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South Africa: Federation for a Sustainable Environment says Mintails' failure to rehabilitate uranium mines pits endangering local community; company denies liability

Author: Lisa Steyn, Business Day (So. Africa), Published on: 19 September 2018

"Summer is coming, with toxic winds"

When the spring winds blow over the Mintails operations in Krugersdorp, they lift toxic dust filled with uranium from mine dumps and disperse it on surrounding communities. The wind is also a reminder that summer is coming, when it is not uncommon for children to drown in the easily accessed mine pits, some 40m deep. The desiccated Tudor dam on the Mintails property has radioactivity measuring 16 times the regulatory limit, while the water in the Lancaster dam is acutely toxic, says Federation for a Sustainable Environment CEO Mariette Liefferink. "There is no uncertainty that Mintails is responsible," she says. "Both the nuclear regulator and the department of water affairs found [the pollution] was because of irresponsible mining activities by Mintails."...

As reported by investigative environmental journalism unit Oxpeckers, Mintails recently applied for provisional liquidation, and this appears to allow it to shirk its R336m liability to rehabilitate the environment...Department of mineral resources regional manager for Gauteng Sunday Mabaso says the company has used delaying tactics for years to ride roughshod over the law. Mintails Mining SA, majority owned by Australian listed group Mintails, mined in Krugersdorp without a valid mining licence, a social and labour plan, environmental management plan or the funds required to fulfil its obligations, Mabaso says.

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