Water, mining, and waste: An historical and economic perspective on conflict management in South Africa

Rebecca A. Adler, Marius Claassen, Linda Godfrey, Anthony R. Turton

Abstract


Lack of government intervention in South Africa's mining industry has worsened conflicts associated with limited water resources. With the advent of democracy, new legislation demands that all South African citizens have the right to a clean, safe environment, including access to potable water, and that the country develop in a sustainable manner. But conflict remains due to the historical partnership between the government and the mining industry, as well as due to cumulative impacts associated with mining, which has polluted natural ground water sources. In this article, an historical overview of the mining industry in South Africa is presented, along with a simple economic model to describe behavior of the mining industry over time. Legislative frameworks used to address mine waste and mine water management are evaluated and suggestions are made for how to use an understanding of resource driven conflict to improve the outlook of mining and access to water for all in South Africa.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15355/epsj.2.2.33

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