Mine Water Pollution

1987: “..problems related to mining waste may be rated as second only to global warming…mining waste can result in profound, generally irreversible destruction of ecosystems”

~ expert assessment from Environmental Protection Agency, 1987

2003: “…the groundwater in the mining district of Johannesburg, South Africa, is heavily contaminated and acidified….The polluted groundwater is discharging into streams in the area and contributes up to 20 % of the stream flow, causing an increase the acidity of the stream water. The effect of the
contaminated water from the mines can persist for more than 10 km beyond the source”

~ Naiker study, 2003 “Acid mine drainage from gold mining activities in Johannesburg, South Africa and environs”

A paper has been prepared for the Department of Environment and Tourism in preparation for the next state of the environment reporting cycle. The paper addresses mine water pollution and the “emerging issues” related to acid mine decant, effluent and treatment.

The report states “Specific water quality problems that are highlighted in the South Africa Environment Outlook Report (DEAT, 2006) include salinity and acidification. Acidification is directly related to mining, while mining is but one contributing factor leading to increased salinity (DEAT, 2006). The effect of mining on the environment includes the release of many chemical contaminants into water resources, environmental damage that can persist for a long after mine closure, and the health and safety of nearby ommunities being compromised”

Download the paper here (124kb) .


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