Water is a critical resource and we consider our water infrastructure to be a strategic asset. Effective and integrated management of water resources and systems is an integral component of our business strategy. Our vision for water management could be described as “effective, innovative and caring for water resources and water systems management”.
Total water withdrawal was 116,851Ml (2013: 76,636Ml) in 2014 with 16,738Ml or 14.32% (2013: 12,410Ml or 16.19%) from municipal sources (potable water) and 100,112Ml (2013: 64,227Ml) from ground fissure sources.
The reason for the increase year on year is due to of the inclusion of the Cooke operations in 2014.
The bulk of fissure water is withdrawn at source for safety reasons and it is discharged into the environment without treatment. Uncontaminated fissure water, which has not entered the mine workings, does not pose an environmental risk. Impacted fissure water is used in the operations to compensate for system shortfalls. By using the impacted fissure water make-up, the total discharge load is reduced and contaminants are entrapped in the various tailings storage facilities (TSFs). We use recirculating mine service water extensively in our surface and underground operations. By operating the systems in this manner, we ensure that none of this water is discharged but is reused to improve water efficiency.
In addition, we have invested in potable water-treatment plants to produce potable water from excess fissure water, and thus reduce our overall water footprint and total cost of potable water.
|Beatrix||Ezulwini (Cooke 4)||Rand Uranium
(Cooke 1, 2 and 3)
|Permit/exempt in terms of the Water Act, 1956 (Act No 54 of 1956)||Yes||Yes||–||–||–|
|Water use licence in terms of the National Water Act, 1998 (Act No 36 of 1998)||–||–||Yes||Yes||Yes and directive|
|Water use licence application||Submitted||Submitted||Submitted for backﬁll project||Applied for amendment||Applied for amendment|
|Draft water use licence||–||Yes||–||Yes||–|
|Bottleneck||Regional office of Department of Water and Sanitation/ Sibanye’s Water Management Department||National Department of Water and Sanitation||National Department of Water and Sanitation||Regional office of Department of Water and Sanitation/ Sibanye’s Water Management Department||Regional office of Department of Water and Sanitation|
|Explanation||Awaiting feedback from regional Department of Water and Sanitation||Recommendation submitted to the Department of Water and Sanitation adjudication committee||Backlog at Department of Water and Sanitation||Awaiting feedback from regional Department of Water and Sanitation||Department of Water and Sanitation evaluating additional information submitted|
|Way forward||Enquire about progress||Awaiting water use licence||Apply for amendment
of water use licence
Enquire about progress with backfill water use licence
|Enquire about progress||Awaiting feedback from regional Department of Water and Sanitation|
- * Rand Water
- ** Sedibeng Water
RECYCLING AND OPTIMISATION
Optimisation includes the establishment of a three-tier water balance system, which is updated regularly, to allow our operations to track water consumption at shaft level. A project is underway to establish detailed water balances at all operations by mid-2015. An annual water balance is prepared and submitted to the Department of Water and Sanitation as a requirement of our water use licences.
Underground settlers are the first line defence in heavy metal removal and improving the quality of the underground circulating water systems. In 2014, we focused primarily on improving the operational efficiency of our settlers and optimising underground water systems to improve the quality of discharged underground water.
- Acid mine drainage (AMD), if managed as proposed, will not develop into a material risk in the Far West Rand Basin
- Relatively low volumes of mine water are expected to decant and the environmental impacts will be manageable
- Urban development and other polluters contribute to the salt load and will exceed mining impact after closure
Our integrated dynamic water management strategic process, developed by our Water Management Department to guide the implementation of our Water Management Policy through life of mine and beyond mine closure, SibanyeAMANZI is reviewed every year.
SibanyeAMANZI evolved from the Liquid Gold project initiated by Gold Fields in 2005. In order to achieve compliant discharges from the Driefontein, Kloof and South Deep mines owned by Gold Fields at the time, the initial aim of the Liquid Gold project was to develop “end of pipe water treatment solutions” to treat 120Ml/day of surplus fissure and mineralised mine service water, and to purify it to drinking water standards.
A water technology innovation hub, established at Sibanye’s Libanon workshops, supported by the Driefontein Mine Water Laboratory where an upgraded facility is being established at 9 shaft, includes research and development, and testing equipment. The technology innovation hub comprises simulated moving bed ion exchange, membrane purification, various forms of demineralisation equipment, and bench scale coagulation and flocculation equipment. This technology enables the recovery of uranium, rare earths and other valuable metals, as well as the conversion of contaminated salts into commercial commodities such as fertilizers and explosives.
Our SibanyeAmanzi strategy is realised through the following ongoing and proposed projects: