Acid mine drainage (AMD) pumps installed in the Germiston area were expected to treat around 57 million litres of water a day, Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said on Friday.
She said the plant to treat and discharge water into the Klip River was expected to be fully functional by the end of April.
“The Klip river is one of the critical tributaries of the Vaal river and therefore it is important to note that this treated decant will not impact negatively on the Vaal river.”
Molewa was briefing reporters at the Germiston plant before the drainage pipes were installed.
The event was attended by MECs from several provinces as well as Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu.
About R319m would be spent on the project that focused mainly on the Witwatersrand area.
Billions more would be used to roll out similar projects in other areas.
The funds would go towards constructing and installing acid mine drainage pumps, the treatment of the plant and monitoring the shafts.
The pumping solution, however, was only a temporary measure.
“The full project involves the establishment of a new AMD pump-station, an AMD neutralisation facility (high-density sludge AMD treatment), and treated water and waste sludge pipeline,” said Molewa.
“When completed, this should provide a permanent solution for the treatment of AMD in this basin.”
The process would ensure that the acidic particles did not reach an environmentally critical level.
“We have come to lower these state-of-the-art pumps into the newly-built pump station which will convey the acid mine drainage from deep in the mine void to the surface where it will be treated and made safe for the environment,” said Molewa.
The solid sludge that came from the mine waste was to be pumped into the mine waste storage facilities.
“This initiative will ensure that underground AMD… is managed at a suitable level so as not to create adverse environmental and socio-economic impacts,” said Molewa.