Title: Mine Water Management Policy Position: Draft for external consultation and discussion
Government Gazette Notice: GN 657 in GG 40965 of 7 July 2017
Commencing Date: Not yet specified

The Department of Water and Sanitation published a proposed policy pertaining to mine water management for external consultation and discussion on 7 July 2017.

The purpose of this policy is to provide the position of the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) on mine water management, including Acid Mine Drainage. Furthermore, the policy aims to provide measures on protection of water resources from prospective, operational and historical mine activities that have negative water quality impacts.

The policy sets out the policy principles that strive to strengthen the protection of the water resources from mine water contamination during short and long terms. The policy principles are informed by the current legislative framework on water resource management. It further proposes an integrated departmental approach to mine water management. Where legislative gap(s) exist(s), this policy provides relevant and appropriate legislative remedies in order to strengthen a proactive mine water management approach.

The policy discusses the following aspects:
• Rationalising institutional arrangements;
• Related legislative amendments;
• The optimum use of appropriate, cost-effective technology;
• Mine classification and differentiation;
• Promoting sustainable mining; and
• Mine water treatment and reuse.

In a correction notice published on 14 July 2017, the Minister of Water and Sanitation confirmed that public input must be received within 60 days after publication of the notice in the Gazette.

So what for my operation?
Once this policy is published as final, all mines must adhere thereto in terms of water management. It is, therefore, important that all stakeholders scrutinize the contents of the draft policy and submit any comments or concerns related thereto to the DWS as soon as possible.