South Africa cost for cleaning up old mines almost $6.6 billionStaff 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.
Africa Government departments calculated:
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. ■