ACID MINE DRAINAGE

  Project Profile

 

Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) is a project aimed at implementing the short term solution, as recommended to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Acid Mine Drainage, in the Western, Central and Eastern Basins of the Witwatersrand Goldfields. The main objective of the short term solution is to stop decant in the Western Basin and the Environmental Critical Levels being breached in the Central and Eastern Basins.

 

The project comprises:

  • Installation of the pumps to extract the water from the mine void to on-site treatment plants;

  • Construction of an on-site Acid Mine Drainage treatment plant in each basin with the option of refurbishing and upgrading the existing ones owned by the mines;

  • Installation of the infrastructure to convey the treated water to nearby water sources; and

  • To help Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) with a model on the operation of the pump stations and treatment works.

 

The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs approved the implementation of the project as an emergency works in terms of section 103(2) of the National Water Act of 1998. In this regard, in April 2011, TCTA received a directive from the Minister to implement Emergency Works Water Management on the Witwatersrand Gold Fields with special emphasis on Acid Mine Drainage.

 

The AMD project entails construction of the necessary infrastructure or upgrade of existing infrastructure to extract and treat acid mine water, and then to convey the treated water to nearby water sources. 

Funding

 

National Treasury has allocated R225 million for the implementation of AMD Phase 1. These funds have been made available to DWS and are intended to cover project costs over a two-year period.

 

Engineering

 

BKS Pty(Ltd), in association with Golder Associates which was appointed as the engineering consultant on Acid Mine Drainage. The appointment of the construction contractor Group Five was finalized in January 2013.

 

Environmental

 

An inter-departmental coordination team has been established to assist with the identification of licensing and environmental requirements. Acquisition of land will only be considered once the interim technical solutions have been defined and after taking due consideration of possible permanent AMD solutions.

 

Key challenges

 

The main challenges with the implementation of the AMD project are associated with the severely tight implementation timelines and funding constraints given that the estimated cost for the short-term solution exceeds current National Treasury budget allocations. The AMD has drawn much public interest and TCTA manages expectations and communication carefully.

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