Boshoff, JCJ & Hamman, JN 2011, 'Investigation into the current closure practices of platinum tailings storage facilities – the South African context', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett & A Beersing (eds), Mine Closure 2011: Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 413-422, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_rep/1152_44_Hamman
The largest reserves of platinum ore are found in the Bushveld Complex of South Africa, which presents a unique opportunity to study the status of mine closure in this context, specifically the closure of platinum tailings storage facilities.
The challenge for most of the platinum tailings storage facilities are that the facilities are still seen as a resource and could be re-mined as process technology improves. Therefore, expenditure towards closure during the operational phase is not viewed as advantageous. However, the re-mining of historic and existing facilities also presents the opportunity to develop the resulting new tailings facilities to the latest standards and internationally accepted practices for mine closure.
This paper investigates the current legislation applicable to the design and closure strategies of platinum tailings storage facilities in the South African context. An overview is given of challenges faced and the successful implementation of rehabilitation techniques in recent years. These include slope vegetation and dust suppression.
The paper also deals with the future challenges that the platinum industry could face in terms of closure. These challenges include dealing with ultra fine material and the increase of salts in the tailings as contaminated return water is reused.
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