JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Black-owned and black-managed mining company Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat) is investigating the use of renewable energy sources and investing in the upgrading of its tailings storage facilities.
The company said in reply to Mining Weekly Online during question time at Tuesday’s presentation of turnaround results that it is doing a study on potential solar energy for Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine (BRPM) – not total load – and for its housing development in Rustenburg. (Also watch attached Creamer Media video.)
“It’s a feasibility study and we should get something on that towards the end of this year,” said RBPlat executive head: operations Neil Carr.
Both of RBPlats tailings dams are being upgraded for further capacity. One of these is the tailings dam serving the BRPM, which was established in the late 1990s, and the other is the Maseve tailings dam, which RBPlat acquired last year. This year’s capital spend on both tailings dams will be R0.3-billion.
Now that BRPM is milling at a rate of 250 000 t a month, the tailings facility has to be expanded to get the rate of rise within recommended levels.
The design of RBPlat’s tailings dams is different to the upstream design of the tailings dam that burst in Brazil last month, killing more than 30 people, and the local topography is flat, as opposed to the mountainous terrain in Brazil.
The initial starter wall is built inwards and not much water is stored in the dams.
“We have very strong operational management of our tailings dams and we have oversight from a third-party consultant on a quarterly basis. We’re evaluating all of that with these recent failures to find out whether we’re doing enough or whether we need to do more to make sure our tailings dams are safe,” Carr explained to Mining Weekly Online.