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South African mine water atlas
Expanded Title:Mining has been an integral part of the South African economy for over 100 years. The industry employs close to 500 000 workers and contributes 18% to the country’s gross domestic product. The mining sector is also a large user of water in certain areas, with the water pollution problems associated with mining being well publicised recently. Relatively small volumes of water are used by mining companies compared to other industrial sectors, but water is needed for extraction and concentration of metals and non-metallic minerals. Water is also used to generate electricity required for crushing ore, on-site processing, smelting, refining and other aspects of treating resources to improve their properties. The crucial difference between mining and other industries is the severe and long-term nature of its impact on aquatic and terrestrial environments – an impact which is widely acknowledged, but has not been mapped in South Africa. For this reason, the WRC has embarked on a project to creative South Africa’s first South African Mine Water Atlas. The Atlas is a comprehensive reference of the true extent of mine-influenced water in the country, both on the surface and underground. Once completed, it will be the most comprehensive document of its kind in South Africa. The Atlas informs the implementation of commitments made in the past, while decision-makers will also be able to reference the publication for background information to inform decisions in the future. The first chapters set the scene through an introduction to mine-water and its geological, hydrological and legal context, and the following chapters provide the geographical foundations of water quantity, quality and distribution across South Africa. The Atlas illustrates South Africa’s hydrological characteristics by charting and mapping water resources at the provincial scale: resources, distribution, and the physical setting within which water is found. These features are overlaid with a map of mining activities in order to understand the locations at which surface and groundwater and mining collide. In the next chapters, each of the water management areas is presented by discussing the challenge, the situation, the constraints and opportunities of mine water in each one.
Date Published:02/09/2016
Document Type:Research Report
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Technical
WRC Report No:TT 670/16
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0806-7
Project No:K5/2234
Originator:WRC
Organizations:Golder Associates (Africa) Pty Ltd; Department of Water and Sanitation; Council for Geoscience
Document Size:58 203 KB
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