over, a eventful year for FSE. A year full of tours and community engagements, challenges of water pollution and mine closures. Bringing knowledge and transparency to the public. Some awards and media interviews.
This booklet makes the case for a project to address the waste and pollution legacy of mining in the Witwatersrand basin, with a clear linkage between the potential for revenue generation through materials reclamation and comprehensively addressing the entire rehabilitation challenge, with the participation of all stakeholders. It sketches the background and the extent of the challenge, the legislative and regulatory context and the imperatives for urgent action, then focuses in on the Tweelopiespruit wetlands area for a potential pilot project.
The Federation for a Sustainable Environment conduct regular tours to the West Rand Gold Fields. This group included representatives from Business Leadership SA and SAIMechE.
Over the past years we have had the pleasure of watching a greater measure transparency, honesty and openness in the mining industry and the publishing of Regulations calling for easier access by the public to Environmental Management Programme Reports, Audit Reports, Water Use Licenses, closure plans and financial provisions.
The Federation for a Sustainable Environment's (FSE) position on the re-mining and consolidation of poorly managed, poorly constructed and poorly monitored historical tailings storage facilities, which are significant sources of water and windblown dust pollution, has been published in a number of academic papers, government reports and comments and response reports.
While the FSE recognises the importance of mining in South Africa, it is also sober to the fact that mining has the potential for significant negative impacts on the environment. As early as 1987, the US Environmental Protection Agency recognised that .....problems related to mining waste may be rated as second only to global warming and stratospheric ozone depletion in terms of ecological risk. The release to the environment of mining waste can result in profound, generally irreversible destruction of ecosystems.â€
The Federation for a Sustainable Environment continues to engage on Pilansberg issues, including sense of place, water, compliance, mining, eco-tourism, tourism, enviornmental management framework, biodiversity and regional impacts.
Gold mines produced more than 270 tailings storage facilities and the rehabilitation of these facilities can be complex and the results misleading if measures only in the short term.
"It is not uncommon for African governments to exploit the poor and marginalized for perceived gains in the interest of the strong multinational companies and a few local beneficiaries.
"Endowed with vast natural resources such as wild animals, unique flora and fauna, rivers, lakes and minerals such as copper, uranium, zinc, diamonds and silver to mention but a few, many governments in Africa, rather than improving the lives of their citizens end up piling misery on the vulnerable in society.
"Take the mining of uranium for instance. It holds so much promise on the face of it but deep down the layers of reality, one sees that only multinational companies, corrupt government officials among
them, only a token few locals benefit from its exploitation."
Download the report.
A critical evaluation of the challenges facing dust management within gold mining regions of South Africa by JJ Martins
"...the biggest challenge within this area is that neither districts nor gold mines receive any assistance nor do they report to government with regards to their dust management programme. This poses a challenge as it limits both the districtâ€Ÿs and gold mines â€Ÿability to enforce and improve their dust management programmes. The lack of use of information provided by interested and affected parties (Paragraph 4.3.8) within the dust management plan of both the district and gold mines is a major challenge as deposition-dust regulations were initiated to protect the public and their property ... in the first place. The biggest challenge, however, as identified in the study for this focus area is the lack of specialist involvement in dust management plans and programmes of both districts and gold mines ... There are, however, implications regarding the capacity of consultants rendering services as air-quality specialists ....). It is the view of the author that when it comes to using consultants a clear distinction should be made between dust management and monitoring as the necessary qualifications relevant to each of the areas are totally different. It was confirmed by questionnaires to specialists ... that there is a general lack of scientific knowledge within dust management. It is furthermore the author's view that to render air-quality services specifically pertaining to monitoring one should at least have a tertiary qualification in science."
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.
THE POTENTIAL to create 100 climate jobs and to help : bring a "dead river syste...
SOUTH Africans have to "change their mindsets" that they can't drink acid mine d...