Waste discharge charge system : the practical implication from a gold mining perspective
De Waard, Krijn Carlo
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The mining, agricultural and energy sectors, along with the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) are critical role players in managing South Africa’s water resources. Water resources are under increasing pressure due to continuous population growth and economic development. It is critical to adopt a management policy that can lead to sustainable water supply. The National Water Act, 1998, (Act 36 of 1998), Section 56(1) instructs the Minister of Water Affairs to establish a Pricing Strategy for charges for any water use described in Section 21 of the Act. In light of this the Department implemented the Waste Discharge Charge System (WDCS). The WDCS is based on the polluter-pays principle and is focussed on load reduction on order to achieve or maintain resource quality objectives. One of the legal requirements in the mining industry is to have a water use license under Section 21 of the National Water Act of 1998 (South Africa, 1998b) which will lead to the application of the WDCS to the mining industry. This mini-dissertation assesses how the WDCS can be practically implemented from a gold mining perspective. The WDCS require the identification of point and diffuse sources from various pollution sources. A case study was used to determine what information and instruments will be required at a gold mine to implement the WDCS. The determining of the point and diffuse discharges require multidisciplinary studies with the integration of different spheres of the environment. To assist with this a GoldSim model was developed. The main function of the model was to determine the seepage rates per day from pollution sources using the available information. The seepage rates and the water qualities were used to determine the waste loads discharged to the environment. Using the instruments above, a methodology was provided to determine the point and diffuse sources of pollution and calculate the load that will be discharged to the environment which will form the basis of the WDCS.