Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 15 February 2011
The South African government has hinted at the introduction of a new environmental tax in an effort to address future eruptions of acid mine drainage (AMD) in a country where the economy largely depends on mining.
This comes as Cabinet meets this week to discuss recommendations made by a special task team to investigate how government should respond to reports of acid water drainage in some parts of the country.
Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, speaking at an Infrastructure Development cluster briefing on Tuesday, said while the proposal has not been tabled to Cabinet yet, it was something the state was “seriously” looking at.
“There have to be mechanisms that are put in place to ensure that the law is adhered to … we all have a duty to ensure that we protect the environment so it’s a discussion that is there. The Department of Finance has a document that is circulating on environmental tax and we will see what happens in the future,” Molewa said.
Acid mine water, or water contaminated with heavy metals as a result of mining activities, is reportedly affecting the Gauteng, Mpumalanga, North West and Free State provinces. Reports suggest that this drainage poses health and economic risks for the country. Abandoned mines in Johannesburg and Mpumalanga had been the hardest hit so far.
With the mining industry contributing more than 30 percent to the country’s total export revenue, and having employed 2.9 percent of the country’s economically active population by 2009, environmentalists have termed AMD as the biggest single threat to the country’s economy and environment. Continue reading