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Environmental News

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 Iannucci     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). 

SA miners urged to apply lessons from past clean-ups to Wonderfontein pollution

By: Esmarie Iannucci     16th October 2008 The gold-mining industry should apply knowledge gained from previous experiences in the clean-up of contaminated sites to tackle the mine-related pollution in the Wonderfontein catchment area, in South Africa's Witwatersrand, says AngloGold Ashanti environmental manager for systems and radiation... 

SA govt spending 'millions of rands' to rehabilitate abandoned mines 

By: Esmarie Iannucci     15th October 2008 South Africa's Department of Minerals and Energy is spending heavily to identify and rehabilitate derelict mines across the country, an official said on Wednesday. “Despite the economic gains that have been derived from the mining industry, the mining activities have also resulted in disastrous... 

Far-flung Limpopo town chosen for zinc air fuel cells

By: Leandi Kolver     10th October 2008 A mass alternative energy project to electrify the Tshikondeni rural community, situated 140 km from Musina, in the Limpopo province, will be introduced by the Alternative Energy Development Corporation (AEDC) in a project sponsored by diversified mining group Exxaro. 

Narrow-vein mining technique sparks interest in South Africa

By: Brindaveni Naidoo     10th October 2008 Representation of Canadian junior exploration mining company Rocmec is currently visiting South Africa, where they are holding discussions with mining companies and contractors regarding the company’s patented thermal fragmentation mining method. 

Outlook for global mining industry positive – US CEOs

By: Brindaveni Naidoo     10th October 2008 CEs of the US coal, minerals and mining equipment companies described the state of the mining industry a positive both in the US and globally, as growth in the developing world continues to fuel demand for coal, minerals and mining equipment. 

Gold-miner commits to conservation trust for life of project

By: Jonathan Faurie     3rd October 2008 Gold mining junior Pamodzi Gold has pledged further support to the Blesbokspruit Grootvaly Conservation Trust which covers the life of Pamodzi Gold mining activities in the area, reports the company. 

New product range offers major environmental benefits 

By: Dennis Ndaba     3rd October 2008 Manufacturer of biodegradable drilling fluids and chemicals Samchem has launched a range of fibre products that absorb oil from water. 

Brazilian group manages forests as well as mines

By: Keith Campbell     3rd October 2008 Brazilian group Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (Vale), the world’s third-largest mining company by market capitalisation, is active not only in diversified mining, but also in transport, energy – and the environment.  

Study commissioned to develop business case for climate change

By: Fatima Gabru     26th September 2008 The world’s third-largest gold miner AngloGold Ashanti has commissioned a group-wide climate change study to establish the company’s carbon footprint, identify adaptation and mitigation risks and opportunities, and develop a business case for addressing climate change. 

Eskom announce whether it will support Umbani Power's cogen project by month-end

By: Leandi Kolver     26th September 2008 Umbani Power would be a discard coal-fired project, and would consist of a 270-MW circulating fluidised-bed (CFB) plant, with an option for an additional 270 MW. Stewart said that a 100-ha site had been identified for the project, which was expected to use from 16-million litres to 32-million... 

Don't impose enviro tax – Chamber 

By: Martin Creamer     22nd September 2008 The South African government needs to consider holding back the imposition of the 2c/kWh environmental tax until the country has worked through the energy crisis, says Chamber of Mines economist Roger Baxter. “We have been arguing, and we are going to continue arguing, that government needs... 

RO plant to reduce fresh water intake at Namakwa Sands

By: Guy Copans     19th September 2008 Namakwa Sands, a division of Anglo Operations, has proposed constructing a reverse osmosis (RO) plant extension to its mineral separation plant (MSP) infrastructure near Lutzville in the Western Cape. 

International Council releases mine closure tool kit

By: Irma Venter     12th September 2008 The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) has released the Planning for Integrated Mine Closure toolkit, aimed at providing practical guidance to the mining and metals sector on the closure of operations. 

Local company secures package plant supply contract for Zambian mine

12th September 2008 Local water and wastewater treatment specialist VWS Envig has secured a contract to install a water treatment package plant at the Lumwana copper mine in Zambia, reports the company. 

Waratah plans legal challenge after Australian Enviro Minister blocks coal project

By: Liezel Hill     5th September 2008 Shares in coal hopeful Waratah Coal lost almost half their value on the TSX Venture Exchange on Friday, after Australia's federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett rejected the company's plans to build a coal mine, railway and port in central Queensland. The project plans were refused under the... 

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