Project Case Study

Hydro Mining at Sibanye Gold’s Randfontein Tailings Complex.

INTASOL Tailings provides a multi-pronged hydro mining solution at Sibanye Gold’s Randfontein tailings complex on the West Rand of Johannesburg. We employ different methods of hydro mining on three operations in the complex, aimed at providing the client with 400 000 tons of gold tailings per month.

Our know-how and culture of ownership is standing us in good stead at the complex, as each operation presents its own challenges.

At the Dam 20 operation, we are providing the client with an inventive and cost-effective solution for cleaning the dam floor. Dam 20 is a historical hydro mining area built on a former wetland. It contains a valuable gold tailings resource that is being hydro mined in a way that enables rehabilitation of the ecologically sensitive area.

INTASOL Tailings has proved that it can innovate by introducing equipment not commonly used in hydro mining to build windrows with the remaining tailings. The stacking of the tailings at different points on the dam floor allows them to be hydro mined at a lower cost per ton. This also ensures that the dam floor is cleared to the natural ground level, which allows for the site to be rehabilitated.

Our team faces the challenge of having to hydro mine material that is often sandy, wet and clay like. But they are overcoming this hurdle through their characteristic teamwork and determination.

At the Lindum dam, the INTASOL team is taking a two tiered approach of hydraulically cutting off the top, sterile section of the dam in order to hydro mine the gold tailings below.

Meticulous planning and co-ordination ensures that we remove and pump the top sections to a pit area, while we efficiently hydro mine the lower sections that have been exposed. Our team ensures that we provide the processing plant with 70 000 tons of gold tailings per month and team members are proud of the immaculate dam they are sculpting.

“I often view the dam from the lowest point on site. What strikes me is that I am doing a very beautiful job. My team is very motivated as we have good communication. They understand what they are here for.”

Operations Supervisor Alfred Makama

The third part of our hydro-mining solution at the Randfontein complex involves the traditional hydro mining of Dam 38 which is largely untapped. The Intasol team successfully started up the operation at the beginning of 2018 and has had to contend with vegetation and pebble cladding in the dam.

We are re-mining about 9 120 tons a day, having tackled the teething problems caused by the grass, trees and other large objects in the dam which lay dormant for many years. One of the measures we have taken is to install double screens in the pump feed line to prevent rough material from blocking the pumps.

Key to bringing this dam to full production is our inclusive approach of consulting all our staff on how to deal with challenges and improve operations. Our staff help one another and confidently make suggestions as they know that our work is underpinned by mutual respect and a concern for safety.

Intasol Tailings takes a holistic approach to hydro mining at the Randfontein complex, employing a range of methods to achieve the target monthly production. Our enterprising and solution driven culture enables us to operate challenging dams and turn them around for maximum production.