Liefferink, M 2019, 'Selected extracts from South Africa’s environmental legislation: challenges with the management of gold tailings within the Witwatersrand gold fields and case studies', in AJC Paterson, AB Fourie & D Reid (eds), Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Paste, Thickened and Filtered Tailings
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 53-67.
For most of its history, the mining industry in South Africa has not been subjected to comprehensive environmental regulation. In recent years, however, this has changed significantly, and the industry is now required to comply with a complex web of mining and environmental policy and legislation.
Despite these regulatory advances, we still grapple with legacy issues, namely how to manage decades of environmental degradation, mining waste and long-term residual and latent impacts and how to equitably and fairly apportion duties, responsibilities and liabilities for the remediation of mining waste.
An analysis of the Witwatersrand gold fields and the management of its uraniferous waste provides an excellent example of the complexity of these issues and lessons learnt.
Keywords: acid mine drainage, waste, uranium, radioactivity, dump reclamation, environmental legislation, closure
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