In 2014, we reported nine (2013: one) Level 3 environmental incidents. There were three Level 3 incidents at Cooke and six Level 3 incidents at Kloof and Driefontein. There were no Level 4 and 5 incidents reported for the period under review.
We report on:
- Level 3 – incidents that result in ongoing but limited environmental impact;
- Level 4 – incidents that result in medium-term environmental impact; and
- Level 5 – incidents that result in long-term environmental impact.
In terms of our Engineering Pragma System, which enables timeous reporting and maintenance of pipeline failure incidents, conducting thickness testing on the pipeline, installation of flow meters and daily inspection of pipes by pipe-walkers, all pipes not worn out were turned by 180 degrees to prevent failure. As part of this planned maintenance system, ongoing testing of pipe thickness is conducted and worn pipes are identified.
|Date||Level||Operation||Cause||Volume(m³)/Area impacted (m²)||Material||Impact||Remediation|
|25 February 2014||3||Kloof||Pipeline burst||300,000m³||Tailings||Soil, vegetation and river contaminated||Polluted area cleaned and rehabilitated with new pipeline|
|26 February 2014||3||Driefontein||Return water dams overflowed||0.25Ml||Process water discharge||Impact on surface water||Pumping of water from return water dams optimised|
|31 March 2014||3||Kloof||Cyanide storage tank pipes burst||400m³||Cyanide||Soil and vegetation contaminated||Polluted area cleaned and rehabilitated with new alarm system|
|1 May 2014||3||Kloof||Water pollution control dam overflowed at plant due to accumulation of sediments||50,000m³||Process water||Impact on surface water||Dam cleaned regularly to remove sediments|
|17 October 2014||3||Driefontein||Tailings spill||40m³||Tailings||Soil contaminated||Leak isolated and tailings cleaned up|
|28 November 2014||3||Driefontein||Return water dams overtopped||0.25Ml||Process water discharge||Impact on surface water||Pumping and reuse of water from return water dams optimised|
|25 February 2014||3||Cooke 1 shaft||A leak developed in the pipeline conveying sludge from Cooke 1 shaft to Cooke plant, resulting in a spill of underground sludge onto adjacent land and water body||800m²||Underground sludge||A small quantity of material enter the Wonderfonteinspruit but water sampling at time of incident indicated no significant impact on water body||The leaking pipe was immediately clamped once the spill was reported and subsequently replaced. Clean up of the affected land started on same day as incident, and was complete within two weeks|
|23 May 2014||3||Cooke 1 and 2 shafts||Licensed discharge water quality outside water use license specification||Cooke 1
Cooke 2 shaft: 12,300m³
|Excess water found underground||Impact on both surface and groundwater||Optimisation of underground water treatment and underground settler repair and refurbishment|
|18 August 2014||3||Cooke 4 plant||Return water dam oveflow as a result of an operating error||5,500m³||Process water||Water spilled onto gravel road and adjacent farming land. No impact on surface or groundwater resources, based on water quality, the impact on the farming land was deemed to be minimal||The valve feeding the return water dam was closed immediately and pumping commenced and the plant operator retrained in dam operating procedures|