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Environmental News

Mining body to zero in on climate change, effects of mine closures

By: Leandi Kolver     13th March 2009 Tackling climate change and water scarcity, as well as dealing with the evolving role of indigenous people and the effects of mine closures are some of the challenges the International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM) will be focusing on this year. 

Gold-miner implements Clean Development Mechanism projects

By: Jacqueline Holman     6th March 2009 Gold mining company Gold Fields is implementing a number of clean development mechanism (CDM) projects at its South African operations. 

Ferrous miner works on two mainstream energy efficiency initiatives

By: Fatima Gabru     27th February 2009 South African ferrous-miner, Kumba Iron Ore, is working on two mainstream energy efficiency initiatives, based on the company’s two energy sources, diesel and electricity, Kumba principal electrical engineer Christo Oliver tells Mining Weekly. 

NGOs publish sustainability reporting guidelines for mining industry

By: Christy van der Merwe     27th February 2009 Draft guidelines on sustainability reporting specially tailored for mining and metals companies have been published by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), and public comments on the document are requested.

The guidelines have been several... 

Sustainable development after mine closure 
not always possible – expert

By: Leandi Kolver     27th February 2009 Sustainable development after a mine closure is sometimes impossible, says mine closures and safety expert, Professor Phillip Frankel, who is presently developing a mine closure toolkit for Coaltech 2020. 

Australian Minister approves Xstrata mine expansion

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     20th February 2009 The Australian government has approved diversified miner Xstrata’s McArthur River nickel mine expansion, but has put in place new stringent monitoring requirements to protect the environment. Minister for the Environment, Heritage, and the Arts, Peter Garret, has now strengthened the original... 

RBM committed to the sustainable use of resources

By: Dennis Ndaba     20th February 2009 Richards Bay Minerals (RBM), a company that mines and beneficiates the minerals-rich sands in the coastal dunes of KwaZulu-Natal, and mining giant Rio Tinto are spending about R30-million from the planned budget for 2008/9 to continue all activities related to the rehabilitation of coastal dune... 

Expert calls for circumspection in deploying international mine closure toolkits

By: Leandi Kolver     20th February 2009 South African mining companies need to be careful when deploying international mine closure toolkits and must avoid simply transplanting ideas that might be relevant to another country, but are irrelevant to local circumstances, says the Centre for Sustainability in Mining and Industry’s... 

Scientists grow crops for biofuel feedstock on mine tailings

By: Liezel Hill     13th February 2009 After successful trials last year into the potential to grow crops that can be used as feedstock for biofuels on old mine tailings, scientists at Canada's Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corporation will widen the scope this year to include other crop types. The aim of the... 

Sustainable development held up by 6 arms

By: Darren Parker     13th February 2009 Diversified miner African Rainbow Minerals' (ARM's) sustainable development policy is underpinned by the notion that commercial business has a responsibility to turn the mineral wealth, with which ARM's operating countries are endowed, into tangible economic wealth. 

Agreement reached on closure plan for Yukon lead/zinc mine

By: Liezel Hill     9th February 2009 After more than five years of studies and consultations, a consensus has finally been reached on a closure plan for the 25 km2 Faro mine complex, in Canada's Yukon territory. A committee of senior officials from the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the government of Yukon, the... 

Stakeholders aspire to the advancement of women in mining

By: Carla Thomaz     6th February 2009 Past constraints resulting from legislative exclusion as well as attitudes and opinions meant an absence of women’s participation in the mining industry. Today, stakeholders aspire to higher levels of inclusiveness and advancement of women in the mining sector, through employment, financing and... 

Brazilian miner spends R80m on rehabilitation project

By: Irma Venter     30th January 2009 By the end of this year, diversified miner Vale would have spent around R80-million on the rehabilitation of its former Brazilian iron-ore project, the Córrego do Meio mine. 

Ion-exchange technology being used to mining effluent

By: Leandi Kolver     30th January 2009 Water treatment company Ionex is using ion-exchange technology to treat effluents from mining and metallurgical operations. The technology was developed in 2005 and a basic form is still in use in the original remediation project undertaken in 2006.  

Implats envisions successful GHG emissions reduction with new strategy

By: Beth Shirley     23rd January 2009 Contention arising from the emission of sulphur dioxide (SO2) from Impala Platinum's (Impala's) smelting and refining operations in both South Africa and Zimbabwe has resulted in an emission reduction strategy. 

Rio Tinto rolls out enviro initiative aimed at improving areas around its mines

By: Jonathan Faurie     23rd January 2009 Diversified mining company Rio Tinto has started to roll out its ambitious programme aimed at improving the areas surrounding mining operations. 

'Mine water will start decanting from Central Rand Basin in a few years'

By: Leandi Kolver     23rd January 2009 The Central Rand Basin is filling up with water, and within a few years it will start decanting, according to African Environmental Development technical services director Garfield Krige. 

Asbestos polluted Penge in Limpopo should be closed to human habitation

By: Brindaveni Naidoo     16th January 2009 There are limited efforts by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (Deat), and the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (Dwaf) to address the environmental issues related to asbestos contamination in Penge, in the Limpopo province, according to a report,entitled The Future of... 

River diversion prevents water from entering underground workings

By: Guy Copans     12th December 2008 In an attempt to reduce the volume of mine water that has to be pumped and treated at it’s Grootvlei Proprietary Mines Ltd’s (Grootvlei), which forms part of the East Rand Operations, gold producer Pamodzi Gold has constructed a river diversion in the Blesbokspruit to prevent surface water from... 

Sins of the fathers

By: Darren Parker     5th December 2008 Acid mine drainage (AMD) caused by a century's worth of gold mining on the Western Basin, has posed a very serious threat to the biodiversity of the region, which relies on the Basin's tainted water supply for life. 

Government urged to create company to manage abandoned mines

By: Leandi Kolver     28th November 2008 He stresses that when identifying the risks it is of the "utmost importance" that each mine is evaluated case-by-case, as well as regionally. "When developing a business plan for a mine, it should be understood that the mine workings travel underground for many kilometres and the water table... 

DRDGold spends R7-million on vegetation programme

By: Dennis Ndaba     28th November 2008 JSE-listed gold producer DRDGold says it establishes vegetation on a continious basis on tailings dams in order to prevent wind blown dust and erosion from rainwater that could result in litigation costs. These vegetation programmes have been in place since the nineteen seventies. 

Xstrata Copper submits Chile enviro study

By: Liezel Hill     25th November 2008 Xstrata Resources' copper unit has submitted an environmental impact study for the El Morro copper project, in Chile, to the local authorities for review. The $2,5-billion openpit mine is expected to produce 2 200 t/d of copper concentrates over a 14-year life. 

Environmental groups spearhead AMD resolution

By: Liam Morrison     21st November 2008 Environmental group the Western Basin Environmental Corporation (WBEC) and subsidiary of Watermark Global, the Western Utilities Corporation (WUC), are making progress in resolving and reversing the contamination of water sources in and around the Witwatersrand Basin from acid mine drainage (AMD)... 

Water reclamation plant delivers on its promise

By: Jacqueline Holman     14th November 2008 The eMalahleni water reclamation plant, established as a R300-million joint initiative between global resource companies Anglo Coal South Africa and BHP Billiton Energy Coal South Africa (Becsa), treats polluted mine water from underground workings to deliver potable and processed water to the... 

New siding an important part of Umlabu colliery's supply chain

By: Leandi Kolver     14th November 2008 The siding, which is situated about 3 km from the Umlabu coal mine, was officially opened late last month, and will, within the next few weeks, see its first train coming in. The Umlabu mine, which has a 20-year life-of-mine, previously had no rail link to transport the coal produced to the... 

Barrick gets enviro nod for Nevada mine, but may face legal challenge

By: Liezel Hill     12th November 2008 Gold-miner Barrick Gold has received a record of decision approving the environmental impact statement for its Cortez Hills project, in Nevada, the group announced on Wednesday. The record of decision is effective November 12, and is a “vitally important achievement”, Barrick North America... 

Global awareness of environmental footprint of marine mining – underwater institute

By: Brindaveni Naidoo     7th November 2008 International marine and exploration mining forum, the Underwater Mining Institute (UMI), says that there is a trend in the mining industry globally to become more aware of the environmental effects of marine mining. 

Consulting engineers design new wastewater system for KZN project

By: Jonathan Faurie     31st October 2008 Consulting engineers WSP Coastal, part of the WSP group of companies, has completed and handed over a new dense waste water marine outfall system for water management company Mhlatuze Water in Richards Bay, in KwaZulu-Natal. 

Human rights lawyer blasts compensation system for asbestos disease sufferers

By: Brindaveni Naidoo     31st October 2008 A significant challenge facing asbestos-related disease (ARD) sufferers is South Africa’s “antiquated” and “dysfunctional” compensation system, says human rights lawyer and activist Richard Spoor.  

Pressure on for cleaner coal use

By: Martin Creamer     24th October 2008 While many countries are now pursuing coal-to-liquids (CTL) as a means of providing transport fuel, many see the need for CTL to clean up its act in order to lessen its impact on climate change through excessive carbon dioxide (CO2) emission. 

Coal-mining hotbed menace to conservation groups

By: Sylvester Haskins     24th October 2008 The Mpumalanga province has a total of 65 coal mines, producing 80% of South Africa’s total coal production, and creating abundant employment opportunities in the region.  

90 000 dying yearly from asbestos-related illnesses globally

By: Brindaveni Naidoo     24th October 2008 About 125-million people around the world, of whom 48-million are in South Africa, are exposed to asbestos at work, with at least 90 000 dying each year from diseases associated with this fibrous mineral, according to the World Health Organisation.  

Conventional Land Reform Design Falling into Disfavour

By: Guy Copans     24th October 2008 While engineers have been responsible for designing the conventional structural approach to land reform design, it is rapidly falling into disfavour owing to the perpetual maintenance that is required after mine closure, says professional services company Golder Associates’ principal member, Les... 

Ivernia pares staff to cut costs

By: Liezel Hill     23rd October 2008 TSX-listed Ivernia, which is waiting for approvals to restart its Magellan lead mine, in Western Australia, will retrench 18 employees, mainly from the mine site, the company announced on Thursday. The decision to reduce payroll costs was a response to the global financial turmoil, and was aimed... 

Winners of 2008’s Green Mining Awards announced

By: Esmarie Swanepoel     23rd October 2008 On Thursday evening, financial services firm Nedbank Capital announced the winners of its yearly Green Mining Awards. For the first time since the inception of the awards, an honour was given to a company operating outside of South Africa’s border. “The response to this year’s awards was very... 

New State mining company exempt from ‘application’ criteria only – DME 

By: Martin Creamer     21st October 2008 The State mining company is exempt from the “application” criteria of South Africa’s minerals legislation only, and not from the legislation’s key “granting” criteria, says Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) DDG Jacinto Rocha. Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica has, in a... 

Remediation plans under discussion for Wonderfontein Spruit catchment area

By: Loni Prinsloo     17th October 2008 Radioactive waste outside mining areas in the catchment of the Wonderfontein Spruit poses no risk to the public, state experts brought in by the Department of Water Affairs (Dwaf) and the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR). 

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