South Africa: Mpumalanga Coal Mines Blatantly Flout Environment Laws - Report

A worker on duty at a coal mine (file photo).

Coal companies rely significantly on water, but their water-use licences in Mpumalanga, the heart of coal country, go unchecked in a system almost designed to promote pollution, a new report has found.

Coal mining companies in Mpumalanga are required to pay for the water they use but a new study has found that businesses which are collectively using up to eight million cubic metres of water a year have had to ask for their invoices while the Department of Water and Sanitation, recently merged with the Department of Human Settlements, fails to charge or monitor their water use.

The details are contained in a new report from the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER), titled Full Disclosure: The Truth About Mpumalanga Coal Mines' Failure to Comply with their Water Use Licences, released on Wednesday 3 July, which describes a scene of unchecked environmental damage and authorities allowing it to happen.

Abandoned and continuously producing coal mines for the Upper Olifants in Mpumalanga.

It may not come as a surprise that South Africa's 1998 National Water Act was lauded as progressive and visionary, but 21 years later the vision hasn't been realised as mining companies are let off the hook with their...

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