JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – A feasibility study to find long-term solutions for acidmine drainage (AMD) in the Witwatersrand would be completed in February next year, said Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.
In her response to a Parliamentary question posed by the Democratic Alliance’s Gareth Morgan, she stated that the R17.72-million study, which started in January, was conducted by the Department’s Chief Directorate: Integrated Water Resource Planning, supported by three professional service providers and specialist advisers.
Molewa added that her department was investigating the option of an earlier request for proposals (RFP), which would run parallel with the feasibility study. The RFP could start as early as September.
“During the feasibility study we will also issue a request for information to register technology, funding and operating options, which would inform the feasibility study,” she added.
Meanwhile, a recent report by global management consulting firm AT Kearney emphasised the need for action on AMD, as three main areas in the Witwatersrand – the Western, Central and Eastern basins – were already decanting, or would be doing so within the next 12 months.
The AT Kearney report warned that as the volumes of water decanted increased, dilution in rivers would not be sustainable. From 2015, the levels of Gauteng’s acid mine water were anticipated to exceed the ability of the Vaal river to absorb it for safe human use.
The report suggested that a multistakeholder partnership between companies, government and nongovernmental organisations could be the answer to solving South Africa’s AMD problem.