Rand-Air’s latest project involves the reclamation of four historical mine dumps at the site of the former Zincor zinc refinery just to the south of Springs. The refinery was constructed from a former uranium plant belonging to the defunct Vogelstruisbult gold mine.
The dumps include a high-hazard certified waste tailings dam, two gold tailings dams and an iron/lead/zinc residue dump.
The initial phase of the project entails hydro-mining the neutral leach dump, which comprises 2.5 million tons of zinc material that will be processed over an eight to nine year period. The neutral leach dump was formed between 2000 and 2010 as a result of zinc/copper ore treatment from the effluent plant. The zinc tailings will be treated with acid leach filtration followed by hydroxide precipitation and filtration.
This metals reclamation project is being carried out by mineral and metals processing company, EBM Projects. The project has a net present value in excess of R1 billion and the estimated value of the property’s remaining in-situ lead, silver, gold and iron-ore resources is estimated at about R22 billion.
By removing potentially hazardous metals from these defunct dumps, EBM Projects is eliminating a potential environmental risk, while creating direct and indirect work opportunities for some 700 individuals. This initiative is welcome in a region where job opportunities are relatively scarce.
Air to remove water
“We are hiring out three of our top-of-the-range compressors, two GA315FF and a GA160VSDFF. The compressed air is being used to operate the filter presses which remove water from the mineral products,” explains Rand-Air’s business development manager, Henry Fourie. The rental contract commenced in February this year and will continue for a five-year period.
In line with their long-term rental solutions ethos, all support and necessary maintenance is undertaken by Rand-Air. “We have made commitments to rapid response in the unlikely event of a technical issue and, if we are not able to provide an immediate solution, we’ll provide EBM Projects with an exchange unit.”
By doing this, Rand-Air relieves EBM Projects of the burden of sourcing compressed air, allowing the minerals company to concentrate on its core business.
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