Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  22 Feb 2012

MINING: New Partnership to Tackle Acid Mine Water Treatment


Recent Gauteng Business News

In an effort to address the rising problem of acid mine water in South Africa, the local front-running water technology company, Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies South Africa (VWS South Africa) and the state-owned minerals technology institute, Mintek, have signed a co-operation agreement in February, 2012, to further develop Mintek’s SAVMIN™ water treatment technology.

This comes after the initial evaluation of the Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies-developed Multiflo® and Actiflo® clarifiers, merged with Mintek’s SAVMIN™ chemical precipitation technology. The combined technologies are potentially a more efficient, cost-competitive and productive acid mine water treatment system.

Using lamella settling and ballasted floc formation, the VWS clarifiers effectively remove precipitated solids from mine water with relatively low footprints. These proven systems require minimal maintenance, and are a cost-competitive solution compared to traditional clarifiers.

The Acid Mine Water Treatment Process

A precipitation-based process, SAVMIN™ removes heavy metals and calcium sulphate to produce either potable or industrial water. This process’ waste streams are relatively clean gypsum and metal hydroxides, which could be recovered as saleable by-products. Because SAVMIN™ does not rely on membrane separation technologies, the overall cost per litre has the potential to be significantly lower.

“These systems’ integration marks a long-term approach to sustainable acid mine water treatment in South Africa,” says Dr Gunter Rencken, Managing Director, VWS South Africa. “The synergy lies in Mintek’s mine water treatment technology, and our ability to make the technology feasible for large-scale implementation.”

Mintek and VWS Collaborate for Acid Mine Water Treatment

The Mintek and VWS South Africa collaboration draws on the complimentary strengths of both organisations to derive a sustainable, economically-feasible solution to acid mine water, with the potential to also recover by-product metals.

Abiel Mngomezulu, the President and CEO of Mintek, says: “We are fortunate enough to have had financial backing for the development of SAVMIN™ from government, who recognises the importance and urgency for solutions to South Africa’s acid mine water problems. We hope this partnership with VWS South Africa is long-lasting, and beneficial to both the mining industry and South Africa.”

Mintek and VWS South Africa began initial discussions to develop affordable mine water treatment technologies in 2009 and, with further refinement, hope to have a holistic treatment process on the market by the end of 2013 after the completion of a full-scale pilot plant evaluation.


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