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Parliamentary committee to hear report on acid mine drainage crisis

Acid mine drainage will be under the spotlight today when Parliament’s water and environmental affairs committee holds public hearings on the progress in combating the threat to the Witwatersrand.

Water Problem: acid mine drainageThe government is in a race against time to apply control measures before the rising acid water in both the central and eastern basins under the greater city of Johannesburg and the East Rand reaches the critical environmental level of 150m below the surface. Acid water is already decanting on the West Rand with significant harm to the environment.

Committee chairman Johnny de Lange said acid mine drainage on the Witwatersrand had reached a crisis point.

” Acid mine drainage is highly acidic water, usually containing high concentrations of metals, sulphides and salts because of mining activity. The major sources of acid mine drainage include drainage from underground mine shafts, runoff and discharge from open pits and mine waste dumps, tailings and stockpiles, which make up nearly 80% of all waste produced in SA.

” Acid mine drainage has been described as the largest single environmental problem facing the mining industry, particularly because it is persistent and costly, and tends to be a liability for mines long after they cease to operate.”

The government’s response was to appoint a task team to investigate the issue. Its recommendations included removing salt loads from river systems in the medium to long term, as well as monitoring and doing research to inform decisions and managing other acid mine drainage sources within the Witswatersrand basin.

The Department of Water Affairs, including some of the experts who drafted the report, would begin public hearings by explaining the contents of the report, its findings and the recommendations, to the committee.

The department would then outline the steps the government intended to take in response to the report, along with its findings and recommendations, including how the R400m that the government had budgeted for this issue would be spent.

The Chamber of Mines and the owners of the mines operating in the affected areas are expected to appear before the committee to explain the steps taken or the lack of action to ameliorate the problems identified in the report.

Source: Business Day

1 comment to Parliamentary committee to hear report on acid mine drainage crisis

  • Is there any contact detail for the officials, or a comittee that one can contact to see if our technoligy can bring a sollution to this problem. We are the founders and technical directors Organic Water Solutions, water remediation. We would gladly worktogether to find a solution to this disaster.
    Thank you David Gaybba

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