This week an environmentalist opened criminal pollution charges against Blyvoor at the Police in Carletonville.
The environmentalist, Ms Mariette Liefferink, decided to take this step after the Herald as well as other media and environmentalists have been complaining for some time that the mine is polluting the environment.
Blyvoor’s previous owners, DRDGOLD, as well as the company Village Main Reef, which ran activities at the mine before it was liquidated towards the end of last year, is claimed to have been negligent in its running of the mine.
Photographs taken from an aeroplane, for instance, shows one of the slimes dams at Blyvoor does not have the necessary safety measures to stop pollution from taking place. Although the opening of a criminal case might look extreme, a mine in the area had previously acknowledged that it was guilty of criminal pollution. In another recent case a senior official of a clay mine in Limpopo received a suspended jail sentence after this mine also damaged the environment.
The catchment area of the Wonderfonteinspruit, which includes the Carletonville region, has been one of the places known for the worst mining pollution in the country.
Hopefully this week’s drastic action will make mines more adherent to legislation protecting the environment. As the government departments supposed to combat pollution seem to be failing in their task, maybe the threat of a personal jail sentence for mining officials might be the step that is needed to combat pollution.