Monthly Archives: September 2019

More than just recycling

Circular economies in the mining sector: More than just recycling
18 JUL 2019

By – Gargi Mishra

“There’s been a shift in the mining industry from the linear extractive, consumption-based economic model that characterised the last century, to a new paradigm focused on sustainability through restorative and regenerative business practices.

But it’s about more than simple recycling. The focus today is gradually moving away from economies that rely on finite resources and shifting to a more sustainable model whereby resources are recycled and reused.

As the global economy grapples with the realities of resource depletion, rising price pressure, shifts in downstream demand and the need to align with environmental, societal and governance (ESG) principles to attract investment, a growing number of nations and businesses are looking to circularity as a viable pivot.

This requires companies and economies to completely re-engineer their value and supply chains in accordance with a circular economic model that keeps resources in use for as long as possible by taking end-of-life products and pushing them back into the economy to build economic, natural and social capital.

While certain nations and various industry verticals such as the consumer goods, retail and automotive sectors have emerged as first-movers in this regard, greater urgency is required within industries that are most vulnerable to this disruption.

Eliminating waste

A recently released Accenture report titled Mining New Value from the Circular Economy, highlights the major challenges facing global mining and metals companies in this context.

As economies seek to tap into the $4.5trn opportunity from eliminating waste through the circular economy, established mining and metals companies need to safeguard their market share while also tapping into a rich new value source.

A failure to get to grips with the circular economy puts mining and metals companies at risk because companies further down the materials supply chain that embrace circular models are increasingly driving downstream innovation in the extraction and use of precious metals and recycled materials.

Manufacturers, for example, are getting better at recovering their investment in natural resources in closed-loop cycles, while these new circular business models are disrupting historical links between ownership and sales growth.

Furthermore, as waste and material losses are eliminated over time, for example, as we move to additive manufacturing, the knock-on effect on primary demand will likely rise in significance.

Despite the urgent need to adapt, examples of circular innovation are comparatively scarce in the mining and metals sectors. Industry attention to date has largely focused on the circular economy as a route to operational efficiency, in the form of recycling water or monetising waste streams such as slag or used tyres, as examples.

However, mining and metal companies are not always well positioned to monetise the recycling flow. As such, the bigger question – and opportunity – of how to drive value from changing market demand, remains largely untapped.

Mining and metals companies must, therefore, adapt fast and embrace change to transition to a circular economic model if they hope to remain relevant.

By taking the right steps today, mining and metals companies can reposition for success by building long-term resilience and generating new sustainable business and economic opportunities, while also creating environmental and societal benefits.

Fourth Industrial Revolution

For example, new opportunities will likely emerge from demand for a wide range of base and precious metals required in the new technologies that define the Fourth Industrial Revolution. According to the World Bank, the transition to a low-carbon economy will also see increased demand for these commodities as countries shift to clean energy production and storage.

Mining and metals companies must, therefore, determine where best to focus in this shifting marketplace and how best to take advantage of both the circular economy and clean-tech trends.

In response, mining and metals companies must reposition operations and act fast to keep pace with the growing cohort of innovative first-mover industry front-runners and the downstream disruptors.

In this regard, these industry players must review their portfolios to assess where the risks of decreased demand or substitution loom largest, understand which materials can be recovered most effectively, and where new downstream circular business models could present threats or opportunities.

These companies must then reimagine their business models to accelerate their transition to the circular economy. According to the Accenture report, this three-step process offers an advantageous starting point:

Develop circular operations
*Start by accelerating circular initiatives across mining and metals operations by partnering with suppliers to extend the life of capital equipment through real-time monitoring, analytics and predictive maintenance; selling production waste to other industries; and sharing ownership of heavy-duty equipment with low utilisation rates.
*Innovate new circular products and services
*Engage with downstream material users to co-create innovative circular products and services. These models might include leasing materials, enabled by advanced track-and-trace systems; supporting customer product certification to enable reuse and easy remanufacturing; or improving processes for scrap recovery, reprocessing and reuse.
*Collaborate with customers and build a circular partners’ ecosystem
*By proactively collaborating up and down supply chains, mining and metals companies can create industry momentum by working to create favourable regulatory regimes for improved circularity; establishing cross-industry partnerships to develop the mining and metals roadmap to extend product life and retain ownership; and developing cross-industry standards to validate the integrity of products or materials for end-of-life take-back and repurposing.

With the mining and metals sector poised for epic disruption, companies in this sector can no longer afford to be followers. Those that embrace the circular economy at speed can take the lead and reshape the future of the industry on their terms, with the potential to build closed-loop systems, lock-in downstream ecosystems and drive sustainable value, competitive advantage and future growth.”


Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

How Will SA save the Mining Industry

I trust you’ll enjoy today’s articles.  Please follow the links to the original articles.


SA has its work cut out to save mining – IRR
Jul 19 2019 06:00 Khulekani Magubane, Fin24

“Project manager at the Institute of Race Relations Terence Corrigan has warned in a report from the think tank that government would have to introduce considerable policy changes if it hopes to pull the country’s mining industry out of its lull into a “renaissance”.

It has also called for the introduction of an independent minerals commission.

An excerpt from the report, titled Steering Mining into the Future: Can the mining industry prepare itself for a reinvigorated tomorrow?, argues that the recovery of the mining industry is possible, but will require “significant” reforms.

Since the beginning of the year – on multiple platforms, including the Investing in African Mining Indaba and parliamentary debates – Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe has said mining in SA is not yet a sunset industry.

The IRR report, however, argues that South Africa has failed to follow best practice in several key areas.

It further states that South Africa’s current policy and regulatory regime is the culmination of a direction taken since the transition to democracy.

‘Nub of the problem’

Mining expert Peter Leon, cited in the report, says the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act was an example of discretion afforded to the minister on mining rights and operations, which brought about uncertainty.

“The MPRDA essentially replaced the principles of private law, based on rights of ownership, with principles of administrative law based on conditional state licences.

“That, in essence, is the nub of the problem which the industry has faced since 2004,” Leon argues.

Even as the commodity boom was underway, South Africa’s failure to draw optimal advantage from it was to a large extent a matter of policy and administrative failings – even if other factors played a role too, according to Leon.

Leon argues that limiting executive discretion in the industry is an established best practice.

South Africa needs to rewrite the MPRDA in objective terms, along the lines of Botswana, which includes mandatory time limits for all licensing decisions, he adds.

Independent minerals commission

“South Africa should remove the high levels of administrative discretion that are currently so much a part of our minerals regime. It should also introduce an electronic online mining cadastre which many other African mining jurisdictions have done. We should introduce the system that Ghana and Brazil now have, which is an independent minerals commission to regulate the industry,” says Leon.

The IRR report says while minerals account for over a quarter of South Africa’s merchandise exports, mining remains strained, and indications for the future are not encouraging.

“Attending to the regulatory hindrances besetting mining is necessary, but it is unlikely to be sufficient for a revival of the industry’s fortunes. Much in the broader governance and societal ambit has a bearing on the industry, contributing to the costs of operations, and the desirability of undertaking operations in South Africa,” says IRR project manager Terence Corrigan.

Corrigan says even though the mining industry has been beset with tepid production and labour troubles, among other things, the sector still plays a significant role in the South African economy and remains worth investing in.

“If mining is no longer the foundation and backbone of South Africa’s economy, it remains an enormously important contributor to the country’s prospects.

“With a multi-trillion-rand trove of minerals, there is the potential – in theory at least – for a mining renaissance. Properly handled, this could mean a new lease on life for the industry and its sustainability into the future,” Corrigan says.

The report acknowledges that expropriation of land without compensation did not appear to register as a major concern for the mining industry, but argues that uncertainty on policy, broadly speaking, has made South Africa less attractive for investment.”

How Will SA save the Mining Industry

The future of mining lies in good leadership
4 JUL 2019

“The mining vision for 2030 is an industry that is growing in investment, production and revenue; is well regulated and well led by ethical leaders, and is competitive, appropriately skilled, modernised and invests in research and development., according to the Department of Mineral Resources’ Mining Leadership Compact

Effective leadership is key to achieving this goal, as the mining sector remains a critical part of the SA economy contributing, in 2017, 7% to GDP, 27% to total exports, 19% to fixed investment and providing 1,5-million direct and indirect employment opportunities, supporting more than 10-million dependents.

“The need for growing talent and leadership for the South African economy – and the mining sector in particular – is greater than ever before. The disruption that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is causing is significantly affecting 21st century mining, employment and skills,” says Professor Fred Cawood, director at the Wits Mining Institute.

He adds that organisational success and sustainability begins or ends with leadership. A leader is inextricably-linked to an organisation’s culture and shapes the leadership team which in turn filters this influence through every area of an organisation, including the performance and productivity of the workforce.

Effective staff engagement

As the South African mining sector is labour intensive, the performance of a mining company depends primarily on the productivity of its workforce.

“Leaders need to be appropriately skilled and empowered to effectively lead the organisation, but just as importantly, they must be able to impact employee performance through effective leadership and staff engagement,” says Cawood.

The institute will be holding a three day seminar entitled Empowering Leaders for 21st Century Mining’, covering important topics relevant to leadership in mining, specifically for women.from 6-8 August 2019.

Three modules will be covered during the three days. The first module introduces 21st Century Mining. The second is Transformation in Mining, in which leaders from industry and business share insights on transformation and leadership. The third module is Leadership for 21st Century Mining, which aims to empower leaders through the tools of self-awareness, personal development, mentoring, coaching, emotional intelligence and networking.

A visit to the Wits Sibanye-Stillwater Digital Mining Laboratory (DigiMine), which is a 24/7, digitally monitored, realistic underground mining environment. There will also be a visit to the exciting Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation hub in Braamfontein is included in the programme, and attendees are eligible for continuing professional development (CPD) points.”


Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Invisible Fine Dust

The invisible fine dust

Dr Fodisch Umweltmesstechnik AG

“Air is lifeblood. Daily we inhale approximately 15.000 liter. Still, the air contains invisible pollutants, which vary in its composition and concentration depending on the location. Especially the respirable particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 µm (PM 2.5) were considered to be particularly dangerous.

According to a current study conducted by the Max Planck Society, worldwide 3.3 million people annually die prematurely due-to consequences of air pollution. In the European Union, the exposure with fine dust and ozone causes up to 180 000 deaths each year, of which alone 35 000 die in Germany. (Source) Various examinations have proven that dust polluted air indoor and outdoor damage the heart, lungs and brain resulting in an increased infarction and stroke risk and rising attacks of asthma. At the latest since the Volkswagen emission scandal and the fine dust alert in Stuttgart, the topic gained presence. It is a fact that the emission of fine dust and nitrogen oxide in exhaust gases is not entirely caused by road transport vehicles. Not only in Stuttgart, but also in other areas in Europe the particulate matter concentrations are too high. Also tyre abrasion on the roadway as well as aviation and railway related PM2.5 emissions contribute to a rising fine dust concentration in the environment. The promotion of small-scale firing plants in recent years intensified the problem and demonstrates nowadays its full impact. Biomass power plants and industrial incinerations were the main emitters of fine dust particles.

European emission limits and emission guidelines should control the respirable dust pollution. Since 2015 exist a limit value of 25 µg/m³ in the annual average throughout Europe. This value will be reduced in 2020 to 20 µg/m³. The conformation of the limitation values were controlled by 170 regulatory measuring stations of the Federal Environment Agency in Germany. According to their results, the fine dust pollution has diminished over the last few years at both national and regional level, but the trend stagnated since 2013. (Source)
Comprehensible to everyone is that fine dust pollution rises in urban and suburban spaces, whereas in rural areas the values decrease.
To combat causes is more difficult than the responsible persons thought.

No matter what the weather is like: The fine dust measurement fits

Weather-related influences adversely affect the measurement. Regulatory measuring stations, as required to gain reliable measuring values, are technically sophisticated and cost-intensive. Currently six regulatory measuring stations in Stuttgart were installed.

Through the compact fine dust sensor FDS 15 from Dr. Födisch Umweltmesstechnik AG, a smart fine dust measuring instrument enters now the market that determines the fine dust concentration (PM2.5) in a similar way. Previous trials in Germany and China correspond well to the regulatory measuring stations. Every two seconds, a measuring signal is transmitted to the receiver. Depending on the customers’ requirements the determined values can be averaged over minutes or hours. Due to the continuous measuring principle, the values contain a high level of information density and have therefore also a great expressiveness.

Moreover, through the WLAN-capability and the connection of several sensors, it can be defined precisely, where and when the fine dust pollution comes from. This is shown by the evaluation of our test results.

Measuring principle

Two optical sensors form the centerpieces of the FDS 15, which determine the dust content on basis of the scattered light method.
The sucked air is preheated to 50 °C and maintained constantly on this level. In this context, it doesn´t matter what the weather is like or which measuring location is selected. Via an integrated fan, flow enforcement takes place and guarantees air exchange. With the establishment and design, we´ve putting emphasis on compactness.

If you would like to get more technical details, you can download the technical datasheet (on the source website).

One fine dust sensor, various application possibilities

This device is applicable to stationary or mobile use to control air quality both indoor and outdoor, which plays an important role in workplace air quality monitoring for instance in factory halls. The FDS 15 can also be integrated in urban agglomerations e.g. on street poles or transport hubs. Airports, public buildings and industrial areas were also addressees.

The fine dust sensor FDS 15 can be used very versatile for example:

Air management system (ventilation control)
Air quality system (supplement to air quality monitoring systems, CO2-concentration measuring systems in rooms
Workplace Monitoring
Filter Monitoring in terms of air return
Ambient Monitoring
Controlling tool (detection of diffuse emission sources)
Benefit-Kit (additional device for meteorological stations)

The advantages are clear:

Regardless of weather conditions
Continuous fine dust measurement
Attractively priced, industrial-suited measuring device
Easy data-output via standard interface
Low maintenance operation
Robust construction and compact design
This makes the FDS 15 to a manageable and true all-rounder looking for their equals.

The result counts: Precise fine dust monitoring under test conditions

The FDS 15 was tested under different conditions in practice. Three results will be presented now:

At New Year’s Eve the fine dust pollution reaches concentrations that were never as high as on this annual event. The analysis of the measuring results clearly shows the impact of weather phenomenons on the dust content. A change in the weather facilitates air exchanges. In the rain, air pollutants can be “washed out”. Normally, the lower air layer is warmer than the layer above. In times of atmospheric inversion, the upper air layer is hotter than the layer beneath, so that the air exchange is blocked. The pollutants contained in the air were captured at ground level and accumulated over hours and even days. We observed these high air pollution concentrations on 02.01.2016 in Leipzig.

In a foundry we determined the fine dust concentration, averaged over five minutes, caused by welding fume. The analysis clearly shows at what time production-related work peaks occur. The continuous measuring principle offers the opportunity to monitor air quality at the work place and to control exhaustion and filter systems in order to improve the quality of production processes and preventive health care of employees. Therewith energy can be saved since the exhaustion capacity is adjusted depending on the real measured dust load.

Not least because of our mobile measurements, performed together with our cooperation partner G. Lufft Mess- und Regeltechnik GmbH and the mobile weather sensor MARWIS, unveils excellent results…”

For the full article, please follow the link provided.


Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Invisible Fine Dust

Fallout Dust Monitoring course

Good day

The next Fallout Dust Monitoring course is in October 2019 in Pretoria 

8 – 10 October 2019 – Pretoria

The costs are in the attached files, R4400 per person per day.

If you would like to attend or to send a representative, then please email or call 021 789 0847 or 082 875 0209 to reserve a place.

Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any queries, comments, or suggestions.


Chris Loans


DustWatch CC – Precipitant Dust Monitoring

082 875 0209 or 021 789 0847 (Chris)

083 308 4764 (Gerry)

021 789 0847 (Cape Town)

011 083 8750 (Johannesburg)

+1 832 422 5031 (USA)

0866 181 421 (Fax – SA Only)


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SO2 Pollution Standards

Enjoy today’s articles – please follow the links to the original articles.


Doubling SO2 pollution standards would have deadly consequences for Highveld communities

Centre for Environmental Rights

11 JULY 2019

“A new study has shown that the doubling of air pollution standards for sulphur dioxide (SO2), proposed by the previous Environment Minister Nomvula Mokonyane in May 2019, would cause thousands of deaths on the Highveld.

The study conducted by Lauri Myllyvirta, lead analyst at Greenpeace Global Air Pollution Unit, shows that, over time, an estimated 3,300 premature deaths would be caused by doubling the SO2 standard, as a result of increased risk of lower respiratory infections, increased risk of stroke, and increased risk of death from diabetes – with approximately 1,000 of these premature deaths estimated in Gauteng. The studies also show profound health impacts on children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those already suffering from asthma, heart, and lung disease.

In October 2018, former Minister Mokonyane published the doubled SO2 minimum emission standard (MES) limit without having invited public comment, as the Air Quality Act requires. In April 2019, environmental justice group groundWork was forced to institute litigation to set aside the unlawful notice. In May 2019, the Minister withdrew the unlawful notice and gave the public 30 days to comment on the same proposal to weaken the SO2 standard.

Last month, the Life After Coal Campaign (LAC), along with 4 community-based organisations, submitted detailed and comprehensive objections to the proposal.

From the outset, LAC and the community-based organisations have vigorously objected to the Department of Environmental Affairs’ proposal to weaken the MES limit for SO2, a highly toxic pollutant that is known to cause significant harm to human health and the environment.

This amendment would allow all coal-fired boilers to emit double their previously allowed SO2 pollution from 1 April 2020, including Eskom and Sasol, South Africa’s biggest emitters of SO2. Eskom’s coal-fired power stations and Sasol’s coal boilers are all located in South Africa’s air pollution priority areas – the Highveld Priority Area, the Vaal Triangle Airshed Priority Area, and the Waterberg-Bojanala Priority Area – declared as such due to the already-deadly levels of air pollution in these areas.

The LAC and its community-based partners argue that it would be plainly unlawful for government to weaken the MES, which were set more than 9 years ago to reduce the detrimental impacts caused by air pollutants such as SO2.

Doubling the already-lax SO2 MES, would make these approximately 10 times weaker than the equivalent standard in India and 28 times weaker than the equivalent standard in China. If the Department does weaken the limit, these organisations contend that this would be a clear violation of South Africa’s air quality laws and of the Constitution, making it unlawful and invalid.

The objections detail the profound health impacts caused by SO2, especially for vulnerable individuals, including children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those suffering from asthma, heart, and lung disease. Studies have linked SO2 to low birth weight in infants and an increased risk for gestational diabetes mellitus, stillbirths, and pre-term births.

In fact, Myllyvirta’s study, which focuses only on the health impacts as a consequence of doubling the limit for SO2 emissions from power plants in South Africa, estimates that 950 of the 3,300 premature deaths over the years to come, will be due to increased risk of lower respiratory infections, including in young children.

Not only does exposure to SO2 pollution cause serious health impacts, but SO2 emissions also contribute to the secondary formation of a pollutant called fine particulate matter (PM2.5), with expert research showing that it is causally linked to a number of severe conditions, including lung cancer. As attorney and head of the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) Pollution & Climate Change Programme, Robyn Hugo, points out, “by reducing exposure to these pollutants, the MES exist to protect guaranteed Constitutional rights – weakening the SO2 limit undermines this legitimate purpose and cannot be justified”.

Robby Mokgalaka, LAC partner groundWork‘s Coal Campaign Manager, stresses that “the largest source of the air pollution in the Highveld Priority Area comes from Eskom’s existing fleet of 12 coal-fired power stations and Sasol’s Synfuels (coal-to-liquid) plant – the high levels of air pollution in the Highveld Priority Area will only continue if government weakens the SO2 limit, entrenching the injustice experienced by affected communities in this area, especially very young children.”

Thomas Mnguni, groundWork’s Community Campaigner in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, highlights that ”the Department has itself acknowledged that, since the publication of the MES in 2010, sufficient time has been afforded to industry, including Eskom and Sasol, to achieve compliance with the various limits taking effect in April 2020. Our objections also demonstrate that the technology to ensure compliance is readily available. What this means is that these facilities must prepare to comply with the current SO2 MES that apply from April 2020, or be decommissioned in a lawful, just and inclusive manner.””

SO2 Pollution Standards

Austrailian Gov – Dept of the Enivronment and Energy

“What is sulfur dioxide?
Sulfur dioxide is a gas. It is invisible and has a nasty, sharp smell. It reacts easily with other substances to form harmful compounds, such as sulfuric acid, sulfurous acid and sulfate particles.

About 99% of the sulfur dioxide in air comes from human sources. The main source of sulfur dioxide in the air is industrial activity that processes materials that contain sulfur, eg the generation of electricity from coal, oil or gas that contains sulfur. Some mineral ores also contain sulfur, and sulfur dioxide is released when they are processed. In addition, industrial activities that burn fossil fuels containing sulfur can be important sources of sulfur dioxide.

Sulfur dioxide is also present in motor vehicle emissions, as the result of fuel combustion. In the past, motor vehicle exhaust was an important, but not the main, source of sulfur dioxide in air. However, this is no longer the case.

How does sulfur dioxide affect human health?
Sulfur dioxide affects human health when it is breathed in. It irritates the nose, throat, and airways to cause coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, or a tight feeling around the chest. The effects of sulfur dioxide are felt very quickly and most people would feel the worst symptoms in 10 or 15 minutes after breathing it in.

Those most at risk of developing problems if they are exposed to sulfur dioxide are people with asthma or similar conditions.”


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