How R250 million can improve water safety | Infrastructure news

A new R250 million water treatment plant at the Matla coal mine in Mpumalanga is set to reduce the safety risk posed by large quantities of water that have filled mined-out underground cavities while simultaneously benefiting the environment and local water users.

The facility, which is operated by Exxaro Resources Limited (Exxaro), will treat 10 mega litres per day.

As part of its water management strategy the company manages its water stewardship through reduction, reuse and recycling of water, proactively responding to water-related risks, minimising impacts and ensuring operations use water efficiently and in the best interests of the company as well as all other users and the environment.

The Matla underground mining operations experience significant water ingress into the workings from surface, leading to flooding risks to the safety of workers and to the surrounding environment which could be impacted by the contaminated water should this water be released back to the surface without prior treatment.

The treatment process

Following engagement with the departments of Water and Sanitation, Environmental Affairs and Mineral Resources, Exxaro mapped out a sustainable solution to the underground water which is centred on a state-of-the-art water treatment plant.

The treatment entails underground water being pumped to the surface where it undergoes comprehensive treatment using innovative filtration processes to remove contaminants and purify the water.

The water treatment plant will treat 10 mega litres per day and of this some 6.5 mega litres will be discharged to the Olifants River and the remainder will be used in the Matla operations or for potable water needs at the mine.

“We are committed to protecting and improving water quality by ensuring the water we discharge is of the same or better quality than the original consumption,”says Exxaro’s CEO, Sipho Nkosi.

“The Matla water treatment plant is a prime example of this approach and is one of three water treatment plants in our Mpumalanga region which are part of our long-term water management strategy,” he added.

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