Mar 22, 2012
SA may turn to private sector for help with mine-water pollutionBack
Johannesburg|Mogale City|AMD|Design|Pipelines|PROJECT|Projects|Pumps|Resources|Sustainable|Technology|Testing|Water|D HDS Plant|Director Water Quality Management|Long-term Solution|Long-term Solutions|Longer-term Solution|Short-term Solution|Short-term Solutions|Solutions|Sustainable Solution|Term Solutions|Environmental|Edna Molewa|Infrastructure|Marius Keet|Rand Uranium|Mine Water|Pipelines
© Reuse this
It was estimated that R924-million was needed to implement a short-term AMD solution for the region, but that even more resources would be required for a comprehensive long-term solution.
However, the National Treasury had only made R433-million available. Therefore, the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) and Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) would explore the possibility of testing the “open market” for input in finding a sustainable solution.
Molewa expected the responses to address all aspects of AMD including institutional matters, financial matters, technology and the operation and implementation of the treatment plants in the Witwatersrand.
“Once we have more clarity on the way forward and on the process that could be followed to speed up the long-term solutions, my department will make further announcements in this regard,” Molewa stated, while stressing the need for a “smooth integration” between the short-term and long –term solutions.
DWA acting director water quality management for Gauteng Marius Keet agreed that linking the long- and short-term solutions was crucial in achieving success. “The challenge is to ensure interaction between the short- and long-term solutions to secure business case and thereby protect valuable water resources,” he noted.
The design philosophy for the short-term solution to AMD treatment in the Witwatersrand basins stipulated that facilities should have a lifespan of 30 to 50 years and would, thus, comprise the first phase of any longer-term solution.
Giving delegates an update on AMD treating projects in the Witwatersrand basins Keet said the current mine water status of the eastern basins was 588 m below surface (mbs) in February, where the environmental critical level (ECL) was 290 m. In the central basin, levels were recorded to be 353 mbs in March, well below the ECL of 174 m, while the ECL had been breached in the western basin resulting in surface decant.
The treatment plants were expected to halve the amount of sulphates, or salts, in the decanting water.
The infrastructure included in the short-term solution included pumps, partial treatment using hydro desulphuriser (HDS), sludge disposal facilities and pipelines.
Key to the immediate remedy was an upgrade to Rand Uranium’s treatment plant to a capacity to about 36 Ml/d from its current capacity of between 10 Ml/d and 12 Ml/d. The project was on schedule to be implemented during April.
“Currently about 36 Ml/d of AMD is running into Tweelopiespruit, of which only about 12 Ml /d is being partially treated. We hope to have no untreated water discharging into the river by April,” Keet said.
The treated water would then be discharged into Tweelopiespruit, while sludge would be deposited into the Wes Wits pit, with the aid of Mogale City.
At the central basin the aim was to construct a new HDS plant next to the South West Vertical shaft that would have a capacity of 84 Ml/d. Treated water would be transferred to the Elsburgspruit and the commissioning date was set for April 2013. Sludge would be disposed with the support of DRDGold.
On the eastern basin, a 110 Ml/d HDS plant would be built and treated water discharged into the nearby Blesbokspruit. The plant was expected to be commissioned in June 2014.
The DMR had also appointed the Council for Geosciences to identify and stop ingress in seven basins including the eastern, central and western basins. The feasibility of additional ingress control measures in the central basin was being investigated.
Further, Molewa said the feasibility study for a long-term solution for AMD in the Witwatersrand, which started in January, was expected to be completed by February 2013. The study focused on investigating possible management scenarios, an analysis of technical options and the optimal infrastructure configuration.
Molewa urged the business sector, general public and government to stand together in finding a solution to the AMD emergency.
The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomed the intervention, which it said echoed similar calls made by the party, as well as various environmental groups, since 2009.
“The problem with AMD is not the absence of a desire for a collective effort or possible solutions, but rather a lack of meaningful action and commitment of resources to the problem. Hopefully the Minister will back up her call by immediately leading a clear, open and participative process rapidly developing solutions and instantly implementing them,” the DA said in a statement.
Edited by: Terence Creamer© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Creamer Media Editor
Updated 2 hours 53 minutes ago A week ahead of the second annual gathering of the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (Focac), in Johannesburg, the JSE is rolling out the proverbial red carpet for Chinese investors looking to Africa’s largest bourse for possible investment opportunities, calling...
Updated 2 hours 54 minutes ago The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) applied for leave to appeal on Friday against the Western Cape High Court judgment that set aside the approvals that would enable it to toll sections of the N1 and N2 freeways in Cape Town. This prompted the...
Updated 3 hours ago The National Empowerment Fund (NEF) has, since its inception in 2005, approved funding of R6.6-billion in 688 transactions, supporting over 82 900 jobs. Nearly R4.6-billion had been disbursed to companies, while over R1-billion had been repaid by investees.
Recent Research Reports
Water 2015: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2015 Report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context but also in the African and global context in terms of supply and demand, water stress and insecurity, and access to water and sanitation, besides others.
Input Sector Review: Pumps 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2015 Input Sector Review on Pumps provides an overview of South Africa’s pumps industry with particular focus on pump manufacture and supply, aftermarket services, marketing strategies, local and export demand, imports, sector support, investment...
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
Road and Rail 2015: A review of South Africa's road and rail sectors (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2015 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 infrastructure and network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and...
Defence 2015: A review of South Africa's defence sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Coal 2015 report examines South Africa’s coal industry with regards to the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local demand, export sales and coal logistics, projects being undertaken by the large and smaller participants in the...
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
This Week's Magazine
The BMW Group will invest R6-billion at BMW Group South Africa’s (BMW SA’s) Rosslyn plant to produce the next-generation X3 sports-activity vehicle (SAV) for the local and export markets. Rosslyn will continue production of the current 3 Series through its lifecycle,...
The lack of consequences for poor performance and transgressions on the part of contractors remains a significant hurdle to tackling South Africa’s service delivery challenges, delegates heard at the Consulting Engineers South Africa Infrastructure Indaba, on...
City of Ekurhuleni executive mayor Mondli Gungubele earlier this month officially named the city’s bus rapid transit (BRT) system, Harambee.
About 58% of unstructured data stored by companies is dark data, which means that the value or regulatory importance of the data has not been determined. Subsequently, most of the stored data add costs, rather than increasing revenue or reduce regulatory risks, says...
Effective logistics, import/export and manufacturing consulting services require detailed industry knowledge and experience, but can add significant value to these industries by providing expert advice on various technical elements in their value chains, says...