The Department of Water and Sanitation has ordered Kromdraai Mine to take accountability for discharging acid mine water into the Kromdraai River.
“The Directive instructs Kromdraai Mine to take all reasonable measures to contain and minimise the effects of the incident, undertake clean-up procedures, remedy the effects of the incident, and appoint a suitably qualified professional to compile a rehabilitation plan for all the affected areas within 10 days upon receipt of the Directive,” DWS said in a statement.
This comes after an incident where an old shaft at the mine collapsed on or around 14 February 2022.
The department has since issued a directive, in terms of Section 20 (4) (d) of the National Water Act, 1988 (Act No 36 of 1998), to the mine for failure to take all reasonable measures to contain and minimise the effects of the incident, which led to the pollution of Kromdraai River, and consequently affecting Wilge River.
The department wants the mine, located in Gauteng, to implement all the recommendations contained in the rehabilitation plan, and rehabilitate the areas affected by the unauthorised water activities within 30 days upon the department’s approval of the rehabilitation plan.
“Failure to comply with the directive constitutes an offence, in terms of Section 151 (1) (d) of the NWA.
“Any person who contravenes any provision of Subsection (1) of Section 151 of the NWA is guilty of an offence and liable, on first conviction, to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years, or both a fine and such imprisonment, and in the case of a second conviction or subsequent conviction, to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years, or both a fine and such imprisonment, in terms of Section 151 (2) of the NWA,” the department warned.
“The mine has acknowledged culpability. There is a decision to release water from the Loskop, Wilge, Bronkhorstspruit and Middelburg Dams in order to flush the pollution.
“This will determine how much water will be required for this action, and then a determination of the cost of such water will also be determined, and that money will be reimbursed by the mine to the DWS.
“Pollution of water resources will not be tolerated, and polluters must pay for their irresponsible actions,” the department said.