The legacy of acid mine drainage in South Africa

SOURCE: Management and mitigation of acid mine drainage in South Africa: input for mineral beneficiation in Africa
OUTPUT TYPE: Chapter in Monograph
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2016
TITLE AUTHOR(S): V.Mjimba, M.Mujuru, S.S.Mutanga
SOURCE EDITOR(S): S.S.Mutanga, M.Mujuru
KEYWORDS: ACID MINE DRAINAGE, MINING AND MINERALS INDUSTRY
DEPARTMENT: African Institute of South Africa (AISA)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9486

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Abstract

South Africa's mining sector plays a significant role in the country's economy. The acid mine drainage challenge can be traced back more than 100 years to the 1800's. While the source of AMD formation is largely abondoned mined and their associated waste dumps, the problem of acid water spreads far beyond the immediate surroundings of the mines and the mine dumps. The challenge of acid mine drainage has been described as ticking time-bomb of the twenty first century, given its effects on the environment. The lack of structured legal instruments and initiatives to deal with the AMD challenge in South Africa. This chapter provides the historical background of the mining sector, which precipitated the AMD challenge; maps the spatial distribution of the challenge, by defining the hot-spots of the challenge; and describes the evolution of relevant legal instruments and how this contributed to the problem.