8764 2010.6.22 A game reserve on the Tweelopiesspruit near Krugersdorp, West Rand, is the recipient of untreated acid mine drainage. Dams into which this heavy metalled water runs lost all their fish a long time ago, but hippo still live here and there are concerns serious concerns for their health. The reeds filter the water, but not enough to prevent catastrophic damage. Picture: Cara Viereckl

Johannesburg - Around R319 million will be spent on an acid mine drainage project focused on the Witwatersrand area, the water affairs department said on Friday.

The funds would go to constructing and installing acid mine drainage pumps, the treatment plant, and monitoring the shafts, said Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.

She was speaking at a media briefing which will be followed by the installation of the drainage pipes in Germiston on the East Rand.

The event was attended by several MEC's from various provinces and Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu.

Molewa said the installation of the acid mine drainage (AMD) pumps would only be a temporary solution.

“The full project involves the establishment of a new AMD pump-station, an AMD neutralisation facility (high-density sludge AMD treatment), and treated water and waste sludge pipeline,” said Molewa.

“When completed, this should provide a permanent solution for the treatment of AMD in this basin.”

She explained that the process would ensure that the acidic particles did not reach an environmentally critical level.

“We have come to lower these state of the art pumps into the newly built pump station which will convey the acid mind drainage from deep in the mine void to the surface where it will be treated and made safe for the environment,” said Molewa. - Sapa