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An assessment of the key factors that influence the environmental sustainability of a large inland industrial complex
Expanded Title:This project looked at the key factors that influence the environmental sustainability of a large inland industrial complex: The Secunda Industrial Complex. The main finding for this study is that the long term increasing trend for unaccounted salt flows to the surface water systems indicates control of salt storage and disposal is the key factor for environmental sustainability. The economics of desalination and waste storage are driven by the cost of water and the management of post closure liabilities. These two parameters are controlled in the governance system for clean water conservation, and mine water production which is the main source of salts. A key weakness in the governance component appears to be the absence of public data on relative techno economic and environmental performance data for alternatives identified by stakeholders in the complex. Research is currently system specific, proprietary and therefore uncoordinated. Findings on capacities and leakage are not reported in the public domain. Learnings from this project indicates that the problems of technology selection and economic viability are less complex when there is: • A sustainable economic plan to eliminate uncertainty on post closure liabilities, and • A set of technologies that can be made to work using a purchase contract for the recovered water. Factors that were missing from the current set of plans are the • Boundary setting at the border of the NWA Section 21 facilities, and • Paying clients The main environmental uncertainty appears to be around the long term stability of the salt storage systems. The systems were established under a different regulatory framework which had a much lower concern for water shortages, long term salination and decanting of acid mine water. Definitive guidelines on salt storage and post closure management of the salt stockpiles have not been developed and subjected to scrutiny of public review. This appears to be a key barrier to the quantification of environmental and economic sustainability. The key sustainability problem is how to reverse the trends of positive feedback on the salt storage problem. Another concern is the increasing trend in salination and risk of AMD pH dependent river flows
Date Published:01/02/2013
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Wastewater Management - Industrial
Document Keywords:Water Quality
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Technical
WRC Report No:TT 547/12
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0368-0
Authors:Mvuma GG; Hooijman F; Brent AC; Oelofse SHH; Rogers DEC
Project No:K5/1833
Originator:WRC
Organizations:University of Stellenbosch
Document Size:1 147 KB
Related Documents:An assessment of the key factors that influence the environmental sustainability of a large inland industrial complex
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