Mining News

Uranium - Past and Future Challenges

Written by  Wednesday, 08 October 2014 06:24
Rate this item
(0 votes)

FSE’s Report on the Technische Universitat Bergakademie Freiberg Conference (programme) and the FSE’s Paper and Presentation on “Current Reclamation Of Historical Uraniferous Tailings Dams And Sand Dumps – Exacerbating The Mess Or Minimizing The Mining Footprint? Case Studies Within The Witwatersrand”. 

The papers which were presented at the Conference have been published by Springer in “Uranium –Past and Future Challenges –Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Uranium Mining  and Hydrogeology.” ISBN 978-3-319-11058-5. ISBN 978-3-319-11059-2 (eBook). The Editors are  Broder J. Merkel and Alireza Arab of the Institute for Geology, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Freiberg,  Germany.

Extracts from the preface of the book read:
“In October 1995 the First International Conference on Uranium Mining and Hydrogeology took place with 350 participants from 30 countries at TU Bergakademie Freiberg in cooperation with the Saxonian State Ministry for Regional Development and the Environment and significant financial support from this state authority. The aim of the conference had been to discuss the danger for surface- and groundwater by former uranium mines, uranium treatment plants, heaps and tailings and appropriate cleanup technologies as well as modeling tools. At this time shortly after the end of the cold war most uranium mines were or had already been closed down, the environmental risk of the uranium brownfields became obvious and public awareness rose.
“Past challenges were countless mistake and carelessness related to mining, milling and processing of uranium that contaminated surface- and groundwater.
“Future challenges will focus on the situation after most of the uranium brownfields have been cleaned up. However, uncertainties of thermodynamic data and the lack of kinetic and sorption data will be a topic of future research. Another future topic will probably be the development of environmentally friendly technologies for nowadays uranium mining and mining of ores that contain significant amounts of radioactive elements, respectively. Therefore, further efforts have to be made to develop efficient and low-cost techniques to extract uranium from phosphates and REE-containing ores. This has to be accompanied by the definition of limits by state authorities for permissible uranium and thorium concentrations in fertilizers and naturally occurring radioactive materials.”



Tours of West Rand gold fields

The FSE conducts regular tours with interested and affected parties, of the West Rand gold fields and Sibanye Gold’s operations. 

Mine Shafts: Accidents waiting to happen

  Eighty-two shafts without warning signs.  Twenty-two open shafts.  Three wate...

Residents left in the dark over AMD treatment

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has been accused of “authorising po...


Lauded for research on SA acid mine drainage

The launch of Acid mine drainage in South Africa: Development actors, policy impacts and broader implications, by Suvania Naidoo, took place on 10 February 2017. The book has proven to be a timely publication because of the incipient water crisis in South Africa. The event was hosted by Unisa’s Department of Development Studies in the College of Human Sciences. The guests were welcomed by the chair of the department, Prof Gretchen du Plessis, who expressed that “development studies is an ever-changing discipline and is a space where different issues converge”. She further stated that the book fills a void in our knowledge about acid mine drainage (AMD) and that the publication is “an example of hard work which results in big achievements”.

Truth of the dust that brings death

  A new hard-hitting report from Harvard Law School details how South Africa has failed to meet its human rights obligations concerning gold mining in and around Joburg. Bonnie Docherty, who led the research, spoke to Sheree Bega

Harvard Report: The Cost of Gold

A report has been published by the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic titled "The Cost of Gold: Environmental, Health, and Human Rights Consequences of Gold Mining in South Africa’s West and Central Rand.   The reports states, "The complex web of responsible government agencies and repeated legislative changes to that organizational structure have impeded the development of a coordinated plan to deal with the negative effects of mining. The limited scope of action, inadequate attention to at-risk communities, and insufficient consideration of environmental concerns have undermined the completeness of any response."

SA hasn't protected residents from gold mine pollution: Harvard report

JOHANNESBURG South Africa has failed to protect residents affected by pollution from contaminated water and mine dumps over more than 130 years of gold mining near Johannesburg, an independent investigation by the Harvard Law School said.


Eastern Basin acid water plant is "sledgehammer"

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has used a "sledgehammer" for its R1bn treatment plant for acid mine drainage (AMD) on the Eastern mining basin that could ultimately create more toxic water.  This is the view of water strategy and consulting mining hydrologist Kym Morton, who believes government is "wasting money" by pumping large volumes of water and adding lime that makes it alkaline but still toxic and hazardous. 

SABC Health Talk, Environmental Health: 25 February 2017

Focus on preventing illness rather than incurring the expense of treatment....

Rand Water tightens the taps in Gauteng

In the Midvaal suburb where Sipho Mosai lives, the gardens are lush and green be...