After reaping the benefits of delving for gold in some of the worlds richest gold fields, slew mining operators want to shift environmental responsibilities onto the government. Were these environmental responsibilities to be shifted to the government legislation would be allowing mine operators to rape and pillage an area without needing to take responsibility for the dire environmental impacted caused by their action.
Why should tax payer money be used to clean up after multi-billion Rand companies have benefited from looting the environment, leaving the people and the surrounding area devastated by their greed once the cost of operating escalates. This kind of behaviour clearly shows that these companies only care about their bank account and not the community that made them profitable.
The following extract from All Africa.
Johannesburg — CENTRAL Rand Gold (CRG) has raised R270m towards building a gold mine immediately south of downtown Johannesburg, but it is dealing with the critically important issue of securing a water pumping and treatment strategy, which, if it fails, could see its operations flooded in 2012.
CRG has a vast swathe of old mine workings and properties south of the M2 highway skirting central Johannesburg.
Its first output target is 450 00oz by end of 2013, rising to 150 000oz as it mines two more areas in coming years.The problem is, it inherited the responsibility to help pump and clean water from these old mines. The water will reach the environmentally critical level (ECL) by the last quarter of next year, and decant or pour out of old shafts during 2012 if nothing is done.
There is a price tag of about R180m, possibly more, to fund a short-term plan to maintain water levels at 400m below surface (mbs). The ECL is 150mbs – where it starts polluting ground water. It is at 640mbs now and rising by half a metre a day.
“There’s a general consensus of how to resolve the problem in the interim,” said Mr du Toit.
“It’s really coming down to funding, and that’s where the hiccup is, getting the government and rest of the industry around a table to say who puts money on the table to fix this problem.”
DRDGold spokesman James Duncan said: “It is understandable perhaps, but nonetheless unacceptable, that government and nongovernmental organisations have tended to adopt the simplistic notion that accountability for dealing with acid mine drainage should rest with ‘the last men standing’ – in other words, with those mining companies still in business and whose operations by happenstance are in closest proximity to the core of the problem.”