Mines taken to task over Carolina water

[miningmx.com] — MINISTER of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa said on Friday four mines have been issued pre-directives over non-compliance with the National Water Act in relation with the poor quality of drinking water in Carolina.

She was asked by a member of the Democratic Alliance whether the poor quality of water experienced in Carolina has been caused by acid mine drainage and whether notices and directives have been issued to any party for polluting the drinking water.

“There has been no occurrence of acid mine drainage directly entering the drinking water reticulation system of Carolina,’ said Molewa. “However, the Boesmanspruit dam has been impacted upon by alleged acid mine drainage contribution based on the preliminary results of the catchment investigation.’

The Boesmanspruit dam is the abstraction point that feeds the Carolina Water Treatment Works.

She said an investigation showed that due to a drastic decline in pH levels of the raw water, the acidity of water had increased and created a conducive environment for increased levels of heavy metals. Corrective measures have been implemented, Molewa said, with the pH level of the water stabilising.

“All heavy metals are within the acceptable limits of the South African National Standards,’ she said.

“Pre-directives were (also) given to four mines on 9 March 2012 and the relevant procedures are being followed to get compliance.

“No criminal charges have been laid against any party for the pollution challenges.
However, the department together with the Department of Mineral Resources are busy conducting investigations in the area.’