Jul 26, 2012
Decanting acid mine water could be an opportunityBack
Johannesburg|AMD|Environment|Mining|Petroleum|Resources|Sustainable|Water|North-West University|Energy|Environmental|Frank Winde|Water|Mine Water|Operations
© Reuse this
Speaking at the yearly Sustainability Week in Johannesburg, Winde, who headed a research study into acid mine drainage (AMD) in 2011, said a range of opportunities had to be explored for the possible use of decanting mine water.
“Untreated acidic mine water has been used in the past by municipal sewage works in the Central Rand to aid nitrate digestion. Given the number of sewage works in Johannesburg and the volume of sewage to be treated, this alone could perhaps accommodate most, if not all, of the decanting water, resulting in no treatment costs while saving clean water otherwise used for this purpose.
“This is but one example from a range of other possibilities that should be explored,” he said.
Winde also reiterated that the mining industry and government had more time to find a solution for AMD in the Central basin than what has been reported over the past few years.
Citing his 2011 report, which downplayed the risk of AMD flooding in Johannesburg’s central business district, he said that there was a significantly slower rise of the underground mine-water table, a significantly lower volume of decant and a far less severe impact of untreated decant water on the quality of receiving streams than previously reported.
The research study called for a sustainable, low-cost, low-energy solution to the problem, rather than the proposed high-cost, high-energy, pump-and-treatment-option likely to be subsidised by society.
Mining companies argue that the responsibility of dealing with AMD, which is viewed as a mining legacy issue and an ownerless liability, should not be laid solely at the feet of mining companies.
Chamber of Mines head of environment Stephina Mudau said that ownerless and derelict mine sites were the sole responsibility of the State, which should manage the environmental impacts caused during historic mining operations and the effects thereof.
She pointed out that legislation, such as the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act along with the National Environmental Management Act kept operational mines from repeating the mistakes from the past.
“There is also opportunity for partnership and cooperation in dealing with the legacies of acid mine drainage,” Mudau said.
AMD has already been decanting in the Western basin since 2002.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Mining News
Canadian mineral explorer Ivanhoe Mines and China’s Zijin Mining Group have agreed to codevelop the Kamoa copper discovery, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Under the terms of the agreement, Zijin, through its subsidiary Gold Mountains International Mining,...
The definitive mining feasibility study (DMFS) for Phase 2 of Tanzania-focused mineral explorer Kibo Mining’s Mbeya coal-to-power project, in Tanzania, remains on schedule and “well” within budget, with early results indicating the potential for “signicant”...
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
While economic forecasts for the African continent are most favourable, African airlines may not be able to benefit from the expected growth in the region’s gross domestic product (GDP), International Air Transport Association VP: Africa Raphael Kuuchi has warned....
The Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) will need to change substantially post 2020, says Metair Investments South African operations COO Ken Lello. “We must not make tweaks. We have to change. What we are doing is not sustainable.”
Banking group Absa’s forecast is for the rand to end the year at around R13 against the dollar, weakening further to R13.50 by 2016, says Absa sectoral analyst Jacques du Toit. He warns that possible interest rate hikes in the US may see capital being pulled from...
The Dispute Resolution Centre at the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI) is now open to handle party-to-party disputes. The BCCEI represents the interests of all level four to nine Construction Industry Development Board companies.
Communications technology firm Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa head Fredrik Jejdling says the company’s commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility has been integrated into all facets of its operations, which has provided it with sustainable revenue...