RSS   Newsletter   Contact   Advertise with us

South Africa cost for cleaning up old mines almost $6.6 billion

Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn
Staff writer ▼ | August 20, 2015
Closing South Africa’s owner-less and derelict mines and draining polluted water from the operations could cost almost 60 billion rand ($6.6 billion), government departments said.
South Africa mines
Africa   Government departments calculated:
The cost to close and make the mines safe was estimated at 45.1 billion rand, and a further 2 billion rand for old asbestos pits, according to a study by the Department of Mineral Resources and the Council for Geoscience.

Cleaning up toxic water leaking from mines, known as acid-mine drainage, would cost about 10 billion rand, Marius Keets, chief director at the Department of Water Affairs, told lawmakers in Cape Town on Wednesday.

South Africa has about 6,000 owner-less and abandoned mines, many of them located close to urban areas, putting people’s health at risk and threatening to pollute agricultural land.

“We are facing a massive regulatory failure as neither department requires a levy from mining companies to treat water and there is no enforcement of the laws,” Tracey Davies, a lawyer with the Centre for Environmental Rights, said by phone.

Department of Mineral Resources guidelines estimate the minimum cost to rehabilitate mines at 50,000 rand per hectare (2.47 acres), with the limit for each mine at 25 million rand, according to Department of Mineral Resources Chief Financial Officer Irene Singo.