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Environmental News

Abandoned asbestos mine rehabilitation contract renewed

By: Natasha Odendaal     18th March 2011 The rehabilitation of abandoned asbestos mines is set to continue with the three-year renewal of mineral and metallurgical specialist Mintek’s rehabilitation contract with the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR). 

Uncertainty around enviro authorisation, land use planning

By: Natasha Odendaal     18th March 2011 There is uncertainty as to whether the environmental authorisation under the National Environmental Management Act, No 107 of 1998, and land use planning approval are needed to undertake mining activities. 

Consol will pay EPA $5,5m over water pollution

By: Liezel Hill     15th March 2011 US coal and natural gas producer Consol Energy has agreed to pay a $5,5-million civil penalty over Clean Water Act violations at six mines in West Virginia, and will spend another $200-million on pollution controls to reduce harmful discharges into streams and rivers. The company said in a... 

Gold miner welcomes Pravin Gordhan’s decision to set aside R225m for tackling acid mine water

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     11th March 2011 Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s announcement in his budget speech that the government would set aside R225-million to tackle the problem of acid mine drainage (AMD) has been welcomed by troubled mining company Central Rand Gold (CRG).  

Shabangu to decide fate of Xolobeni in next 30 days 

By: Christy van der Merwe     24th February 2011 Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu would make a decision, within 30 days, on whether or not mining of heavy minerals, at the Xolobeni mine on the Wild Coast of South Africa, could proceed. This followed the Amadiba Crisis Committee’s (ACC’s) appeal of the granting of the licence, which... 

AMD report stresses ‘urgent’ intervention to avert crisis 

By: Christy van der Merwe     24th February 2011 The Department of Water Affairs (DWA) on Thursday released the long-awaited 146-page acid mine drainage (AMD) report, which was compiled by a team of water and geology experts, and presented to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on AMD in December. After assessing the situation in the Witwatersrand... 

Cabinet approves acid mine drainage report

By: Christy van der Merwe     22nd February 2011 The South African Cabinet has approved the recommendations made by a team of experts on the acid mine drainage (AMD) situation in the Witwatersrand, spokesperson Jimmy Manyi said on Tuesday. The report, which includes recommendations on control measures to reduce the rate of flooding and the... 

Randgold says carbon ranking based on incorrect data

By: Liezel Hill     16th February 2011 Randgold Resources said on Wednesday that its rating in the Environmental Investment Organisation’s (EIO's) 'Carbon Rankings Report' was based on incorrect information. The EIO ranked Randgold last in a list of 100 UK companies, in which rankings are based on greenhouse gas emissions intensity... 

Call for moratorium on new coal mining in Vaal catchment area

By: Loni Prinsloo     15th February 2011 A moratorium on new coal mining operations the Vaal river catchment area should be declared until the impact on the water resources was fully understood and adequate mitigation could be guaranteed, a speaker said at the inaugural South African Water and Energy forum in Sandton on Tuesday.... 

DMR releases Xolobeni report, concerns highlighted

By: Christy van der Merwe     11th February 2011 The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has released the ‘Holomisa Report’, which advises Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu on the Xolobeni mining right appeal. The mining right was awarded to Transworld Energy and Minerals (TEM) in 2008, for the Kwanyana block of mineral sands on the... 

Miners have ‘wait-and-see’ approach to climate change 

By: Creamer Media Reporter      31st January 2011 The global mining sector is largely adopting a “wait-and-see” approach to climate change actions, with only a few companies implementing sustainability measures while others cite the lack of a business case to introduce any response, a KPMG survey has found. But in South Africa, the situation... 

Mining, metals board makes senior appointment as it intensifies efforts to combat climate change

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     28th January 2011 CEO-led organisation the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), which serves as a catalyst for an improvement of performance in the mining industry, has appointed John Drexhage of the Canada-based International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) as its new director for... 

More hearings on Xolobeni mine scheduled for Feb

By: Christy van der Merwe     26th January 2011 A second task team would be established to hear oral presentations by parties affected by the proposed heavy minerals mine in Xolobeni, which is located on the South African Wild Coast. The hearings would be held at the Department of Mineral Resources’ (DMR’s) Durban regional office from... 

Flooding fears at Grootvlei mine as remaining pumpstation is functioning at 40% capacity – trade union

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     21st January 2011 Independent trade union Solidarity deputy general secretary Gideon du Plessis tells Mining Weekly that the union is concerned about the current situation at beleaguered miner Aurora Gold’s Grootvlei mine, as it has been informed that the only remaining pump station in the East Rand is functioning... 

Holistic solution needed to acid mine drainage problem 

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     21st January 2011 A Team of Experts (ToE) appointed to advise the South African government on acid mine drainage has recommended a number of short-term measures to address the problem. These recommendations are benchmarked on some countries that have experienced AMD challenges, such as Canada and the US. 

South Africa’s AMD/wastewater is ‘mineable’ – Turton  

By: Martin Creamer     20th January 2011 Consideration should be given to studying the economic feasibility of “mining” South Africa’s problematic acid mine drainage (AMD) and wastewater for metals, minerals, salt and even hydrogen, says Touchstone Resources director Dr Anthony Turton. Turton is a protagonist not only of “mining” AMD,... 

US Ex-Im Bank urged to deny funding to South Africa’s Kusile  

By: Martin Creamer     19th January 2011 An environmental group is urging a US government-funded bank to deny finance to South Africa’s coal-fired Kusile power project, Milwaukee’s Journal Sentinal reports. Milwaukee hosts two giant mining machine companies – Bucyrus International and Joy Global – which have asked the bank to provide... 

University of Pretoria outfit joins enviro campaigners’ bid to stop mining at CoAL’s planned Vele colliery

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     14th January 2011 South Africa’s Centre for Child Law (CCL), which is run by the University of Pretoria, has now joined nongovernmental organisations and the Save Mapungubwe Coalition Group (SMCG) in seeking an interdict to stop planned mining and to protect the World Heritage Site. 

Sierra Leone grants London Mining enviro permits for iron-ore mine

By: Jonathan Faurie     14th January 2011 UK mining junior London Mining has been issued its environmental permits for the development and operation of its Marampa iron ore mine in Sierra Leone by the Sierra Leone Environmental Protection Agency (Slepa). 

Orocobre gets key govt approval for Argentina lithium/potash project

By: Esmarie Iannucci     4th January 2011 ASX- and TSX-listed lithium developer Orocobre has received environmental approval from the Jujuy provincial government for the development of its Salar de Olaroz lithium/potash project, in Argentina. The provincial Director of Mines and Energy Resources approved the project late last month,... 

Bridging the gap

10th December 2010 Civil engineering and construction company Esorfranki Civils is expecting to complete the construction of bridges at diversified miner Xstrata’s Arthur Taylor colliery opencast mine (Atcom) East upgrade project, at the end of the year. 

Moore defends proposal to hike WA mine-rehab bonds

By: Esmarie Iannucci     3rd December 2010 Western Australia Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore has called for public to comment on the proposed reforms to the state’s environmental bonds system, amendments that are meant to ensure that mine sites are adequately rehabilitated after closure. Moore argued on Friday that the bonds... 

Samancor opens five-million-litre-a-day wastewater treatment plant

By: Jonathan Faurie     3rd December 2010 Chrome-focused mining major Samancor Tubatse Ferrochrome has officially opened its new 5-million-litre-a-day (5 000-m3/day) integrated wastewater treatment plant, near Steelpoort, Limpopo.


Environmental code for WA explorers launched

By: Esmarie Iannucci     30th November 2010 The Association for Mining & Exploration Companies (Amec), in collaboration with the Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) of Western Australia, on Tuesday launched an environmental code of practice for explorers in Western Australia. “The code has been drafted in order to provide practical and... 

Barrick says business as usual at Argentine ops 

By: Liezel Hill     26th November 2010 Barrick Gold's Veladero mine and Pascua Lama development project have not been affected by the new glacier-protection law passed in Argentina, said spokesperson Andy Lloyd. The company filed a legal action in the province of San Juan earlier this month asking for certainty that the approvals... 

BC regulator confirms review of Taseko trades

By: Liezel Hill     25th November 2010 The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) confirmed on Thursday is reviewing a referral made to it by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) regarding trading in the shares of Taseko Mines. Taseko shares plunged more than 30% in just a few hours on October 14,... 

Metal nitrates extracted from AMD used in explosives test

By: Christy van der Merwe     19th November 2010 Environmental solutions developer Earth Metallurgical Solutions (EMS), through its proprietary acid mine drainage (AMD) treatment process, has used the metal nitrates extracted from mine effluent to produce a stabiliser used in emulsion explosives. EMS CEO Richard Doyle said that the company has... 

Mooiplaats precompliance notice withdrawn – CoAL

By: Chanel de Bruyn     11th November 2010 The environmental pre-compliance notice against junior mining company Coal of Africa Limited’s (CoAL’s) Mooiplaats colliery has been withdrawn, the company reported on Thursday. CoAL CEO John Wallington said that the Mpumalanga Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (MDEDET)... 

Exxaro denies report of environmental-related Mooifontein closure 

By: Chanel de Bruyn     5th November 2010 Diversified miner Exxaro on Friday denied that its Arnot mine had been ordered to close over alleged environmental compliance issues, saying that it would continue to supply Eskom with about one-million tons a year of coal from the Mooifontein pit. Beeld newspaper reported that the Mpumalanga... 

Political leadership essential to mitigate acid mine drainage problem 

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     5th November 2010 A much anticipated report on acid mine drainage (AMD) has been referred back to the panel of experts by the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) for further work on options and cost implications. The report was tabled on October 21 but not made public. 

Mooiplaats complies with DMR requirements – CoAL 

By: Chanel de Bruyn     4th November 2010 Junior mining company Coal of Africa Limited (CoAL) does not believe the closure of its Mooiplaats colliery, in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province, is warranted, CEO John Wallington said on Thursday. He told shareholders in a statement that the company would pursue all available legal and... 

Banking group honours mining houses’ 
sustainability initiatives

By: Megan van Wyngaardt     29th October 2010 Acknowledging the contribution that responsible mining and mineral beneficiation makes to the economic development of Southern Africa, financial services company Nedbank has honoured mining companies’ efforts in promoting sustainability in industry at its yearly Nedbank Capital Green Mining Awards. 

Canadian lawmakers vote down controversial Bill C-300 

By: Liezel Hill     28th October 2010 The controversial Bill C-300 was defeated in a vote of 140 to 134 in the Canadian House of Commons on Wednesday. Bill C-300, a private members bill tabled by Liberal Member of Parliament John McKay, proposed giving the government authority to investigate complaints against resources companies... 

Alberta probes more duck landings on Syncrude tailings pond 

By: Liezel Hill     26th October 2010 The government of Alberta is investigating waterfowl landings on a Syncrude Canada tailings pond north of Fort McMurray, the province said on Tuesday. An undetermined number of ducks landed on the Mildred Lake Settling Basin on Monday evening and some are "heavily oiled", the government said. 

Cement firm’s carbon reduction efforts acknowledged

By: Creamer Media Reporter      22nd October 2010 Cement group AfriSam's carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction efforts, dubbed ‘Project Green Cement‘, were recognised during the 2010 Nedbank Capital Green Mining Awards, which took place on Thursday evening, where the company scooped the award in the environmental category. Between 2000 and 2009,... 

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... 

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