Jul 26, 2012
Decanting acid mine water could be an opportunityBack
Johannesburg|AMD|Resources|Water|North-West University|Energy|Mining|Environmental|Frank Winde|Water|Mine Water
© 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
State-owned diamond mining company Alexkor must comply with financial audits and find new sources of cash, new Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown urged on Thursday. In an Alexkor annual general meeting address, which was distributed to the media following the...
London-listed Petra Diamonds on Thursday outlined major upcoming elevations in the economics of its mining operations, which upped production in the 12 months to June 30 to enable the buoyant diamond mining company to post a 47% increase in earnings and consider...
The gold industry needed to make money once more, and return to fundamentals if it was to succeed in competing with the gold exchange traded funds (ETFs) for coveted capital, the world’s seventh-largest gold producer by output said on Thursday. In delivering a...
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
This Week's Magazine
Updated 7 hours ago While Ekurhuleni-based transformer manufacturer Reliable Transformers currently designs, manufactures and tests its products according to the SANS 780 specifications for distribution transformers and other applicable transformer specifications, it is working towards...
Updated 7 hours ago Global endpoint security solutions company Kaspersky Lab has introduced new measures to prevent cyber criminals from accessing sensitive data, alongside its malware-signature and heuristic device analysis detection methods. Threats to mobile devices have increased...
Updated 7 hours ago To ensure uptake and a positive impact, Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) networks in cities must be provided at schools, community centres and commercial centres to enable citizens and government to access information that will improve access to and delivery of services....
Updated 7 hours ago Eco-estate Monaghan Farm, located near Lanseria airport, north-west of Johannesburg, has taken a new approach to modern living and sustainability with its 517 ha development, dedicated to farm living.
Updated 7 hours ago Forklift and lift-truck distributor Goscor Lift Hi-Reach launched the Genie SX-180, the tallest self-propelled super boom in Africa, in Johannesburg last month. “As the official distributor of the well-known Genie range of equipment in Southern Africa, we are pleased...