DWS calls on mines to register tailing dams on its database

28th April 2023

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is calling on mining houses to register all their tailings or mine residue deposit dams that classify as dams with a safety risk on its database.

This comes as the department, through the directorate responsible for Dam Safety Regulations, updates its database and intensifies regulations on the safety of tailings and mine residue deposit dams to ensure the facilities are regulated, with the view of averting another “undesirable occurrence” such as Jagersfontein disaster, which occurred in the Free State in September 2022, resulting in loss of lives and properties.

The DWS is empowered by the National Water Act to regulate dams so as to improve the safety of new and existing dams with a safety risk, which are dams with minimum height of 5 m and able to store more than 50 000 m3 of water or water-containing substance, and to reduce the potential for harm to the public, damage to property or to resource quality.

The information obtained will be used to update the register and monitor these dams as required by the Dam Safety Regulations and the National Water Act (NWA), which also requires an owner of a dam with a safety risk to register the dam within 120 days after the date on which the dam meets the requirements to be classified as a dam with a safety risk as defined in Section 117 of the NWA.

“It is important to provide correct information in order to ensure that the dams are registered and compliant,” says DWS dam safety regulation director Wally Ramokopa, advising that the information should be compiled by a registered engineering professional with knowledge of dams and tailings storage facilities.

The DWS will soon execute random inspections to verify the correctness of the information and the existence of the dams, as well as collaborate with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) to ensure compliance.

The DWS has also engaged the DMRE to obtain the data of mining houses and as a result correspondence has been sent to at least 337 tailings dams so that they can be classified as dams with a safety risk should they meet the requirements and encourage those mining houses that have not disclosed to DMRE ownership of tailing dams to register with the DWS.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter




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