Conserving South Africa’s water is a top priority as a Water Affairs study shows that South Africans will be using more water by 2025 than is currently available. By 2030, it will be using 17% more, according to the 2030 Water Resources Group.
To guarantee mine wastewater never contaminates South Africa’s water systems, mine operators should be using corrosive-resistant glass-fibre reinforced plastic (GRP) piping when transferring this toxic water to a water treatment facility.
Mine wastewater, a highly toxic cocktail of organic compounds with high concentrations of SO4, silica, iron, and other toxic metals, and Acid Mine Drainage (AMD), are two major sources of water contamination in South Africa. AMD is characterized by low pH (high acidity), high salinity levels, elevated concentrations of sulphate, iron, aluminium and manganese, high levels of toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, cobalt, copper, molybdenum and zinc, and sometimes deadly radionuclides.
Says Roger Rusch, CEO of Industrial Water Cooling (IWC), “GRP pipes are inherently resistant to galvanic and electrolytic corrosion making them the only real piping solution for mine wastewater transportation as well as effective AMD management. With very low potential for leaks caused by corrosion, GRP pipes significantly reduce the risk of contaminants entering South Africa’s water system.
“The resins used to manufacture GRP pipes provide a natural resistance of pH 1 to 10 making them suitable to use in the desalination and reverse osmosis processes of wastewater treatment. And since the hydraulic characteristics of these durable pipes remain constant over time, there is no need for additional linings, coatings or cathode protection.”