JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Africa-focused explorer and project developer Ivanhoe Mines’ 64%-owned subsidiary Ivanplats has signed an agreement with the Mogalakwena municipality, in Limpopo, for the supply of at least five-million litres of treated water a day for 32 years, starting in 2022, from the town of Mokopane’s new Masodi treatment works.
Ivanhoe executive chairperson Robert Friedland said the agreement will provide treated water to supply most of the bulk water needed for the first phase of production at the Platreef platinum group metals/nickel/copper/gold mine that is being built in the Bushveld Complex.
Ivanplats expects to begin receiving a small quantity of processed wastewater this year, after the Masodi plant has been commissioned. Further treatment will be conducted at the Platreef mine’s on-site filtration plant to ensure compliance with Ivanplats’ quality standards.
The initial supply will be used in Platreef’s ongoing underground mine development, including drilling and surface infrastructure construction.
Ivanplats estimates it will require about 7.5-million litres a day of bulk water for steady-state production during the first phase of the Platreef project.
A water-balance model developed for the mine calls for the bulk water for the first production phase to consist of five-million-litres a day from the Masodi treatment plant, with the balance provided from groundwater – from local, licenced boreholes, and rainwater collected in storage ponds at the mine.
“Our ability to reuse this assured supply of extensively upgraded wastewater that can be produced by the modern Masodi plant – from flows it receives from local households and offices – is a cost-effective and sustainable approach,” highlights Friedland.
Masodi will provide most of the water the mine needs to process ore and simultaneously help to minimise Platreef’s environmental footprint, which is central to Ivanhoe’s undertaking to build some of the greenest mines in the world.
Ivanplats MD Dr Patricia Makhesha commented that Ivanplats is on course to develop Platreef into South Africa’s next great platinum group metals mine, while ensuring environmental responsibility and resource efficiency.
“The water supply partnership with Mogalakwena municipality is an important step towards our goal of achieving a balance of economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and social responsibility,” she said.
Ivanplats published the definitive feasibility study for the first phase of the mine in July 2017 and is developing the four-million-tonne-a-year mine about 8 km from Mokopane. Processing of ore at the mine is anticipated to start in early 2022.
Ivanplats will provide financial assistance to the municipality for certified costs of up to R248-million ($19.6-million) to complete the Masodi treatment works. Ivanplats will then buy treated wastewater at a reduced rate of R5 per thousand litres for the first ten-million litres a day to offset a portion of the initial capital contributed.