Nuclear News

Acid sludge poses a serious risk to Gauteng

Written by  Sunday, 27 November 2011 07:36
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Soweto, Johannesburg - Thousands of people face evacuation from greater Johannesburg in the Gauteng province - the economic heartland of South Africa - due to toxic sludge from abandoned gold mines laced with high radiation levels.

Acid mine water, the result of groundwater flowing through underground shafts, is decanting from an old uranium mine and rising by half a metre a day beneath the city of 7 million people. Mass evacuation of informal settlements is one of several recommendations in a government-commissioned plan drafted in June to deal with 380 acid mine dumps - many of them radioactive.

Uranium is often mined as a byproduct of gold in South Africa and it is estimated that some 800 kilometres of tunnels exist underneath Gauteng left over from more than century of underground mining.

Business Times reported on Saturday a peer-reviewed report by Anthony Turton, a prominent South African water scientist, reveals that radiation levels at Tudor Shaft suggest that the country faces a localized environmental crisis that can be compared to Chernobyl.

The Mail & Guardian reported last week the acid mine drainage is coming back to burn the industry now. The mining companies have put together a R70 million ($9 million) project and appointed a cost-recovery company to solve the legacy problem and help provide extra potable water in the Gauteng province.

Johannesburg is one of the 40 largest metropolitan areas in the world, and is also the world's largest city not situated on a river, lake, or coastline. South Africa accounted for 12% of the world's gold production in 2005, though the nation had produced as much as 30% of world output as recently as 1993. Almost 50% of the world's gold reserves are found in South Africa according to the US Geological Survey.

The Top Star mine dump was constructed from 1899 to 1939, reaching a height of 50 meters and containing 5.1 million metric tons of chemically processed mine waste. In the early 1960s, Top Star was converted into a drive-in movie theater, which showed movies until 2006, when it was shut down by DRD Gold to extract latent gold in the mine waste. The mine dump's dramatic height within Johannesburg's urban core offered spectacular views of the Central Business District.

SA NEWS

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.

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

Article also available for download as an attachment.

Radon Alert - Carte Blanche

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.

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

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.

WATER

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.