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Sustainability Features

Coal-to-liquid – an evaluation

By Matthew Wood - writer

Coal liquefaction has always been a fascinating topic and has taken the South African industry by storm. MMPR did its homework and gathered some choice pieces of information to highlight current trends. World petroleum and other liquid fuels consumption will increase 38% by 2040, spurred by increased demand in the developing Asia and Middle East, according to projections in International Energy Outlook 2014 (IEO2014), released toward the end of last year by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

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Rehabilitation – thinking green

By Matthew Wood – Writer

Modern mine rehabilitation aims to alleviate the environmental effects of modern mining.

Closure and rehabilitation are important considerations during Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and throughout the life of the mine or prospecting.

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Home improvement – addressing housing problems in the industry

Health and safety for personnel on the job has been discussed at great length across MMPR’s publications. However a miner’s wellbeing includes a feasible housing plan, for him/her and
the family. President Jacob Zuma has already warned mining companies to come to the party regarding improved living conditions for its miners.

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The leftovers – reprocessing of old mine dumps

By: Matthew Wood – staff writer

Gauteng’s old mine dumps appear to some residents as major eyesores. But they don’t see the economic benefit that these ancient relics might hold for South Africa? To what extent can the reprocessing of old mine dumps benefit us in terms of mineral production?

A brief overview

“Reprocessing of old mine dumps has potentially significant benefit,” said Brownyn Swartz, founder of Swartz Technical Consulting.

“Earlier plants and the accompanying technology might not have been as efficient in the extraction of gold. Lower extraction rates in combination with the higher gold head grades treated previously have resulted in significant quantities of gold in the plant residues. At present, ERGO is retreating the gold dumps in the central and eastern Witwatersrand.

Tailings treatment is also occurring in the platinum group metal sector with smaller operators profiting from the inefficiencies of industry leaders. The difference in this case is that it is mostly the current tailings that are being retreated.

Due to the lower grades and recoveries, tailings treatment will always be secondary in terms of metal production to treating freshly mined ore. However, as the major costs have already been incurred, initially it does present a low cost revenue stream.”

Points to consider

Eddie Milne, Mintails chief financial officer expands on the matter, “Mine residue (mine dumps) has been a feature and legacy for over 120 years of mining in the Witwatersrand Goldfields. Over this period, industrialisation was introduced to South Africa with greater demand for electricity and (other) consumer products. The Wits Goldfields produced 40% of all gold in recorded history, with Johannesburg at the centre of it all.

The mine residue is a legacy of this great wealth generated by mining. As Johannesburg grew, the expectations of people regarding beneficiaries of this wealth changed. Today we call these, legacy issues.

The reprocessing of mine dumps is the most efficient way of addressing the environmental consequences of the historic legacy of mining. As the mine dumps are still considered a mineral stockpile from which an economic recovery can be conducted, companies will continue to mine these dumps under a viable gold price.

Click here to read the full feature article on page 13 of the Sep/Oct 2014 issue of MMPR ...

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