W Krige

Expert opinion on situation in West Rand

W Krige

Mintails continue to contribute to the recharge (and subsequent decant from) of the Western Basin Mine Void water (by increasing the number of opencast areas through which recharge occurs), which [FSE] rightly say flow at about 20-30 Ml/day form the 17 and 18 Winze shaft areas. However, currently it is probably flowing at double that rate, due to the huge recharge surface area of the new opencast mine pits.

 

[…] no public participation process was followed during the authorisation of the decanting water by DWA, while no environmental impacts were addressed either. Although TCTA was appointed to look at the impacts on the downstream environment and downstream affected parties, they actually did not do anything whatsoever!

I am surprised that Mintails obtained the rights to mine through their new opencast mines without any public participation process reaching the affected populations who have to contend with the ever-increasing AMD water floodding their road and land. Surely, this should have been the very first flaw they should have addressed, the increase in the recharge of the Western Basin Mine void and the effects it would have on the downstream affected parties!

Have a look at the attached photographs [taken] around lunch-time today (30 March 2014). This is the condition of Malmani Rd at the point where the once dry Rietspruit crosses the road, several weeks after the heavy rains had stopped.

Malmani Road

AMD on Malmani Road

Malmani Rd serves about 170 farm portions. The residents/landowners are forced to maintain the road themselves. This would have not been a problem, had the AMD water decanting from the Western Basin gold mines not been there. However, as a result of the mine water, every rand contributed to the road maintenance fund by these residents ends up being used for road repairs at the Rietspruit crossing, leaving the rest of the road in a disgraceful state… residents have to drive their vehicles through this acid mine water on a daily basis. During the last flood (which is still continuing to flow as pure AMD, even though the rains had stopped weeks ago, several vehicles were swamped, costing the residents hundreds of thousands of rands! Had the AMD water not been flowing in the Rietspruit, the culverts under Malmani Rd would had coped with the floods.

W.G. Krige
African Environmental Development

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