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Issues at Operating Uranium Mines and Mills - South Africa   flag

(last updated 19 Nov 2021)

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General · Dominion Reefs · Ezulwini · Great Noligwa · Kopanang · Moab Khotsong · Randfontein · Stilfontein Tailings · Vaal river area · Vaal River tailings


> See also Issues for: New Mining Projects · Decommissioning Projects · Legislation & Regulations
> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning

 
GENERAL INFORMATION

Groups oppose proposed shipping of Namibian uranium through South African ports

Last week, the Department of Energy gazetted an application made by US firm Edlow International for a transshipment and brief in-transit storage of low-activity uranium ore concentrate from Namibia to clients abroad. This will be done through the port of Durban or Cape Town using a duly authorised transport vessel‚ the department said in the gazette.
"Greenpeace is strongly opposed to the granting of a licence for the transshipment and in-transit storage of 'low-activity uranium ore concentrate' from Namibia. It is unclear how this concentrate would reach either Cape Town or Durban‚ and there is no information about the volume of ore that would need to be transported and stored in the application. [...]", said Melita Steele‚ senior climate and energy campaign manager at Greenpeace Africa.
Earthlife Africa Cape Town also opposed the move. The organisation raised the same questions on the application as Greenpeace. It further questioned what safety measures were in place when the uranium was transported and who would bear such cost. (Business Day Oct. 12, 2017)

South African gold/uranium mines causing excessive uranium concentrations in streams and stream sediments

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Regulator withholds report on serious contamination of water and food from mining activities in Gauteng

> See here

10,000 miners exposed to excess radiation doses

The Council for Nuclear Safety (CNS) estimates that at least 10,000 mineworkers, or roughly one in 20 mineworkers, have been exposed to radiation levels that exceeded safety limits.

In 1998, according to CNS estimates, 1 000 employees at Harmony Gold mine were exposed to radiation levels that in some instances were three times higher than the annual dose limit of 20 mSv a year. At Nigel, workers were exposed to dose levels of up to 130 mSv a year, or seven times higher than the allowable limit. (Business Report Oct. 7, 1999)

 

 
Free State

Great Noligwa · Kopanang · Moab Khotsong · Stilfontein tailings · Vaal River · Vaal River tailings


 

Stilfontein tailings reprocessing project

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> View Stilfontein tailings reprocessing project spills and other incidents

Uranium recovery plant at Stilfontein tailings reprocessing project shut down: According to AngloGold's 2017 Annual Report, "[...] in 2017, the uranium and flotation plants were discontinued. It is planned for restart later in life."

Uranium recovery plant at Stilfontein tailings reprocessing project starts operation: According to AngloGold's 2014 Annual Report, "The uranium plant at Mine Waste Solutions (MWS) was successfully completed with the first deliveries in the fourth quarter of the year."

Charges laid against AngloGold Ashanti over spill at Stilfontein tailings reprocessing project: Criminal charges are being laid against AngloGold Ashanti for a spill that resulted in uranium-laden water going into a tributary of the Vaal River. The allegation is that a spillage from a pipe at the mine's operations in Stilfontein, near Kerksdorp, last week led to uranium-laden water going into a local river.
An incident report, filed to the National Nuclear Regulator by the company, said the spillage had occurred due to a "pipeline failure" between two of the company's plants. It occurred last Tuesday (Aug. 27) after bolts in the pipe were stolen in a section of pipe next to the Koekemoerspruit, the report said. This led to one hectare being covered in polluted water, along a 1.6 km stretch of land. All pumping was stopped while the pipe was fixed. A wall was then constructed downstream to catch the bits of pollution in the water.
The charges are being laid by Mariette Liefferink, head of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment, under Section 24 of the Bill of Rights. (Mail & Guardian Sep. 2, 2013)

Anglogold commissions completion of uranium recovery plant at Stilfontein tailings reprocessing project: On Aug. 22, 2013, MDM Engineering announced that AngloGold Ashanti has awarded the completion and commissioning of the MWS uranium plant in Stilfontein to MDM.

AngloGold Stilfontein tailings recovery plant charged with radioactive contamination: AngloGold Ashanti has been charged with contaminating water and "ongoing pollution" in Stilfontein by the Federation for Sustainable Environment . According to Mariette Liefferink, head of the Federation for Sustainable Environment, a massive spillage occurred in late December at the Stilfontein facility. (Mail & Guardian Jan. 8, 2013)

Buffelsfontein Mine Waste Solutions tailings reprocessing project sold to Anglogold: On July 20, 2012, First Uranium Corp announced the completion of the sale of Mine Waste Solutions to AngloGold Ashanti Limited.

Processing of first legacy tailings dam in Stilfontein area completed in Mine Waste Solutions tailings project: On Jan. 23, 2012, Mine Waste Solutions announced that "the crucial first step in the process of rehabilitating a series of 15 'legacy' tailings dams in the Stilfontein area, a result of decades of mining operations, has been achieved with the completion of the clean-up of a strategic site alongside the N12 highway near the town." [...] "The tailings dam next to the N12 highway has long been a source of dust pollution and concern within the community. The footprint of the site, known locally as the number two dam, covers approximately 160 hectares on a dolomite area," says Melt Marais, Environmental Manager at Mine Waste Solutions.

Stilfontein tailings reprocessing project spills and other incidents

(Source: National Nuclear Regulator (NNR))
TSF = Tailings Storage Facility

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Vaal river area

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Tailings disposal at Mispah Dam 1 of Moab Khotsong mine halted for 15 months after deformations and cracks observed on embankment slope in November 2017

"ABSTRACT: In [November] 2017 signs of distress were noted along an embankment of an active, upstream gold tailings storage facility (TSF) in South Africa. Cracks extended diagonally up and parallel to the slope [of Mispah Dam 1] and increased with time. Bulging was observed at the toe. Deposition on the facility was halted immediately and detailed surveillance was implemented.
An investigation ensued to determine the cause and understand the mechanism for the observed TSF behaviour. Possible mechanisms were identified and assessed. It was concluded that yielding of the underlying rock, in turn underlain by highly compressible strata, was the most plausible mechanism. The way forward included assessment of the available geological information to determine if similar conditions exist elsewhere along the TSF embankments.
Mitigation and remedial measures were compiled and implemented to restore the TSF to an acceptable and safe condition and the facility was recommissioned in March 2019. Close monitoring of the TSF continues with no further signs of distress to date."
Deformation and Cracking of an Upstream Gold TSF Embankment Due to Yielding of Underlying Rock, by R. Shields, M. Rust, D. Brink, in: TAILINGS AND MINE WASTE '20, Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Tailings and Mine Waste , Colorado State University, 2020, p.31-41

[There is no mention of this incident in AngloGold Ashanti's or Harmony Gold's Annual Reports.]

Harmony Gold plans to acquire AngloGold Ashanti's Moab Khotsong and Great Noligwa mines

On Oct. 19, 2017, Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited announced that it is planning to acquire AngloGold Ashanti's Moab Khotsong and Great Noligwa mines. In addition, Harmony will acquire the Mispah tailings storage complex and Nuclear Fuels Corporation of South Africa's ("Nufcor") uranium calcining facility, among others.

Moab Khotsong was acquired effective 1 March 2018 at a cost of US$300 million. (Harmony Gold Annual Report 2018)

AngloGold Ashanti plans to dispose of Kopanang mine

On Sep. 15, 2017, AngloGold Ashanti announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with an undisclosed party. The MOU could result in the sale of the Kopanang mine to that party. Otherwise the mine would be placed on care and maintenance.
On Oct. 19, 2017, AngloGold Ashanti announced that the Kopanang mine is to be acquired by Heaven-Sent SA Sunshine Investment Company Limited (Hong Kong) through its 74%-owned subisdiary Village Main Reef Limited. The Kopanang gold plant and the Kopanang rock dump will be retained by AngloGold Ashanti.

AngloGold plans to expand its South Uranium plant

In the short term AngloGold wants to lift uranium production from 1.3-million pounds U3O8 [500 t U] a year to 2-million pounds U3O8 [769 t U]. It could generate 1.4-million pounds U3O8 [538 t U] of uranium this year, accounting for nearly all of South Africa's uranium production. AngloGold plans to expand its South Uranium plant to handle increased volumes from its Kopanang mine, which has higher uranium grades and volumes than the Great Noligwa mine, which is nearing the end of its life, Robbie Lazare, executive vice-president in charge of South Africa, said last week. (Business Day Sep. 6, 2010)

AngloGold plans new uranium plant at Kopanang mine

AngloGold Ashanti was planning a new R1-billion-plus uranium expansion at the Kopanang mine to take production to more than two-million pounds U3O8 [769 t U] a year, AngloGold Ashanti CEO Mark Cutifani said. Uranium production was up another 5% to 369,000 lb U3O8 [142 t U] in the quarter, in line with AngloGold Ashanti's 1.4-million pounds U3O8 [538 t U] full-year target from the present 1.2-million pounds U3O8 [462 t U]. (Mining Weekly May 15, 2009)

AngloGold Ashanti cancels uranium delivery contracts

On July 14, 2008, AngloGold Ashanti announced that it has "cancelled 1.0 million pounds U3O8 of its outstanding uranium contracts, which together with the deliveries effected since the start of the year, represents a reduction of 30% of uranium contracts that were outstanding as at 1 January 2008. This cancellation, which will result in a one-off pre-tax charge of US$32 million against second quarter's adjusted headline earnings, will result in the company beginning to participate in the uranium spot market from 2009."

AngloGold offers to process waste containing uranium for rivals

AngloGold Ashanti was "happy" to process mine waste containing uranium for rivals as record prices spur them to extract the nuclear fuel, the gold producer has said. "We'd be happy to use our plant to toll-treat their material on a commercial basis," chief executive Bobby Godsell said. AngloGold, which produces uranium as a by-product of gold mining, owns one of South Africa's only operational plants that can process the metal. Smaller rivals Gold Fields, Harmony Gold Mining and First Uranium are investigating ways to extract uranium left behind in waste dumps across the Witwatersrand and Free State gold fields. (Business Report May 4, 2007)

AngloGold plans uranium output increase

AngloGold Ashanti may raise annual uranium production to between 1,000 and 1,100 metric tons from about 700 tons currently, Steve Lenahan, a spokesman for the Johannesburg-based company, said in an interview. The company currently produces uranium as a byproduct of gold mining at its Great Noligwa mine in South Africa and expects to boost output when its Moab Khotsong mine opens.
The company is also studying whether to upgrade a processing plant so that it can process ore from the Kopanang dump, Lenahan said. (Business Report April 4, 2006)

AngloGold Ashanti is planning to increase the amount of uranium produced as a byproduct from its gold mining operations in the Vaal River area. AngloGold plans to increase its current production of 900 to 1,000 tonnes of uranium a year by developing its new Moab Khotsong gold mine, where it expects to move into areas of higher-grade uranium. (MineWeb Jan. 20, 2005)

 

 
Gauteng

Ezulwini · Randfontein


 

Ezulwini mine

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Ezulwini gold mine causes uranium concentrations in Rietspruit River water and sediment above permissible limit, study finds

"The Rietspruit is located in Gauteng Province, South Africa, within the Witwatersrand Basin. The basin is noted for its vast gold deposit. The river extends for about 60 km before joining the Vaal River. The aim of this study was to determine the concentration of uranium in the Rietspruit and the factors that influenced the concentration of U at each of the sites. The source of uranium in the river is the discharge from the [Cooke 4 Ezulwini] gold mine and the mine wastes. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry was used for water and sediment analysis in order to determine the concentration of U.
High concentration of U was found in the river water and sediment, which is above the permissible limit of U. The water is used for irrigation of farmlands, cattle watering and for human consumption despite the high concentration of uranium in it. Ingestion of uranium is dangerous to human health. Due to the toxic nature of uranium, consumption of the water for domestic use and agriculture purpose must be discouraged."
Assessing Uranium Pollution Levels in the Rietspruit River, Far West Rand Goldfield, South Africa, by I B Raji, E Hoffmann, A Ngie and F Winde, in: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health Aug. 11, 2021, 18, 8466

Fatal accident at Cooke gold/uranium mine

On Feb. 2, 2016, a miner was fatally injured in a materials handling accident involving a pinch bar at Cooke 3 Shaft. (Sibanye Gold Limited Feb. 2, 2016)

Two workers involved in illegal mining activities trapped in Cooke gold/uranium mine

On Feb. 1, 2016, two contractors, who were engaged in illegal mining activities at Cooke 1 Shaft at the end of their shift, appear to have entered an abandoned and sealed raise line close to the one they were supposed to be working in, when they were trapped by a fall of ground in the area. Rescue efforts have commenced. (Sibanye Gold Limited Feb. 2, 2016)

Gold/uranium miner Sibanye hoards uranium hoping for long-term deals

Sibanye Gold is sitting on mined and processed uranium worth tens of millions of rand as it builds up production capacity to allow it to negotiate sales contracts for the energy mineral.
Sibanye, the largest producer of South African gold, has a stockpile of 180,000 pounds of uranium oxide [69 t U] that it has mined along with gold at its Cooke mines, close to Randfontein. At the spot price of $37/lb, the stockpile of triuranium octoxide or yellowcake is worth R77m, but Sibanye would like to enter into long-term uranium supply contracts, which generally command a premium over the spot price. This premium has been in a range between $15/lb and $20/lb. At those premiums the stockpile held at nearby uranium processor Nufcor would be valued at between R108m and R119m.
Sibanye will produce a further 250,000lb [96 t U] of uranium this year as it ramps up its output to 500,000lb [192 t U]. (Business Day Jan. 28, 2014)

First consignment of uranium shipped from Sibanye Gold Ltd's Ezulwini plant

On May 29, 2014, Sibanye Gold Ltd announced that it has produced and shipped its first consignment of uranium, in the form of 10 tonnes of ammonium diuranate ("ADU") to the Nuclear Fuels Corporation of South Africa (Proprietary) Limited ("NUFCOR"), where its precipitated ADU is calcined to form Uranium oxide or Uranium Ore Concentrates.
Uranium oxide production from Sibanye's Ezulwini plant is forecast to build up to approximately 600,000 pounds per annum [231 t U], by the end of 2016. Current ore reserve development at the Cooke 3 and 4 mines is expected to increase available face, thereby facilitating increased throughput from the uranium by-product areas.

Sibanye Gold Ltd acquires Cooke gold/uranium mine

On May 8, 2014, Sibanye Gold Ltd announced the closing of the acquisition of Gold One International Limited's West Rand operations ("Cooke operations").

Operations suspended at Ezulwini mine

On Oct. 16, 2012, Gold One International Limited announced that "operations at Ezulwini will be suspended for at least 30 days. This is to ensure the safety and security of employees and assets amidst rising intimidation and tension within the national mining sector."

Striking workers at Ezulwini mine dismissed

On Oct. 9, 2012, Gold One International Limited announced that "on 9 October 2012, following appropriate disciplinary procedures, the company dismissed approximately 1,435 of the total 1,900 employees at its Ezulwini Operation."

Striking workers at Ezulwini mine suspended

On Oct. 3, 2012, Gold One International Limited announced that "the company issued suspension notices to illegally striking workers at its Ezulwini operation, after repeated requests for workers to return to work were ignored."

Gold One acquires Ezulwini mine

On 3 August 2012, Gold One International Limited announced that the acquisition of First Uranium Limited, the holding company of Ezulwini Mining Company (Pty) Limited, was completed on 1 August 2012. Ezulwini will form part of the Cooke Underground Operations.

Russian group bids for Ezulwini gold/uranium mine

Russian billionaire Victor Vekselberg's Renova Group made a joint bid with South Africa's Waterpan Mining Consortium for a mine controlled by First Uranium Corp. (FIU), trumping an earlier offer. Konstantin Sadovnik, a director of Renova's Transalloys (Pty) Ltd. unit, said today in an e-mail that his company and Waterpan bid for the Ezulwini gold and uranium mine in South Africa. (Bloomberg Apr. 20, 2012)

Half of workforce at Ezulwini mine to be fired in response to fatal accidents' "impact on employee morale and productivity" (!)

"The extremely unfortunate fatal accidents in the latter half of the calendar year have had a significant impact on employee morale and productivity, and as such the expected improvement in production has not been forthcoming. We will, therefore, as required under South African labour laws, give notice today pursuant to Section 189(3) of SALRA in order to allow for contemplated possible employee reductions at the mine as part of developing a new operating plan that will focus on mining more profitable areas of the mine and reducing fixed costs in-line with the scale of the operation. The new operating plan may result in up to 1,850 employees being affected. The operation currently employs approximately 3,745 people." (First Uranium Corp. Dec. 19, 2011)

Another miner dies in fall-of-ground accident at Ezulwini mine

"It is with deep regret that First Uranium Corporation today announced that a fall of ground has claimed the life of an underground employee at its Ezulwini Mine. The incident occurred on 48 level in an O-line stoping panel." (First Uranium Corp. Nov. 14, 2011)

Another miner dies in fall-of-ground accident at Ezulwini mine

"First Uranium Corporation with deep regret announced today that a fall of ground accident has claimed the life of a rock drill operator at its Ezulwini Mine. The incident occurred on 13 September 2011 on number 50 level." (First Uranium Corp. Sep. 13, 2011)

Another fatal accident at Ezulwini mine

"First Uranium Corporation has regrettably announced that on August 11, 2011 a fatality occurred at the Ezulwini mine." (First Uranium Corp. Aug. 12, 2011)

Uranium plant at Ezulwini mine restarted after repairs

Yellow cake production re-commenced on April 12, 2011, and production build-up to planned levels is expected to occur over the next few weeks. (First Uranium Corporation Apr. 19, 2011)

Another miner dies in fall-of-ground accident at Ezulwini mine

On March 14, 2011, First Uranium Corp. announced that on March 12, 2011 a fall of ground accident occurred on 33 level underground at the Ezulwini gold mine that has claimed the life of an employee. A temporary work stoppage instruction has been issued by the Department of Mineral Resources, pursuant to section 54 of the Mine Health and Safety Act (South Africa), until such time as a preliminary investigation has been completed.

Miner dies in fall-of-ground accident at Ezulwini mine

A miner has died after a fall of ground at the Ezulwini mine in Westonaria, outside Johannesburg, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Tuesday (Nov. 16). "A mineworker lost his life (in the early hours of Tuesday morning) at the Rand Uranium's Ezulwini mine in Gauteng after a fall of ground," said NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka. (Independent Online Nov. 16, 2010)

Ezulwini uranium plant temporarily closed for repair works

On Aug. 31, 2010, First Uranium Corporation announced that it has temporarily closed its Ezulwini Uranium plant to replace two columns in the Ion Exchange section, following a structural failure on a loading column. The plant will be closed while two columns are designed, manufactured, installed and commissioned. The work is expected to be complete by year end.
On Jan. 27, 2011, First Uranium Corp. announced that that re-commissioning of the uranium plant is expected by the end of March 2011.

Worker dies in fall-of-ground accident at Ezulwini mine

First Uranium on Friday (Sep. 18) reported a fatality at its Ezulwini mine, in South Africa. First Uranium spokesperson Bob Tait said that there was an unexpected fall of ground in the area where underground crews were installing permanent supports in a stope on the 45 level of the Middle Elsburg Reef horizon, which is the uranium and gold ore body at the Ezulwini mine. (Mining Weekly Sep. 18, 2009)
First Uranium Corp. said on Friday it suspended operations at its Ezulwini mine in South Africa after a worker was killed in an incident. "Our plants continue to operate on inventory in the silos," First Uranium spokesman Bob Tait said, adding the company's focus would be to investigate the cause of the incident, which happened on Thursday. (Reuters Sep. 18, 2009)
Mining resumed on Sep. 21, 2009. (Business Report Sep. 22, 2009)

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Northwest

Dominion Reefs


 

Dominion Reefs mine

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Workers march for better conditions at Dominion Reefs mine

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) in the North West led a march to the offices of Gupta-owned Shiva Uranium at Hartebeesfontein near Klerksdorp in the North West, demanding better conditions for workers.
The mine is accused of paying workers below minimum wages, unfair dismissal of workers and failing to fulfill its corporate social responsibilities, amongst others.
The march was preceded, by an anti-corruption crusade. Marchers opened a fraud case against the former municipal manager of Mahikeng Local Municipality with the Hawks at Klerksdorp and then leading a march to the Gupta owned Shiva Uranium mine at Hartebeesfontein.
A memorandum complaining about alleged failings of the mine was handed over. (SABC News Sep. 14, 2017)

Indian-owned Dominion gold/uranium mine accused of environmental pollution

The Dominionville community in Klerksdorp in North West is suffering from an increase in respiratory diseases allegedly caused by dust from the tailings dams at the Shiva Uranium mine which is effectively owned by the Gupta family‚ Bench Marks Foundation's community monitors claimed on Thursday (Mar. 17).
According to the monitors‚ the mine‚ in which they say the Guptas own a 74% stake through Oakbay Resources (the family owns 64% of Oakbay‚ in which Duduzane Zuma‚ President Jacob Zuma's son‚ also has a stake)‚ does not seem to regard the tailings dams as a danger.
They charged that no action had been taken toward minimising the damage to the community.
In addition to the increase in respiratory diseases‚ the monitors say they have recorded a severe reduction in water supply to the community which has resulted in a school closing down and children having to travel 40 kilometres to the next school. Uranium mining uses copious amounts of water.
"In a move to absolve it from liability or actions‚ the mine is pushing for the community to relocate by claiming that the area is highly radioactive and is not suitable for human settlement. But the nearby white community has not been pushed into doing so‚" the Bench Marks Foundation said in a statement. (TimesLive Mar. 17, 2016)
> Download Bench Marks Foundation release Mar. 17, 2016 (54k PDF)

Dominion mine restarted by new owner; uranium production to begin "shortly"

Shiva Uranium Ltd. began gold output and plans to produce uranium "shortly" at the South African Dominion mine it bought from Uranium One Inc. last year. “We're looking at very shortly starting up the uranium processing plant,” Jagdish Parekh, chief executive officer of Hartbeesfontein, South Africa-based Shiva said by phone from Pretoria today. (Bloomberg Jan. 26, 2011)

Dominion mine to be restarted by new owner

A new start-up for the stranded Dominion uranium operation which was placed on care-and-maintenance by Uranium One in 2008 is expected before month-end. The expected restart is set to be effected by the new owner, the Zuma-linked Shiva Uranium . (Mining Weekly May 14, 2010)

Dominion mine sold

On May 10, 2010, Uranium One announced the completion in April 2010 of the sale of the Dominion Uranium Project.

Dominion mine shut down for poor economics

On Oct. 22, 2008, Uranium One Inc. announced its decision to place the Dominion Uranium Project on care and maintenance. The decision "reflects the significant deterioration in the Project's economics associated with the continuing decline in uranium prices over the last year and significant inflation-related increases in Project costs, together with a slower than expected ramp-up in development and production."

Uranium One suspends Dominion mine operations upon strike

On Oct. 10, 2008, Uranium One Inc. announced that it has temporarily suspended mine operations at the Dominion Uranium Project in South Africa. According to the company, this action follows labour disruptions this week at the project, which culminated in a general illegal strike.

Workers go on strike against poor working conditions at Klerksdorp uranium mine

On July 11, 2008, workers at Uranium One's mine near Klerksdorp in the North West are to march against poor working conditions, police said. Superintendent Lesego Metsi said the march had not started yet and police were on the scene to ensure everything went off peacefully. "Workers are going to stop operations and march against poor working conditions, treatment of workers at the mines and salary increases." "It is not a strike action as far as we know. It is just a protest by workers to take their demands to management," he said. (Pretoria News July 11, 2008)

Production forecast cut for Dominion Reefs mine

Uranium One slashed its 2008 production forecast for the Dominion mine due to slow underground development. The mine produced only 171,000 pounds U3O8 [65.8 t U] in 2007 and is scheduled to produce 590,000 pounds [227 t U] in 2008. It was previously estimated to produce 2 million pounds [769 t U] in 2008. The company had been planning to produce an average of 3.8 million pounds [1,462 t U] per year by 2011 from the mine, but further delays will push this timeline back. (Resource Investor Feb. 21, 2008)

Stormwater dam fails at Dominion Reefs uranium mine

About 100 million litres of water was spilled from Uranium One's Dominion Reefs uranium mine near Klerksdorp on Dec. 8, 2007, when a section of the dam wall broke after a heavy rainstorm. But Robert van Niekerk, Uranium One vice-president for Africa and Europe, dismissed concerns that the water might be radioactive. "Preliminary tests on the water in the veld and the Jagspruit have showed that it does not hold any danger for flora and fauna. The quality of the water is consistent with that of the Jagspruit, at any time of the year," said Van Niekerk. The water in the dam that caved in, was apparently only stormwater. The walls of the nearby silt (tailings) dam did not break. Van Niekerk said about 58 mm of rain fell in half an hour in the afternoon of Dec. 8, 2007. There were also heavy rains earlier in the week. The dam level rose rapidly. When the dam overflowed, a section of the wall caved in. (Beeld Dec. 10, 2007)

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