The floating barge which transfers
water from the quarry to the
treatment plant

The Thuthuka Group – a Gautengbased South African engineering company – has been awarded the contract for all of the onsite water reticulation for the new Elands platinum mine near Brits, in the north-west province of South Africa. Both process and potable water will be delivered to the mine.

The initial focus will be on installing the major reticulation pipe systems between terminal points – some 6 km of 200mm to 350mm pipe-work. The various pipe stations are already under construction.

The latest phase of the project sees the construction of the water treatment plant and the sewage treatment plant. The water treatment plant will produce 300 cubic metres per hour of process water and 150 cubic metres of potable water.

Elands Platinum obtained and abstraction permit from the Department of Water Affairs to abstract water from one of the Hartebeespoort irrigation canals. Approximately 400 cubic metres per hour is removed and pumped via a 4.5 km transfer line to an open quarry on the Elands site. From the quarry, 450 cubic metres per hour is transferred to the water treatment plant by pumps on a floating barge. After treatment, process water is transferred to the mine’s process water dam near the concentrator.

Through the mine’s operation, most of the process water ends up in the tailings dam. This water is recovered via penstocks, clarified in a settler, and returned into the process water system by pumping it back to the process water dam.

The final effluent from the sewage treatment plant is also pumped to the quarry to recycle this source of water back into the system.

Bringing this water system into a steady, balanced state ensures that water usage on the mine will be optimised and limited to the bare minimum.