Authors: Human, CF; Botha, JC

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Human, CF & Botha, JC 2008, 'Revenue Generation During Rehabilitation of Contaminated Land on Gold Mines in South Africa', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett, I Weiersbye & P Dye (eds), Mine Closure 2008: Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 557-563,

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The increase in awareness of environmental issues caused mines to place greater emphasis on the continuous rehabilitation of impacts caused by mining operations. Rehabilitation activities are costly and the need for a cost effective method to dispose of waste materials originating from mining sites that are being decommissioned, rehabilitated and for metallurgical plants being demolished, was recognized. This paper discusses a method for the detection of low level radioactive waste materials, and establishing a relationship between the radioactivity levels and gold grade. Readily available instruments were used to identify and quantify areas where land contamination had resulted from historical waste disposal practices. The potential to recover gold from rehabilitated material and use the revenues generated was recognized and reduced future financial cleanup costs. Treatment of waste material has shown that gold could be economically recovered from waste recovery operations. This process led to disposal of the material in a homogeneous and safe manner onto an operational residue dam, which minimized potential environmental impacts.

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