South Africa charges mining firm that polluted river at national park

South Africa’s Department of Water and Environmental Affairs (DWEA) has laid criminal charges against mining firm Bosveld Phosphate after one of its tailing dams overflowed in late December, causing major pollution of two rives that run through Kruger National Park.

According to the government’s news agency, highly acidic water flowed from a dam filled with waste rock into Selati River, resulting in “a massive fish kill” over a 15km stretch of water.

The stream is an important tributary of the Olifants River, considered one the most environmentally stressed in South Africa and an important shared watercourse with Mozambique.

DWEA director for compliance monitoring and enforcement, Nigel Adams, said that samples had revealed water quality in the dam was well below the levels stipulated by the National Water Act.

Separately, SANParks added it had taken "immediate precautions" to ensure safe water supply to tourist camps in the park, home to about 147 species, including lions, rhinos, elephants, water buffaloes and leopards.

Image: Shingwedzi river during the dry winter months, Kruger National Park, WikiMedia Commons.