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Environmental News

Report on acid water presented to Ministers

By: Creamer Media Reporter      22nd October 2010 The team of experts compiling a report on the acid mine drainage (AMD) situation in the Witwatersrand has completed the report, and on Thursday presented it to the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC). The Ministers discussed the findings with the experts, and asked the team to identify more... 

Cape Alumina mine ‘unviable’ under Wild Rivers law

By: Esmarie Iannucci     18th October 2010 Queensland Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Stephen Robertson said on Monday that the state government would not be amending its Wild Rivers law, despite an announcement by ASX-listed Cape Alumina that the legislation had made its Pisolite Hills bauxite mine “unviable”. Cape Alumina... 

Xstrata Copper completes closure, rehabilitation of Quebec smelter

By: Liezel Hill     8th October 2010 Xstrata Copper has completed a five-year demolition and rehabilitation programme at the site of its closed Gaspe copper smelter, in Murdochville, Quebec, the firm said on Friday. Xstrata said it spent $130-million to complete reclamation and rehabilitation work at the Gaspe site and nearby Sandy... 

Water project funded by Anglo Coal, BHP Billiton 
a boon for Mpumalanga community

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     8th October 2010 Five years after the inception and three years after the opening of the eMalahleni Water Reclamation Plant, situated in Mpumalanga province, the community surrounding the plant has experienced a substantial improvement to its quality of life. 

Despite widespread ban on asbestos, several countries continue to produce the mineral fibre

By: Brindaveni Naidoo     8th October 2010 While 52 countries worldwide have banned the use of asbestos, as of March 2010, Canada, Brazil, Columbia, Zimbabwe, China, Kazakhstan and Russia are some of the leading producers, with Asia and the Middle East showing increasing production and use of the fatal mineral fibre.  

Bateman making inroads into India’s minerals sector

By: Jonathan Faurie     8th October 2010 South African engineering company Bateman Engineering, through its business unit Bateman India, which is based in Bangalore, is making increasing inroads into the Indian minerals sector, having recently received a number of contract awards for processing projects, as well as making good progress... 

EMS completes trials to convert AMD to potable water

By: Christy van der Merwe     4th October 2010 Environmental solutions developer Earth Metallurgical Solutions (EMS) said it had completed trials proving that acid mine drainage (AMD) and AMD brines could be converted to potable water and saleable by-products, including fertiliser, explosives and the thermal salts for concentrated solar power... 

Canada names panel to study oil sands water concerns

By: Liezel Hill     30th September 2010 Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice has appointed an independent advisory panel of scientists to look into the environmental management systems of oil sands operations in Alberta. The panel was appointed in response to concerns about industrial pollution in the Athabasca river and... 

Sonjica expects AMD report by mid-October

By: Christy van der Merwe     30th September 2010 South Africa's Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica expects the acid mine drainage (AMD) report, being compiled by a team of experts, to be delivered on or around October 15. She stated that the InterMinisterial Committee (IMC) that had been appointed by Cabinet to address... 

Debate continues on law to protect Argentina's glaciers

By: Francisca Pouiller     23rd September 2010 Another debate took place this week on Argentina's proposed glacier protection law, on which on which senators are scheduled to vote on September 30. The current version is partly a merged version of two competing laws proposed by Deputy Miguel Bonasso and Senator Daniel Filmus. 

No resolution yet on Argentina glacier bill

By: Francisca Pouiller     16th September 2010 Voting by lawmakers on a proposed law to protect glaciers in Argentina continues to face delays, and there is doubt from several sides whether an agreement can be reached. The bill aims to protect the country's glaciers by banning industrial activity in sensitive areas. 

SA needs R1,46bn to deal with abandoned mines

By: Loni Prinsloo     15th September 2010 South Africa's Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) assured Parliament on Wednesday that it would swiftly decide on the appropriate solutions to tackle problems posed by ownerless and derelict (O&D) mines, as well as acid mine drainage (AMD). DMR director general (DG) Sandile Nogxina told the... 

Doe Run smelter closure leaves local economy devastated

By: Francisca Pouiller     13th September 2010 More than 70% of the 3 500 people who were employed by Doe Run Peru in the region of Junin have returned to their home towns or gone seeking work elsewhere, according to local newspaper El Comercio. General economic activity in the city of La Oroya, where life has revolved around metallurgical... 

Newly launched atlas identifies viable sites for SA carbon storage  

By: Christy van der Merwe     10th September 2010 South African Energy Minister Dipuo Peters on Friday launched the South African Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Atlas for the geological storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) deep underground. The Atlas highlighted, at a theoretical level, that South Africa had about 150 Gigatons (Gt) of storage... 

Alberta govt charges Suncor over water runoff violations

By: Liezel Hill     10th September 2010 The government of Alberta has laid charges against Suncor Energy for alleged violations related to the company's responsibility to manage stormwater run-off at its Voyageur upgrader site, about 20 km north of Fort McMurray. “The charges relate to non-compliance with Suncor’s Water Act licence... 

New drilling system uses 60% less water 
than existing systems – manufacturer

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     10th September 2010 Water hydraulic drilling systems manufacturer Peterstow Aquapower has developed an environment-friendly drilling technology, which could save mining companies exponential capital and operational costs, while also reducing the industry’s environmental effect. 

Miners willing to assist in finding AMD solution – Chamber

By: Christy van der Merwe     8th September 2010 South Africa's Chamber of Mines (CoM) was prepared to assist the government in finding acid mine drainage (AMD) solutions that would deal with underground flooding and eliminate potential harm to people, in a sustainable way. "We wish to express our support and commitment to the Minister and her... 

Experts to compile report on extent of AMD problem 

By: Christy van der Merwe     6th September 2010 South Africa has appointed an InterMinisterial Committee (IMC) to address the acid mine drainage (AMD) issue in the Western and Central basins of the Witwatersrand, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica said on Monday. The IMC, which held its first meeting last week, has... 

Govt-halted CoAL 'left no choice' but to lay off 596, unions march 

By: Martin Creamer     1st September 2010 The directive of the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to halt mining at the Vele colliery has left Coal of Africa Limited (CoAL) "with no choice" but to reduce its workforce by 596 people, CoAL CEO John Wallington said on Wednesday. CoAL's plans involve mining and rehabilitation taking... 

Canada launches mine waste management studies in Quebec

By: Liezel Hill     20th August 2010 The Canadian government will spend C$600 000 on two detailed studies at mining sites in the city of Thetford Mines, in Quebec, to look at potential waste management strategies, Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis announced on Friday. Thetford Mines was once the hub of one of the world's... 

Miners to work with govt acid-drainage response team 

By: Terence Creamer     19th August 2010 A special Ministerial-level task team has been assembled by the South African government to develop a coordinated strategy to deal "urgently" with the issue of acid-water drainage, which some believe poses a serious threat to South Africa's water resources, the country's environment, human health... 

CoAL ordered to stop work at Vele project 

By: Creamer Media Reporter      10th August 2010 South Africa’s environmental management inspectorate, the Green Scorpions, has issued a compliance notice to Aim-, ASX- and JSE-listed Coal of Africa Limited (CoAL) to cease with activities that were in contravention of the country’s National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) at its Vele... 

Anglo colliery establishing biodiversity park on mined-out area to ensure ‘bright future for the community’

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     6th August 2010 As part of its commitment to the environment, coal mining giant Anglo Thermal Coal’s New Vaal Colliery has started a rehabilitation programme, ensuring an improved future for both the environment and community. 

Aurora to increase pumping capacity at Grootvlei

By: Loni Prinsloo     5th August 2010 Troubled gold-miner Aurora Empowerment Systems said on Thursday that it would increase its pumping volumes at its Grootvlei mine near Springs in an effort to avert the danger of acid water flooding its operations and resulting in an environmental catastrophe. Aurora MD Zondwa Mandela told Mining... 

New EIA regulations now in effect in South Africa

By: Creamer Media Reporter      2nd August 2010 South Africa's new environmental impact assessment (EIA) regulations came into effect on Monday, which the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) said started the official implementation process of a new regime aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of EIAs. The National... 

Xstrata to release details of Mt Isa lead source study in 2011

By: Esmarie Iannucci     2nd August 2010 Diversified miner Xstrata plans to release of the second and third phases of its lead pathways study, which examines potential lead sources near its Mount Isa mine, next year, COO Steve de Kruijff said on Monday. Phase three of the study, which focuses on water, would be released in early 2011,... 

Arch not too excited after W Virginia permit approval

By: Liezel Hill     30th July 2010 The recent approval of an openpit coal-mining permit for Arch Coal's Pine Creek mine, in West Virginia, does not change the fact that it is almost impossible to get permits in Central Appalachia at the moment, Arch CEO Steven Leer said on Friday. The Environmental Protection Agency is cracking... 

Queensland allows Pisolite Hills bauxite EIS extension

By: Esmarie Iannucci     30th July 2010 The Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management has extended the environmental-impact assessment (EIS) deadline on ASX-listed Cape Alumina’s Pisolite Hills bauxite mine and port project. Cape Alumina now had until September 2011 to complete the EIS and submit it to the... 

Grootvlei gold mine will flood in five days – Dept 

By: Sapa     27th July 2010 The water treatment plant at the Grootvlei mine near Springs will flood with acid mine water in five days, closing down operations, if action is not taken, the Water Affairs Department said on Tuesday. "The plant is only pumping 40 megalitres of acid mine water a day, but it needs to pump 108... 

Parliament committee visits AMD sites in Witwatersrand basin

By: Christy van der Merwe     27th July 2010 The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Water Affairs on Tuesday started site visits to areas in the Witwatersrand basin affected by acid mine drainage (AMD). The portfolio committee would also visit the Hartebeespoort Dam to assess the extent of eutrophication in the dam. 

Mining companies criticise Argentina glacier law

By: Francisca Pouiller     20th July 2010 Mining companies in Argentina have expressed disappointment after the country's Chamber of Deputies last week voted in favour of a law to protect mountain glaciers and surrounding areas from mining and industrial activity. The Argentine Mining Companies Group (known by the acronym Gemera in... 

Argentina's Chamber of Deputies approves glacial protection law 

By: Francisca Pouiller     15th July 2010 After over 12 hours of debate, lawmakers in Argentina's Chamber of Deputies on Thursday approved a law aimed at protecting the country's glaciers by banning industrial activity in sensitive areas. The law for the protection of national glaciers was approved in the early hours of the morning by... 

Bauxite seeks enviro approval for 2Mt/y WA operation

By: Esmarie Iannucci     25th June 2010 ASX-listed Bauxite Resources on Friday reported that it would apply to the Western Australian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to develop a two-million ton a year mining operation north of Bindoon. Bauxite Resources also said that it would withdraw its appeal on a previous EPA decision... 

Matla colliery implements enviro-friendly underground mining expansion project

By: Jonathan Faurie     18th June 2010 The Matla coal mine, owned by diversified South African resources group Exxaro Resources, is in the process of rolling out a wetland conservation project which enables it to expand its underground operations, while preserving one of the larger and ecologically valuable wetland systems on... 

Optimum Coal launches R600m water treatment plant 

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     18th June 2010 With predictions indicating that South Africa will experience significant water shortages in the next 15 years, a number of companies are working to improve the management of their water resources. 

US suspends Appalachian permitting system

By: Liezel Hill     17th June 2010 The US Army Corps of Engineers has suspended a mine permitting system in six Appalachian states, in a move that will make it more difficult and time consuming for coal miners to permit new surface operations. Nationwide Permit 21 (NWP 21), which was introduced to streamline the permitting... 

Zim government finalising review of minerals law

By: Jonathan Faurie     11th June 2010 Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe says that the review of the country’s Mines and Minerals Act is progressing satisfactorily. 

Allegations against Guatemalan mine 'entirely without merit' - Goldcorp

By: Liezel Hill     10th June 2010 The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has asked the Guatemalan government to suspend Goldcorp's Marlin mine in the country, but the Vancouver-based company says the request is based on "environmental allegations that are entirely without merit". The government of Guatemala has... 

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