Harvard Law School International Human Rights
Clinic has identified major human rights violations caused by the environmental
impact of gold mining in South Africa.
The 113-page report, titled The Cost of
Gold: Environmental Health, and Human Rights Consequences of Gold Mining in
South Africa’s West and Central Rand, documents the threats posed by water,
air, and soil pollution from gold mining in Johannesburg’s West and Central
The report found that acid mine drainage had
contaminated water bodies that residents use to irrigate crops, water
livestock, wash clothes, and for swimming water.
It also identified that dust from mine waste
dumps had blanketed communities.
The major contention of the report was that
government had allowed homes to be built near, and sometimes on, those toxic
and radioactive dumps.
It also said government’s slow response to
the acid mine drainage crisis had delayed efforts to deal with the problem and
allowed harm to continue.