SUMMARY: The booklet makes a case for a project to address the waste and pollution legacy of mining in the Witwatersrand basin with a clear linkage between the potential for revenue generation through materials reclamation and comprehensively addressing the entire rehabilitation challenge, with the participation of all stakeholders. The paper sketches the background and the extent of the challenge, the legislative and regulatory context, and the imperatives for urgent action, then focuses on the Tweelopiespruit wetlands area for a potential pilot project.
KEY FINDING / RECOMMENDATIONS: Gold and uranium mining in the Witwatersrand gold fields has resulted in contamination and destruction of wetlands, as well as negative impacts on biodiversity and on soil, groundwater and air quality. Pollution from Witwatersrand mines poses hazards to surrounding communities. The main pathways are: the airborne pathway, where radon gas and windblown dust disperse outwards from mine site and the waterborne pathway, either via ground or surface water or due to direct access, where people are contaminated and living in settlements directly adjacent to mines or living in settlements on the contaminated footprints of abandoned mines.