Water News

Acid mine plan underwhelms

Written by  Times Live - LUCKY BIYASE Monday, 28 February 2011 15:07
Rate this item
(0 votes)

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, chief executive of the Federation for Sustainable Environment, among the first NGO's to blow the whistle on the water crisis, lambasted the report for permitting the discharge of partially treated water into rivers.
"Are we going to allow the mining industry to pollute rivers until a solution that is cheaper for them is found?," asked Liefferink. "Are we going to allow the department of water affairs to make this legal? Are we going to allow the government to forsake the 'polluter pays' principle?"
She said the budget for dealing with the problem was "extremely modest".
Finance minister Pravin Gordhan set aside R225-million in his budget to tackle the problem.
Melissa Fourie, chief executive of the Centre for Environmental Rights, said the situation on the Witwatersrand "calls for immediate action".
Her organisation backed the department of water affairs issuing notices to mining companies under the national water act.
She said: "We specifically welcome efforts to hold mining companies who contributed to the pollution in the past accountable. However, the department of water affairs has issued a number of weak but fiercely resisted directives to mining companies in the past few years to bear the cost of pumping and treating decanting acid mine drainage.
Some directives allowed mining companies to discharge partially treated, still heavily polluted, acid mine drainage into rivers and streams. Even these weak directives have been challenged and sometimes ignored by mining companies. The department must be prepared to take more stringent action ..."
Water affairs minister Edna Molewa said: "Pumping and treatment of mine water is critical and should be implemented in the western, central and eastern basins as a matter of urgency.
Although the partial treatment of mine water to neutralise acidity and remove metals will be accepted in the short-term, it is important that in the medium to long term mine water needs to be treated to a quality suitable for direct or indirect use."

Times Live - LUCKY BIYASE

MINING

Ransacked Gold Mine Venture Reboots

South African mining veteran Peter Skeat is pressing ahead with plans to squeeze more gold out of an 80-year-old ransacked gold mine west of Johannesburg after settling a dispute with three former partners.

Coal Mines leave a legacy of ruin

Oxpeckers publishes never-before-seen data exposing the lack of mine closures, d...

Tours of West Rand gold fields

The FSE conducts regular tours with interested and affected parties, of the West...

SA NEWS

LLM/MPhil in Environmental Law Programme launched

  The Department of Public Law at the University of Pretoria hosted a launch of its LLM and MPhil programmes in Environmental Law, coordinated by Ms Melanie Murcott, Senior Lecturer, Environmental and Administrative Law, in February 2017.

Water Show

The FSE will be presenting at a keynote panel discussion at "The Water Show Africa" on the 29th of March.

Lauded for research on SA acid mine drainage

The launch of Acid mine drainage in South Africa: Development actors, policy impacts and broader implications, by Suvania Naidoo, took place on 10 February 2017. The book has proven to be a timely publication because of the incipient water crisis in South Africa. The event was hosted by Unisa’s Department of Development Studies in the College of Human Sciences. The guests were welcomed by the chair of the department, Prof Gretchen du Plessis, who expressed that “development studies is an ever-changing discipline and is a space where different issues converge”. She further stated that the book fills a void in our knowledge about acid mine drainage (AMD) and that the publication is “an example of hard work which results in big achievements”.

Truth of the dust that brings death

  A new hard-hitting report from Harvard Law School details how South Africa has failed to meet its human rights obligations concerning gold mining in and around Joburg. Bonnie Docherty, who led the research, spoke to Sheree Bega

WATER

Eastern Basin acid water plant is "sledgehammer"

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has used a "sledgehammer" for its R1bn treatment plant for acid mine drainage (AMD) on the Eastern mining basin that could ultimately create more toxic water.  This is the view of water strategy and consulting mining hydrologist Kym Morton, who believes government is "wasting money" by pumping large volumes of water and adding lime that makes it alkaline but still toxic and hazardous. 

SABC Health Talk, Environmental Health: 25 February 2017

Focus on preventing illness rather than incurring the expense of treatment....

Rand Water tightens the taps in Gauteng

In the Midvaal suburb where Sipho Mosai lives, the gardens are lush and green be...