The Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development rolled out a five-year plan for the management of Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) in the province.
During a press conference the MEC of the department Nandi Mayathula-Khoza together with the Mogale City Mayoer, Councillor Koketso Calvin Seerane addressed numerous members of the media abotu their plan of action.
AMD is produced when sulfide-bearing material is exposed to oxygen and water – ususally, but not exclusively, in iron sulfide bearing rocks. Although this process occurs naturally the mining promotes AMD formation simply by increasing the quantity of sulfides exposed. It is the most difficult mine-waste problem to address and emanates from surface and underground workings, waste and development rocl, tailings piles and ponds.
The MEC thanked the Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE) and environmentalists fro bringing this problem to the province’s attention.
“Even though this is not really our problem, we [government] will deal with it together with the experts by allocating funds and conducting this lpan with national government,” said Mayathula-Khoza.
Of the three basins in Gauteng identified with AMD, the western basin is the smallest. The MEC acknowledged that those who were responsible for this mess should be held accountable for the clean-up, but they were long gone and taxpayers were footing the bill.
On the upside, this clean-up project will create jobs and mining institutions of today are learning a great lesson regarding the future of mining.
After the MEC delivered her statement the floor was opened for questions. Two prominent questions were raised: why is government only acting now and how much does it cost to clean up this problem?
Answers given were that government needed time to research and address the situation, and that it was not possible to predict how much this plan would cost the taxpayer.
After the conference the media had the opportunity to visit one of the affected sites located in the [Krugerdorp] game reserve.