Mintails collapse: a case study in how not to close mines

Mariette Liefferink, activist chief executive of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE). Photo: FSE website.

Mintails mines and processes gold from a sprawling 1,715ha complex of waste piles and open pits in Krugersdorp, and has for years been flagged for non-compliance.

Mintails Mining South Africa and several related companies have announced their liquidation, throwing into question the environmental rehabilitation of the highly-polluting operations near Johannesburg.

In a release compiled by Mariette Liefferink, the activist chief executive of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment, she describes Mintails’ operations, which bordered on informal settlements and other communities housing thousands of residents, many of whom have complained of health problems they blame on radioactive dust and water pollution from Mintails’ mines.

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“Records show the cost to clean up the environment would be about R330 million, with only an estimated R26 million available, leading observers to fear the situation could deteriorate further as happened at the infamous Blyvooruitzicht Gold Mine, an abandoned large-scale operation on the Far West Rand.”

A case study in South Africa’s deeply flawed mine closure system, Mintails has teetered on the verge of collapse for years and went into business rescue in October 2015.

Liefferink has tracked Mintails for more than a decade and is now working to intercede in the liquidation proceedings as the legal voice for what she labels the “mute environment”.

As the company slips into liquidation, it passes the brunt of its environmental liability onto the taxpayers and, to a certain extent, to other mining companies.

Make sure to read the follow up report next week on this developing story as the News delve into how Mintails tried to save itself by making use of a business rescuer, but this situation ultimately lead to liquidation.

Do you perhaps have more information pertaining to this story? Email us at  [email protected] (remember to include your contact details) or phone us on 011 955 1130.

For free daily local news on the West Rand, also visit our sister newspaper websites 

Randfontein Herald

Roodepoort Record

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  AUTHOR
Janine Viljoen
Editor

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