As South Africa adjusts to increased economic activity under lockdown level 4, Pan African Resources set to reach output forecast with tailings retreatment. The gold producer operates in a reduced capacity to ensure continued output while maintaining the necessary health and safety standards to keep the workforce safe to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
Under South Africa’s stringent COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, mining activity has been severely curtailed. However, miners that are able to continue surface operations, including tailings retreatment, have been able to operate in a safe and responsible manner, and sustain some level of much needed economic activity within their communities, with tailings retreatment proving that environmentally and socially responsible way to continue working toward annual output forecasts.
The business of tailings reprocessing is providing a lifeline to businesses impacted by the virus due to the easily accessible nature of tailings retreatments, the ability to operate plants with fewer people where employees are able to adhere to social distancing requirements and other necessary protocols.
Tailings reprocessing involves the retreatment of mud-like residual ore waste of mines, allowing for the mining of additional mineral resources.
The Elikhulu tailings retreatment plant, the third of its kind from Pan African Resources, has proven the mines ability to operate safely, at a reduced rate and in line with all legal requirements, throughout the lockdown period as the gold producers share price rises alongside a soaring gold price during the pandemic.
Retreatment of the surface sources at Elikhulu has created much-needed employment and development opportunities for the communities around Evander, during the construction phase as well as during the operational phase that has life of mine in excess of 12 years.
In addition to providing economic opportunities, the reuse and retreatment of tailings dams can also enhance the environmental sustainability of the mining industry. Reprocessed tailings are typically deposed on a new site that can take advantage of modern, improved lining and containment technologies, thereby mitigating the contamination and safety risks of older tailings storage facilities.
Once a burden on mining companies, tailings storage facilities are an increasingly attractive strategic asset for technologically focused and innovative miners.
Not only does the successful reprocessing of what was historically surface waste allow for additional mineral yields, but more so it creates a viable revenue stream for Pan African Resources in a time where most may find themselves unable to achieve their forecasted outputs.