Can the South African government avert potentially the worst environmental mining disaster in history? According to recent reports, toxic liquids in abandoned underground gold mines have now reached a level between 500 metres to 700 metres below the surface of the city of Johannesburg and beyond.
Independent studies show the water is rising on average by about 15 metres a month. So – in theory, and according to one expert: “If the pumps are in place by March 2012, we will protect th[e] environment”.
But that’s a big “If” – especially should even more savage rains impact the region, as they did recently.