“The impact of Acid Mine Drainage in Gauteng is a significant environmental problem that has a potential to undermine socio-economic development, and pose a threat to human lives. The impact of this can already be seen in some municipalities in the province,” the department’s deputy director-general on human settlements William Bhila said.
This emerged at one-day conference between the South African Local Government Association and the department, which addressed the impact of AMD and explored ways to manage the problem.
AMD is presently a cause for concern in the West Rand basin, the Central Rand basin and the East Rand basin, Bhila said.
“AMD has already been decanting from the West Rand Basin since 2002. This resulted in the loss of animal life and the corrosion of fittings in the Mogale City area.”
Bhila said the government needed to act swiftly before AMD started to decant in the other two basins. Marius Keet from water affairs department said the best way to tackle this problem is through collaboration by all stakeholders.
“We need to explore the possibility of partnerships between public and private sectors”, he said.
Bhila said the general solution is to pump the water from below the environmental critical level to the surface where it is neutralised.