Water News

Ratings agency Moody’s Investor Service on Thursday warned that environmental factors, such as water scarcity, could adversely impact on the ratings of global mining companies if they failed to proactively manage the accompanying operational and political risks to their businesses.

Plea for Clean Water

Written by Saturday, 10 March 2012 02:00


Without clean water, there is no dignity. And that's why for Janet Love the acid mine drainage (AMD) crisis on the Witwatersrand's goldfields centres on the preservation of human rights.

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.

Environmental group Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE) and the Department of Water Affairs continue to trade accusations in the media over the alleged pollution of major water catchment areas in Gauteng, following an investigation carried out by The New Age.

Acid mine plan underwhelms

Written by Monday, 28 February 2011 17:07

Government's newly released report on acid mine drainage and the budget allocated to deal with it has had a lukewarm response from environmentalists.

"Among the many things that I learnt as president was the centrality of water in the social, political and economic affairs of the country, the continent and the world." These words were spoken by former president Nelson Mandela at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, 2002.

Despite its importance to development, human health, a thriving economy and a sustainable environment, the quality of South Africa's water is fast degrading. Already considered water stressed, the country is pegged to be water scarce by 2025. Naturally a semi-arid nation and the 30th driest country in the world, minimal water resources are being stretched by rising demands from an increasing population and growing industry, and further harmed by poor maintenance of human, agricultural, and industrial waste.

Concerns that Johannesburg and the Cradle of Humankind will soon be flooded with acid mine drainage (AMD) have been central to discussions on polluted mine water for months, with the public being worked up into a frenzy about the CBD sinking and South Africa's heritage being wiped out.

While a media storm has been created around these predictions, fuelled by worried activists and a reactionary government, estimations of both sites flooding are not as concrete as one might think. Some scientists and government officials note that Johannesburg will with no uncertainty be the next target, advocating action, while others claim the city faces a very minimal threat. Similar opinions surround potential affects on the Cradle.

Environmental activist Mariette Liefferink's four-inch crimson heels still sport their Woolworths sticker as they puncture the sulphuric crust lining Robinson Lake, situated in the Western Basin of the Witwatersrand.

The water is quiet, smells slightly of vinegar and laps gently against a shore devoid of any life save for a few, lone reeds. Behind the lake is a large, naked yellow mountain of mine waste adorned with a few small green nets meant to stop the dust from blowing in an incessant wind.

The current lime treatment of the uncontrolled AMD has resulted in the deposition of sludge in the first receptor dam within the Tweelopiespruit, part of the Crocodile River System and Limpopo Catchment.  This dam, the Hippo Dam, is outside mine property, located within the Krugersdorp Game Reserve.  The sludge contains toxic and radioactive heavy metals.

This document records a chronological timeline of Government efforts regarding the treatment of Acid Mine Drainage: West Rand goldfields.

Download here