Mine water policy approved

Pretoria - Cabinet has approved the gazetting of the draft Mine Water Management Policy for public comment, said Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe.

Briefing reporters following Cabinet’s fortnightly meeting, Minister Radebe said mine water management, including acid mine drainage, remains a major environmental challenge.

“The Policy provides the basis for holding parties potentially liable for negative effects and damages of Acid Mine Drainage related pollution and/or any other negative impacts that can be related to it. The policy also seeks to propose mechanisms that mining houses should explore to better manage their water,” said Minister Radebe on Thursday.

Revitalisation of Distressed Mining Communities

In addition, at its meeting, Cabinet was briefed on the progress report of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Revitalisation of Distressed Mining Communities implementation of relevant findings from its Australian Mining Industry Benchmarking Study. The tour was undertaken from 24 to 28 August 2015.

The study tour was premised on the Rapid Appraisal of the Policy and Regulatory Systems Governing the Mining Sector which compared the policy and legislative frameworks governing the mining sector as well as the practices of mining companies in Australia, Chile, South Africa and Zambia.

Minister Radebe said highlights of progress made include partnerships between government and mining companies in delivering decent housing and living conditions for mine workers and community members.

Infrastructure partnerships

Meanwhile, a review of mining companies’ water treatment plants is being conducted to assess the possibility of infrastructure partnerships.

“The development of mining towns’ spatial transformation plans has been finalised for five municipalities. Catalytic economic development projects are being implemented in labour sending areas, with an emphasis on the advancement of the agriculture sector in mining communities; and fast tracking of increased access to medical assessments for ex-mineworkers, community members and current mineworkers.”

Cabinet approved for the Departments of Labour and Mineral Resources to study the different Australian mine commuting models to assist long haul South African migrant mineworkers to commute home more frequently.

Supportive services to ex-mineworkers

In addition, Cabinet also approved for the Department of Health to work closely with the Department of Mineral Resources and other partners in the provision of supportive services to ex-mineworkers in dealing with occupational diseases, with a view to reducing and preventing mine related occupational health challenges.

A request was made for the Department of Human Settlements to fast track the implementation of integrated human settlements projects in collaboration with mining companies. – SAnews.gov.za