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Trashing Mpumalanga’s Lake District February 14, 2008

Posted by Andreas in "The Economy", Climate change, Environment, Global warming, South Africa.
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Here’s another little-known environmental story from Peak Poison, the 2007 groundWork report:

The Mpumalanga Lake District around Chrissiesmeer lies at the headwaters of three major river catchments – the Vaal, the Olifants and the Komati. The lakes are unique because of their unusually clean water, natural beauty and bird life, and have been disturbed only by cattle farming. The area is a window on an ancient geological past, contains many San rock paintings and is a growing tourism destination.

The area also contains the closest coal resources to the mothballed Mpumalanga power plants. The return to service of these plants, together with increased export opportunities, has resulted in 114 applications for coal mining on farms totalling some 22,000 hectares. The planned open cast coal mining will destroy the water catchment. Within 5 to 10 years after backfilling an opencast mine, acid mine drainage starts – spilling acid waters (pH 2.5) onto the surface and bringing with it iron, salts and heavy metals such as manganese, copper and zinc. It will poison the lakes and the soils around them and turn an irreplaceable resource into a toxic waste.

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