Test site 2. Witbank - Acid Mine Drainage
Leachate from discard coal as well as from remaining coal in mine cavities has been observed at T&DB. The deterioration in the water quality from leaching through discard dumps has been observed at the T&DB discard coal dump on the banks of the Brug Spruit. The decanting of acidic salt-loaded water from the flooded mine workings occurs as a decant point and dispersed seeps along the entire bank of the Brug Spruit on the western side of the mine. The decant point has been enclosed in an attempt to keep AMD from entering into the Brug Spruit (cp. Figure 1).
Figure 1: T&DB decant point
Jackaroo Park has been experiencing the impact from mining for several years. The impacts are related to past mining as well as current operations (coal washing plant). Jackaroo Park is situated on the eastern outskirts of Emalahleni (Witbank) along the R555. The residential area is separated from the mining area by the railroad which connects Emalahleni and Middelburg (Figure 2). A small informal settlement has developed on the northern side of the railway adjacent to the washing plant. Impacts include environmental impacts on surface water, groundwater, soil, air (dust, CO2, methane etc), ground stability and the health and safety impact on the community of Jackaroo Park.
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Figure 2: Locality of Jackaroo Park
Acidic salt-loaded water has been flowing from the defunct mine, downhill towards the Olifants River. AMD has been traced back to a decant area north of the railway line along a zone where a large pool of AMD formed above the flooded mine workings (Figure 3) as well as diffused seeps throughout the residential area of Jackaroo Park. Various small dispersed seeps in Jackaroo Park have been observed in gardens, streets and potholes. AMD is also flowing along two small streams towards the Olifants River. The decant water which are flowing through the residential area of Jackaroo Park drains into the storm water system (Figure 4). Residents of Jackaroo Park are concerned about the AMD flowing in the streets and the salt crust observed in the streets as small children were playing in the water. AMD marshes have formed in a number of residential gardens killing parts of the garden vegetation.