SOUTH AFRICA – Years ago the local mainstream media made a meal of how acid mine drainage (AMD) was going to be the undoing of the Johannesburg CBD.
Underground parking facilities would be flooded, building foundations would be corroded and sinkholes would be an ongoing occurrence were the headlines of the time.
Granted, AMD caused extensive environmental damage, but it was mainly restricted to the far western reaches of Gauteng and the North West Province.
Government and the private sector have also collaborated on pumping schemes and water treatment initiatives.
But if the newspapers back then were right, the deadline for the wholesale destruction of an entire city has long since passed.
The new threat, apparently, is that ZamaZamas – or illegal miners – could be the cause of a violent end to Johannesburg and its surrounding areas.
A weekend newspaper reported that underground blasting by ZamaZamas is within red zones of fuel and gas pipelines.
Tunnels underneath the CBD could result in key infrastructure such as high-ways collapsing claimed the newspaper.
The mighty FNB Stadium could be swallowed in a fall of ground it continued.
Is this the beginning of a new fear mongering narrative by the mainstream media?
Interestingly no industry bodies, apart from a vague, non-committal statement from the Minerals Council South Africa were quoted.
The Department of Mineral Resources has stated it believes there are no immediate threats to critical infrastructure as has been claimed.
It wants to confirm assertion scientifically, and proactively deal with the matter
The Council of Geosciences is expected to provide a preliminary report on the matter within two weeks.
It should make for interesting reading.
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