Water News

Environmental group threatens to sue authority if acid mine drainage not cleaned up

Written by  Sheree Bega Monday, 20 February 2012 01:50
Rate this item
(0 votes)

The Federation for a Sustainable Environment will sue the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) if it doesn't start cleaning up the acid mine drainage (AMD) poisoning the Witwatersrand.


The environmental group wants desalination to be included in the AMD clean up process because the TCTA's option of neutralising AMD will "amount to pollution, degradation, and damage to the environment." It has criticised the TCTA for failing to involve the public in decision-making.
"The proposed neutralisation (high density sludge) of AMD as a short term and immediate address is not best practice, it is ineffective and will result in adverse impacts upon the ecology and downstream water users and uses," said Mariette Liefferink of the federation. "It's simply a money issue since insufficient funds have been made available by the government for the effective treatment of AMD."
The federation says the neutralisation process is "defective and was reached without consultation and input from experts in the field and the public..."
The TCTA have added the gypsum process, which involves using lime to neutralise the acidity of the water and remove toxic heavy metals, despite this not being recommended in the final draft report by the government appointed team of experts that investigated the AMD crisis affecting the Witwatersrand's mining basins.
Nigel Roussouw, of the TCTA's environment department, said it was studying the letter from the LRC.
The TCTA is upgrading an existing treatment plant at Rand Uranium / Gold 1 to pump and partially treat 36 million litres of AMD pouring daily out of the flooded Western Basin by next month, and hopes to build a new treatment plant to augment capacity later this year, but is still awaiting funding from Water Affairs.
But tempers are rising. At a special Western Basin Void Decant meeting this week, Stephan du Toit, a senior Mogale City environmental official, said the government and the TCTA had given no thought to the rehabilitation needed after neutralisation, which had worsened conditions in the Tweelopiespruit system.
The neutralisation process causes the heavy metals in the AMD to precipitate out of the water, but does not remove the high levels of sulphates, which flow untreated into waterways.
"What we've seen now is the total ecological destruction of the Tweelopiespruit system."
At the meeting, government officials said while neutralisation was not the ideal treatment, it was a "useful first step" .
Judith Taylor of Earthlife Africa, said communities were paying for pollution.
"We're seeing children with skin lesions and brain damage, TB and they are not HIV-positive."

MINING

It’s all about the money

The hazardous mining by-product raises two questions – who’s to blame and who should pay. The acid mine drainage crisis is going to cost someone a lot of money, but probably not the people who caused it. The “polluter pays” principle was next to impossible to apply to the acid mine drainage problem in a retrospective way, said Marius Keet, chief director for mine water management at the department of water and sanitation.

Down in the dumps, there's hope

"WHERE there's waste, there's opportunity," said mining hydrologist Kym Morton, ...

Fokus reports on Coal Mine east of Springs

SABC's Fokus of 23 July 2017 addresses the planned Palmietkuilen coal mine east ...

SA NEWS

Addressing waste and pollution of the past

The Federation for a Sustainable Environment is proud to announce the launch of the booklet titled “Rehabilitation of Mine Contaminated Eco-Systems. A Contribution to a Just Transition to a Low Carbon Economy to Combat Unemployment and Climate Change” by Mariette Liefferink of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE). The booklet was commissioned by the Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) in collaboration with the Friedrick Ebert Stiftung.

Nuwe myn ‘sal duisende hul huise kos’

Byna 10 000 mense sal verskuif moet word as Anglo Operations Ltd en Canyon Coal hul sin kry om ’n massiewe oopgroefsteenkoolmyn oos van Springs te begin.

SA coal mines leave legacy of ruin

Johannesburg - A 19-month data investigation of mine closures indicates that since at least 2011 no large coal mines operating in South Africa have been granted closure.

Besoedelingklagte: Mynbase daag nie by hof op

Drie direkteure van die Blyvooruitzicht- en Village Main Reef-goudmyn buite ­Carletonville kan ’n boete van tot R10 miljoen of tien jaar tronkstraf opgelê word weens die beweerde besoedeling en agteruitgang van die omgewing.

WATER

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.

Project to heal polluted river . System will·create stream·of jobs

THE POTENTIAL to create 100 climate jobs and to help : bring a "dead river syste...

'Mine Water can be treated, safe'

SOUTH Africans have to "change their mindsets" that they can't drink acid mine d...