the main problem facing gold mining in south africa

discuss gold mining in south africa,processing,significance and the problems faced while mining

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five common challenges facing the mining industry | aggreko

The mining industry comes with its fair share of challenges; from scarce resources to uncertainty around commodity prices, miners are always looking at ways to overcome barriers to stay competitive. Below we explore 5 challenges currently facing the industry.

As resources in some areas become scarce or depleted, companies are forced to push new frontiers of exploration.Depending on what is being mined, this has the potential to be more expensive than traditional mining and could leave companies more reliant on rental power solutions.

To reach those resources which remain, mines are increasingly being established in off-grid locations and their lifecycle is decreasing, meaning it is no longer financially viable to build permanent power infrastructure to service the mine. Instead, remote mines are now utilising scalable microgrids that can evolve with the lifecycle, improving flexibility and efficiency.

Mining is a dangerous profession. The traditional occupational hazards such as coal dust inhalation, damage to hearing due to the noise in a mine and chemical hazards still stand but the changing nature of mining has led to a raft of new issues.

As mines are getting deeper, the risk of collapse has greatly increased. With a rise in surface temperatures and an increasingly unpredictable climate, the temperature of a mine is more likely to fluctuate and as a result, consistent temperature control is even more important than it had previously been.

Rocketing exploration and production costs have impacted profit margins and left investors reticent to engage with new projects, especially with smaller companies. Juniors, who lack the war chests of the major companies, face the challenge of raising the necessary capital to invest in increasingly expensive mining practices or in large-scale equipment.

Flexible finance has become an increasingly popular solution and it enables mining juniors to continue to push the barriers of exploration. Nervous investors and a lack of access to capital has meant numerous high-profile projects being scrapped, shelved or sent back to the drawing board.

Volatile commodity prices make it extremely difficult for companies to plan income and therefore expenditure. Recent disruption in commodity prices has led to many companies having to close down operations or make serious cuts in the size of their workforce. As a result, mining companies are focussed on improving efficiency and reducing cost more than ever.

One of the major ways it can do so, is by evaluating their energy usage. Remote locations and limited access to local grid infrastructure means that the mining industry places significant demand on diesel generation for electricity.However, with recent enhancements in renewable energy, the industry is now seeing the rise of hybrid power solutions for mine site operations. By combining renewables with thermal generation and battery storage, mine sites can now increase efficiency while reducing their carbon footprint and overall costs.

We believe power opens up opportunity and creates potential for individuals, communities, industries, economies and societies all over the world.

mining problems and possible solutions - tasmanian times

Mining, Part 3: In his three-part series, Dr Buck Emberg presents a balanced examination of both the need for mining and the environmental consequences of extracting minerals. He explains that mining has been a human activity since before the Stone Age and will remain so in the future. He contends that mining is here to stay, and we must learn to live with mines and mining companies must learn to be better corporate citizens. The articles do not present an either/or approach to mining. Nor do they take sides. At the end of the series, the reader will have a clearer view of the worldwide dilemma facing both humanity and the mining industry.

The colossal power and collective wealth that is associated with and managed by the mining industry worldwide is beyond assessment. No statistic can begin to evaluate its capital value, nor its social impact upon all nations. Unfortunately, the industry is less than transparent in its dealings. An example concerning an aspect of the metal sector demonstrates this problem. The US Census Bureau reported that in 2009 the world combined mining production reached approximately 69,319,000 metric tonne of minerals. Index Mundi relates that a further 128,000 metric tonne of gravel and silica were removed in 2007 in the US alone. These statistics could be challenged as I suspect the numbers are higher. For instance, the Duluth News Tribune, Minnesota, on 17 January 2013 reported that the USA shipped over 61 million metric tonne of iron ore. It is obvious that none of the above statistics even considers the overburden left behind as mountains of debris. The overburden from an open pit mine (the worlds preferred mining method) sometimes reaches five times the mass of minerals removed for processing. Overburden is piled near the mine and can become unstable and dangerous. Some overburden mountains are as high as 200m and can be poisonous to ground water and animal life. Bison Hill in Alberta, Canada, which is the geographical centre of the Athabasca Tar Sands industry, is expected to have an overburden height of 320m.

Mines proliferate each year in all nations. No angry community groups, no alternate life style factions and certainly no governments, regardless of their power, are able to inhibit or stop these juggernauts. Perhaps society should not stop this inexorable industrial force that is able to crush all opposition. That is, if growth and wealth are considered to be the most important aspects of progress. This is a matter of priorities for a culture. From a philosophical point of view it may be that growth must continue until there can be no more growth. This phenomenon is analogous to the hungry dragon eating its tail and eventually consuming itself.

Capitalistic societies as a matter of faith have come to believe that growth is limitless and uncapped growth is for the greatest good. This belief has now become accepted economic dogma. China, to its peril, has bought into this concept of limitless growth. This viewpoint may ultimately cause Chinas economic demise along with the world financial systems. Capitalism, under the flag of free enterprise, has been the inspiration that has run the engines of progress for the past 250 years. However, like ALL philosophies, the free enterprise system is flawed because of the false ideology that everything grows irresistibly and continuously. This myth continues because growth is believed to be an immutable law.

To be devoted to untrammeled growth is adoration of the finite. Contrary to this belief, EVERYTHING eventually fades away. Insurance companies long ago gave it a name: inherent vice or hidden defects in all matter. Of course, that includes people. Simple logic states that if all finite things end and all things are finite, then everything must end. Therefore, if all reality is finite and growth is finite, a society built upon the philosophy of unending growth must fail. A mine, when its ore body is exhausted, has failed. Simply stated, mining is finite and is a reminder that everything has its own ending.

Another sustainability myth is found in the story of Italian navigator, John Cabot. On an expedition to the New World in 1497, Cabot discovered what appeared to be the ultimate sustainable gift from nature: the Cod or Grand Banks of New Foundland, Canada, which offered unending marine wealth. Though he never kept a diary, Cabot is alleged to have said something like, There are enough fish for eternity in these waters. The original biomass of fish is estimated to have been in the tens of millions of tonnes. The record reveals that for years all fishermen needed to do was lower large baskets into the ocean and pull up the baskets when they were full of fish. By 1995 the cod fish industry disappeared along with most cod and other species. The fishing banks lasted for 500 years, but this is not sustainability. As everything is finite, this pillage of the ocean is tantamount to ocean mining.

To believe, as do mining companies, that growth is limitless is to believe erroneously. Yet, this modern myth states that mining IS sustainable. However, mining conglomerates are the least sustainable of all industries. Hitherto, most governments have accepted the false idea of limitless growth. They accordingly have legislated in favour of the mining industry in order to increase state revenues. Therefore, if a government depends on a false idea for its continual growth, the result can only be deeply problematic. Governments risk destroying themselves through their obsession with unending and ever-increasing revenue and the interdependency between government, private corporations and cartels.

These articles have presented two main ideas, 1. The nature of mankind is both good and bad at the same instant and this will not change. 2. Growth forever is a false assumption given the finiteness of all things. There is also a corollary idea: mining will not go away, nor should mining be stopped, as the very continuation of all cultures depends upon mined products.

The problem with these bold statements is that they are declarative and do not lead to solutions. I do not presume to have answers to the problems surrounding the finite. Not even Aristotle was able to explain this conundrum. However, I will present a list of possible solutions, which may bring about further discussion and debate. 1. In a free market society the following may be the worst solution to the problems surrounding growth: a. learn to live with less and b. become a militant non-consumer. Both a. and b. would probably prompt the Chamber of Commerce to disparage the idea because without continuous growth, businesses could not exist successfully and success is integral to their model. 2. The profit motive should be challenged. How many various profits does a mining company or, indeed, ANY company, need to continue trading; or is the demand for growth merely another aspect of the sustainability myth? 3. Develop a new and more flexible type of co-operative capitalism whereby unions, business and governments do not seek to control means of production but work together for the greater good of the people they collectively represent. 4. This arises from the need for a true tolerance and transparency on the part of government, business and unions. All leaders give lip service to openness and transparency but few are ready practitioners. 5. The current antagonistic and adversarial approach in parliament impedes and frustrates progress and harmony. This is counter-productive to creativity. 6. The more liberal minded in the debate call for more Regulations in order to control the greedy human spirit; the other and more conservative side calls for more Deregulations in order to release what they perceive is mankinds innate strength. The bare fact is that humankind cannot be left to act as it sees fit; nor do people function well when heavily controlled. As mankind is both good and bad at the same moment, good regulations which take account of human nature must be formulated in a non-adversarial climate. 7. The creativity of people can establish many more solutions to the above problems. Paradoxically, to obtain further insight into the future, we need to backtrack. Philosophers have devised solutions to peoples organizational problems since humankind first stood upright. Jeremy Bentham, John Stewart Mill and others sought to solve the human problem in the early 19th century when they said that laws and morals would always be best when legislated for the greatest good for the greatest numbers.

The present condition of society moves with ever-increasing speed. Opportunity is not dependent upon how long a horse and cart takes to get to market but is now measured in nanoseconds. Speed is the popular concept today. The richest mining executives or the lowliest businessperson, politician, union organizer or consumer is pushed to produce or consume more and more, faster and faster.

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