The battle over uranium: Just how bad is it?

One of the most abundant heavy metals in the earth’s crust, uranium is a known radiological element and toxin. It is also a major by-product of gold mining, historically one of South Africa’s greatest economic undertakings. The country additionally began mining specifically for uranium in 1949, primarily for export to the United States and other […]

To decant, or not to decant? That is the question

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 […]

Rising water, rising fear: SA’s mining legacy

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 […]

Proactive environmental activism to promote the remediation of mined land and acid mine drainage: a success story from the South African goldfields

Abstract With more information on environmental research reports at the disposal of the general public, a new type of activism has been visible in South Africa since 2007. This new type of activism entailed, amongst others, a more informed activist empowered with more freedom of speech and a right to information (according to the rights […]

DWA Responds to DA’s questions on AMD

NATIONAL ASSEMBLYFOR WRITTEN REPLYQUESTION NO 386 DATE OF PUBLICATION IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER: 26 FEBRUARY 2010 (INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO. 4)386. Mr G R Morgan (DA) to ask the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs:(1)(a) What are the current locations where acid mine water is decanting in Gauteng, (b) into which water courses are they […]

Communities divided: Central Rand Gold the culprit?

The history of the gold mining industry is surrounded by no obscurity. 120 years of non-internalised negative externalities have resulted in a legacy of polluted surface- and groundwater, Acid Mine Drainage (AMD), air pollution, degraded land, gaping holes in the ground and un-enriched and disrupted communities.

Mine Dumps – Urgent Treatment Needed

Acid and metal polluted water poses a risk to all Gautengers The discovery of gold changed the fortunes of those who made Johannesburg their home. But 120 years later, abandoned gold mines on the West Rand have left a legacy of pollution that is threatening the security of the water supply. This pollution has also […]

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 […]

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