Water and Sanitation calls on mines to register tailing dams on its database to ensure compliance with dam safety regulations - 28 Apr 2023DWS c...Water and Sanitation calls on mines to register tailing dams on its database to ensure compliance with dam safety regulations - 28 Apr 2023
DWS calls on mines to register tailing dams on its database to ensure compliance with dam safety regulations
The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is updating a database of all tailings or Mine residue deposit dams in the country that meet the requirements to be classified as Dams with a Safety Risk and is calling on mining houses that have not registered their dams as required to submit their information in order to be classified as Dams with the Safety Risk and ensure that they are regulated.
Tailing dams are dams that are used to store water and waste that come as by-products from the mining processes. Dams with Safety Risk are those dams with minimum height of five metres (5m) and able to store more than fifty thousand cubic metres (50 000 m3) of water or water containing substance.
The information would be used to update the register and also to monitor these dams as required by the National Water Act and the Dam Safety Regulations published in Government Notice R. 139 of 24 February 2012.
The Department through the directorate responsible for Dam Safety Regulations is intensifying regulations on the safety of tailings / mine residue deposit dams across the country to ensure that these storage facilities are regulated, with a view of averting another undesirable occurrence such as Jagersfontein disaster which occurred in the Free State on 11 September 2022, resulting in loss of lives and properties.
The Department’s Dam Safety Regulation Director: Wally Ramokopa said it was important to provide correct information in order to ensure that the dams are registered and compliant and further advised that for the information to be compiled by a registered engineering professional with knowledge of dams and/ or tailings storage facilities.
“Dams with a safety risk is defined in section 117(c) (i) of the National Water Act as follows: any dam which can contain, store or dam more than 50 000 cubic metres of water, whether that water contains any substance or not, and which has a wall of a vertical height of more than five metres, measured as the vertical difference between the lowest downstream ground elevation on the outside of the dam wall and the non-overspill crest level or the general top level of the dam wall” Mr Ramokopa stated.
Mr Ramokopa further emphasised that the department soon will execute random inspections to verify the correctness of the information and the existence of the dam(s) as well as collaborate with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) to ensure compliance.
DWS has engaged the DMRE in order to get the data of mining houses and as a result correspondence has been sent to at least 337 tailings dams so that they can be classified as dams with a safety risk should they meet the requirements as stated above, and encourage those mining houses that have not disclosed to DMRE ownership of tailing dams to register with the department.
As the custodian of water resources in the country, DWS is empowered by the National Water Act (Act 36 of 1998) to regulate dams so as to improve the safety of new and existing dams with a safety risk and to reduce the potential for harm to the public, damage to property or to resource quality. Section 120 in the National Water Act (NWA) requires an owner of a dam with a safety risk to register the dam within 120 days after the date on which the dam meets the requirements to be classified as a dam with a safety risk as defined in Section 117 of NWA.
For any additional information on tailing/ mine residue deposit dams kindly send an e-mail to email@example.com(link sends e-mail)
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Issued by: Department of Water and Sanitation