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World’s largest acid mine drainage plant in SA to relieve water crisis

The Gauteng government is hoping to relieve the province’s water supply tensions with the opening of a new acid mine drainage (AMD) plant in Springs, outside of Johannesburg.

Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane has opened the Eastern Basin Acid Mine Drainage Treatment plant, which is the third high-density sludge treatment plant in the Province that will help secure water for the next 30 years.

“By producing fully treated water that will significantly increase water supply to the Vaal River System, the opening of the Springs AMD plant will respond to the pollution of freshwater, and stop polluted mine water from reaching a certain level below the surface‚ which affects the country’s water sources.” said Mokonyane

The two other operational plants are the Central Basin in Germiston‚ and the Western Basin in Krugersdorp, which have been operational for a few years.

The pricey but lasting solutions are said to have cost the country an estimated  R10 billion to R12 billion, as the province and country intensify their water saving efforts.

Mokonyane has said that The Eastern Basin is the largest of the three plants and the largest of its kind in the world, with the capacity to clean 110 megalitres of a water a day, and send the water back into  he Vaal River system.

The polluted water is extracted from the mine void in the region and sent to the three treatment plants. Once the water has been treated, it is released into nearby water sources‚ such as wetlands‚ streams and dams.

“The problem of acid mine drainage cannot be left unattended. It has persisted for centuries and we have taken steps to address the challenge‚” Mokonyane said.


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