Mar 22, 2012
SA may turn to private sector for help with mine-water pollutionBack
Johannesburg|Mogale City|AMD|D HDS Plant|Director Water Quality Management|Long-term Solution|Long-term Solutions|Longer-term Solution|Short-term Solution|Short-term Solutions|Sustainable Solution|Term Solutions|Edna Molewa|Marius Keet|Rand Uranium
© 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
Other Water News
Updated 2 hours 33 minutes ago As industry prepares for the launch of South Africa’s digital terrestrial migration, the South African Communications Forum (SACF) hosted a workshop to determine the country’s readiness in terms of compliance of set-top boxes [STBs] and access to funding. The...
Updated 2 hours 50 minutes ago Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande has outlined plans for the development of a new health and allied sciences university into which the Medical University of Southern Africa (Medunsa) campus of the University of Limpopo, located in Ga-Rankuwa, will...
Updated 2 hours 59 minutes ago The costs of communicating have to drop, Communications Minister Yunus Carrim said on Wednesday. "Clearly, the costs have to come down. It's not just in the interests of the poor and disadvantaged but the economy as a whole," Carrim said in a statement following a...
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2014: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2014 report provides an overview of 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 steel and stainless...
Projects in Progress 2014 - First Edition (PDF Report)
This publication contains insight into progress at the delayed Medupi and Kusile coal-fired projects, in Mpumalanga and Limpopo respectively, as well as at the Ingula pumped-storage scheme, which is under construction on the border between the Free State and...
Automotive 2014: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
The report provides insight into the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local construction demand, geographic diversification, competition within the sector, corporate activity, skills, safety, environmental considerations and the challenges...
Construction 2014: A review of South Africa's construction sector (PDF Report)
Construction data released during 2013 hints at a halt to the decline in the industry during the last few years, with some commentators averring that the industry could be poised for recovery. However, others have urged caution, noting that the prospects for a...
Electricity 2014: A Review of South Africa's Electricity Sector (PDF Report)
This report provides an overview of the state of electricity generation and transmission in South Africa and examines electricity planning, investment in generation capacity, electricity tariffs, the role of independent power producers and demand-focused initiatives,...
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
This Week's Magazine
The Electronic Systems Laboratory (ESL) of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University is strongly reaffirming its position as one of South Africa’s leading centres for satellite technology and expertise. It is currently...
The world’s lowest-cost diesel-electric locomotive is not made in China, but in Pretoria, at RRL Grindrod Locomotives’ newly upgraded 30 000 m2 plant. The company’s locomotive pricing is “more competitive than any other original-equipment manufacturer (OEM)...
The South African Defence Review 2012, released to the public at the end of last month (despite the year given in its title) recommends the creation of the post of Chief Defence Scientist. This official would be responsible for the management of defence technology...
AltX-listed engineering technology company Ansys has been awarded an R188-million contract by Transnet to supply integrated dashboard display systems to the freight rail utility’s locomotives. Black-owned and controlled Ansys developed the bespoke integrated system...
South Africa’s sole nuclear power station Koeberg, which is located in the Western Cape, breached a major operations milestone on April 4, which marked the thirtieth anniversary of Unit 1 having been connected to the grid. Eskom, which operates the two-unit plant,...