Exploring the linkages between land management institutions, land degradation and acid mine drainage: The case of the West Rand Goldfield.

Banze, Nkulu mulunda Frank
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From the beginning of time, land has been an important asset to man: it provides shelter and serves as a source of livelihood for man (through farming, mining, etc.), which are important for human survival. However, these activities, if unmanaged, can contribute to the destruction of the quality of land and the environment. This study adopted a qualitative approach to understanding the dynamics of and logic behind government institutions’ response(s) to the issue of AMD The most prominent effect of mining activities that can negatively affect the quality of land is acid mine drainage, which is generated through mining activities and after mines closure. AMD formation takes longer to generate but its effects can persist even after mines have been shut down. It also results in the pollution of water, soil and air, and through these media, presents health problems to man, in this research report, a qualitative study was undertaken on the West Rand Goldfield. It explored the extent to which institutions responsible for the land and environmental management respond to the challenging issue of AMD in the West Rand Gold Field. The approach used to analyse government intervention in the study area is theoretically based. The report draws from different academic literature, policy documents, news articles related to AMD and how it been managed in the West Rand goldfield The findings from the study were that most government interventions came into being only after AMD had started decanting from the mines in 2002. There is a lack of collaboration among different government institutions and other stakeholders for the management of the AMD problem. Furthermore, the land management policy is also not clear as to which arm of government should take the lead in AMD management, and there is a lack of enforcement of environmental laws and directives from by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT). In order to rectify these problems, some of the measures recommended include policy reform to clarify roles and responsibilities of land management institutions, reducing the number of institutions involve in the management of AMD establishing a joint task force for land rehabilitations after mine closure.