Energy & Environment

Tuesday, 14 February 2012 12:55

VWS South Africa and Mintek join forces to improve acid mine water treatment technology

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In an effort to address the rising problem of acid mine water in South Africa, the local front-running water technology company, Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies South Africa (VWS South Africa) and the state-owned minerals technology institute, Mintek, have signed a co-operation agreement in February, 2012, to further develop Mintek’s  SAVMIN™ water treatment technology.

This comes after the initial evaluation of the Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies-developed Multiflo® and Actiflo® clarifiers, merged with Mintek’s SAVMIN™ chemical precipitation technology. The combined technologies are potentially a more efficient, cost-competitive and productive acid mine water treatment system.

Using lamella settling and ballasted floc formation, the VWS clarifiers effectively remove precipitated solids from mine water with relatively low footprints. These proven systems require minimal maintenance, and are a cost-competitive solution compared to traditional clarifiers.

A precipitation-based process, SAVMIN™ removes heavy metals and calcium sulphate to produce either potable or industrial water. This process’ waste streams are relatively clean gypsum and metal hydroxides, which could be recovered as saleable by-products.  Because SAVMIN™ does not rely on membrane separation technologies, the overall cost per litre has the potential to be significantly lower.

“These systems’ integration marks a long-term approach to sustainable acid mine water treatment in South Africa,” says Dr Gunter Rencken, Managing Director, VWS South Africa. “The synergy lies in Mintek’s mine water treatment technology, and our ability to make the technology feasible for large-scale implementation.”

The Mintek and VWS South Africa collaboration draws on the complimentary strengths of both organisations to derive a sustainable, economically-feasible solution to acid mine water, with the potential to also recover by-product metals.

Abiel Mngomezulu, the President and CEO of Mintek, says: “We are fortunate enough to have had financial backing for the development of SAVMIN™ from government, who recognises the importance and urgency for solutions to South Africa’s acid mine water problems. We hope this partnership with VWS South Africa is long-lasting, and beneficial to both the mining industry and South Africa.”

Mintek and VWS South Africa began initial discussions to develop affordable mine water treatment technologies in 2009 and, with further refinement, hope to have a holistic treatment process on the market by the end of 2013 after the completion of a full-scale pilot plant evaluation.

Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies (VWS), subsidiary of Veolia Water, is a leading design & build company and a specialised provider of technological solutions in water treatment. With over 9 500 employees in 57 countries, Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies recorded revenue of 2.5 billion Euros in 2009.

Veolia Water, the water division of Veolia Environment, is the world leader in water and wastewater services. Specialised in outsourcing services for municipal authorities, as well as industrial and service companies, Veolia Water provides water service to 95 million people and wastewater service to 66 million. With 95 789 employees in 66 countries, its 2009 revenue amounted to 12.5 billion Euros.

Mintek is a South African state-owned institute engaged in research, development and commercialisation of mineral processing and metal technology.  With 800 staff at its Randburg campus and a proud history going back to 1934, Mintek is a leading provider of technology to industries world-wide.

Enquiries:  Dr Gunter Rencken

Managing Director
Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies South Africa (Pty) Ltd
Tel:   011 663 3600
Fax:   011 608 4772
E-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Enquiries: Peter Craven

General Manager, Business Development Mintek
Tel:  011 709 4165
Fax:  011 709 4684
E-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

From:  CubicICE (Pty) Ltd (011) 705 2545
Submitted:  Zelda Onay [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]
Compiled:  Ryan Joubert
PR:  PR VWS 3268 Mintek acid mine drainage

Published in Energy and Environment

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