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Aurora in trouble for polluting ground water

It is slowly but surely coming to the attention of the general public that the mining sector that plays a significant role in stabilising and growing the South African economy is doing it at a disastrous environmental cost to the country. The countries mineral wealth is being extracted and replaced with toxic chemical that will paralyse entire regions if the water in the area turns toxic.

Effective clean up efforts could run into the hundreds of millions shrinking the financial benefits of ever having mined for these minerals. Unfortunately many of the profits incurred form previous mining operations have already been payed out to the stakeholders, leaving insufficient fund for effective clean-up operations. With out sufficient clean-up action a toxic water supply could crippling much of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, Benoni, Boksburg, Springs, and Germiston) area.

This report form Times Live.

Grootvlei mine shaft

Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica has told Parliament that her department will take legal action against Aurora’s Grootvlei mine for failing to treat its waste water “before pumping it out into the adjacent wetlands”.

Responding to questions by Lance Greyling, of the Independent Democrats, Sonjica said the decision to institute legal proceedings was triggered by an investigation by her department that revealed that the Grootvlei mine had not complied with conditions stipulated in its licence agreement.

“My department has conducted several site visits to the Grootvlei mine in order to investigate the lack of treatment of the underground mine water.

“The site visits revealed that chemical treatment was either not taking place or not effective to ensure compliance with the licence conditions.”

She said the quality of the final discharge water was “found not to be compliant with the conditions of the licence issued to Grootvlei”.

“The investigation indicated that chemical treatment during the last three months [was] irregular due to the mine’s financial constraints.”

Sonjica said a pre-directive was issued on April 14, and a directive on April 28, “to the Grootvlei mine to put measures in place that would enable them to comply with the licence conditions within a specific time frame”.

The minister said the deadline for compliance with licence conditions had lapsed and the mine has not complied.

Yesterday, Frasy Namanyana, the National Union of Mineworkers’ representative at the mine, said some of the miners draw water from the nearby Blesbokspruit, which runs through one of the wetlands where the underground mine water is dumped.

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