Feasibility of tailings retreatment to unlock value and create environmental sustainability of the Louis Moore tailings dump near Giyani, South Africa

N. K. Singo, J. D. Kramers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The reprocessing of tailings resources to extract gold on an industrial scale has become common practice. While these projects are common in the Witwatersrand basin, similar low-technology processes are not operational in smaller goldfields. This study explores the possibility of reclaiming the tailings dump of the Louis Moore Mine in the Giyani Greenstone Belt, investigates potential hazards to communities in the vicinity, and identifies mitigation strategies. Auger samples were taken from the Louis Moore tailings at depths of up to 5 m. Aqua regia leach analyses show Au concentrations of up to 1 g/t. Inferred estimations based on ordinary kriging (OK) and inverse distance weighted (IDW) methods put the residual Au resource in the Louis Moore tailings dump at 0.20 t. Reworking the tailings is viable, although a potential environmental risk exists in the form of elevated arsenic concentrations. Further exploration is required to determine the mineralogical associations of Au and As. Tailings reworking would assist in raising funds for mine rehabilitation. The secondary tailings could potentially be repurposed, which would provide employment and facilitate community development, as well as deliver environmental benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-368
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Volume121
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Louis Moore
  • gold
  • health
  • safety
  • tailings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry

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