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Case Study on the Remediation of a Remote Acid Mine Drainage Site in South Africa With Emphasis on Low Cost Measures and Cost Benefit Assessments

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  • Loubert Witbank is a defunct coal mine situated near Ermelo in South Africa. Mining ceased in 1992, and within a short period acidic decant occurred, with a significant impact on the regional catchment. The problem was studied during 1996/1997, and the site remediated in 2001/2002 by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. Remediation involved primarily submerging of carbonaceous material, backfilling of voids, and capping of the site. Acidic water with high iron levels was also neutralised and discharged. The project was used to assess the cost benefit of different options to the downstream users, from which target expenditure was derived for the various improvements. The cost benefit analysis for neutralisation provided a basis for the investigation of low-cost neutralisation options that are robust enough to be applied in a remote environment.

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