South Africa’s Harmony Gold Mining Ordered Paying for Pollution

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(Bloomberg) – Harmony Gold Mining Co. (HAR), Africa’s third-largest manufacturer of the yellow metal, should pay to clean up water pollution beside mines west of Johannesburg even after trading the land five years before, South Africa’s Court of apply directed.

Harmony, which owned the influenced locality in the West Rand from 2003 to 2008, should assist to restoration costs with Simmer & Jack Mines Ltd. and AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., the court ruled.

Harmony reasoned that its duties completed after it sold the land to Pamodzi Gold Orkney (Pty) Ltd. in Feb. 2008. Since then Pamodzi has been liquidated.

Widespread gold extraction in the West Rand by Harmony, AngloGold and Simmer formed a sequence of interlinking tunnels and cavities that have inundated since excavation ceased. The rock comprises metal sulfide, which oxidizes, conceives sulfuric unpleasant and dissolves other toxic metals when it interacts with water and air. This acidic fluid can pollute the water provide.

Harmony’s contention “would outcome in the absurdity that a polluter could walk away from contamination caused by it with impunity, irrespective of the principle that it should pay the charges of stopping, commanding or minimizing and remedying the pollution,” the court said. The appeal had “no merit.”

On Thursday, Henrika Basterfield, a representative for Randfontein-based Harmony, said “We’re working through the results and considering our legal options,”

The company had appealed against a 2005 directive handed out by the local controller of the Department of Water activities, which claimed that Harmony ought to share rehabilitation costs with Simmer, AngloGold and Stilfontein Gold Mining Co., which since then has gone into liquidation.