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|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|Water|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)
Other Intellectual Property Law News
Health and safety consulting companies have been flourishing in recent years. Legislation is becoming more and more stringent. Ever-changing workplaces, new technologies are also some of the contributing factors. Companies are also under pressure to ensure that...
Pedestrian Door Solutions specialists, ASSA ABLOY Entrance Systems South Africa (Pty) Ltd., have supplied and installed a number of Besam entrance systems to medical facilities both in South Africa and outside the country’s borders that offer fast, convenient and...
Rubber-in-compression couplings, from Renold Hi-Tec, provide fail-safe operation on applications such as mine winders, hoists, draw-works on drilling rigs and industrial overhead cranes. The intrinsically fail-safe construction of the couplings protects both people...
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
Today’s organisations execute projects within increasingly complex environments – particularly in the engineering sector. The ability to successfully execute these projects is what drives the realisation of successful projects and, ultimately, the achievement of...
South Africa’s distribution grid is a twentieth-century relic, which must be changed to serve the country’s modern electricity needs, says South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi) Smart Grid Programme manager Dr Minnesh Bipath. “What we are...
There is a disparity in government funding provided to integrated transport networks – bus rapid transit (BRT) networks ¬¬– and that given to conventional bus services, says Putco executive director Thys Heyns. “We have neglected and strangled conventional bus...
The Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco) is building 502 rental housing units, valued at R200-million, in Dobsonville, Soweto, which are scheduled for completion in June 2016.
Automotive component manufacturer and distributor Metair is centralising its research and development (R&D) work in Turkey, in an attempt to bolster the company’s ability to produce affordable start/stop batteries. The new R&D centre is part of an expansion plan in...