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“Solutions and funding models for the acid mine drainage problems of South Africa” Mariette Liefferink. Solutions and Funding Models Debated for many years Hundreds of Reports e.g. Chamber of Mines (1957)
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*An Economic and Technical evaluation of Regional Treatment Options for Point Source Gold Mine Effluents Entering the Vaal Barrage Catchment. R Pilson.
Environmental Risks and Hazards Pertaining to AMD and Radioactivity within the Witwatersrand Goldfields
“Mining benefitted the South African economy as a whole, so it is reasonable to expect that all taxpayers should pay for AMD remediation and rehabilitation through the fiscus, as this is the cost of development”.
“Every person who causes, has caused or may cause significant pollution or degradation ... prevent ...minimise and rectify such pollution or degradation of the environment.”
(NEMA & NWA include historical contamination as one of the triggers for the obligation – retrospectively – to remove pollution and rehabe)ilitat
Large pool of responsible parties (connected to polluter) who are liable on a joint-and-several basis
Shepstone & Wylie Attorneys
Apportionment of liability has been a failure as the cause of the problem is not current negligence by mining companies, but rather the historical failure of our pre-democratic government.
In a 1951 case, Rex v Marshall and Another  2 All SA 440 (A) the Appellate Division found unanimously that a mining company allowed “unwholesome” and highly acidic water to issue and seep down from evaporation ponds and fields into a spruit which then introduced the contaminants into a stream.
In that case Fagan JA upheld a decision by the magistrate’s court that found the mine manager and resident engineer guilty and imposed a fine on each of them.
Failure of relevant governance structures that could ringfence capital for rehabilitation and develop a viable closure strategy to manage the transition to a postmining economy and the technology for mitigation purposes.
If this is the omission of the pre-democratic government – where is the financial provision for the mining since 1994 (post-apartheid)?
NGOs have argued that the ‘polluter pays’ principle must apply and have launched a range of legal actions to enforce this
- Consideration of compensation for downstream users: Why should a person with a borehole pay for the desalination of the water?
Most technical solutions have been developed in secret, simply to avoid the risk of becoming embroiled in the intense contestation between NGOs and an embattled industry and regulator.
The mining industry has been a significant driver of the country’s economy, dating back many years.
Many mining houses that pioneered the industry in South Africa have moved on to other areas, or have evolved into other companies or consortiums, the challenge of assigning responsibility for current issues is a real concern.
Draft. AA mines of the 1980’s, per Innes, Pallister
& Vaal Reefs
(Discussion Document. Richard Holden. Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority. 2012)