/ 14 April 2011

Minister: Govt considering acid mine drainage levy

Government is considering imposing a mining industry levy or tax to finance the clean up of toxic acid water rising in, and in some cases flowing out of, derelict and ownerless mines, Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said on Thursday.

Briefing the media at Parliament, she said her department was looking at both water and environmental legislation to see how far back measures to hold former mine owners responsible could be imposed.

Acid mine drainage is a huge problem in Gauteng. The water is rising up under Johannesburg; in parts of the Witwatersrand, it is overflowing into streams and wetlands.

Molewa said the government was engaging the industry on the matter.

“We will engage everybody who is in the industry in determining what we have been given a mandate to do, [including] investigating even a possible kind of a levy, or Treasury — leading us — investigating some form of a tax.

“Some kind of levy or fund should be made available … for us to be able as government to make sure, where such pollution has taken place, there is a clean up that continues to happen,” she said. — Sapa