Ever since mining began in South Africa in the 1860s and the subsequent discovery of the Cullinan diamond in 1905, the country has been noted as one of the richest mineral resources (in such a confined area) in the world.
Geotextiles and Infrastructure
From gold to iron ore to platinum and coal, South Africa boasts an array of very productive mines. Much has developed in mining methods over time but one thing remains – solving the problems pertaining to the varying and challenging ground conditions for the development of the mine. This is where geotextiles play an important role in mining infrastructure.
Almost every type of geotextile application is employed in the life cycle of a mine. Geotextiles play a pivotal role in the reduction of groundwater levels and phreatic surfaces. All mines produce some form of downstream waste requiring disposal or storage facilities which require geotextiles for drainage and stabilisation or even separation from the environment in lining systems. Pollution control and leachate dams also demand secure lining systems. Raw water storage reservoirs need geotextile filters in their drains and beneath the rip-rap. Haul roads, rail links, and loading platforms call for stable pavement structures utilising geogrids. Reinforcing soil walls and stabilising steep slopes and channels is required to optimise performance and minimise maintenance of mine structures. Once a storage facility has reached capacity, many aspects of environmental concern are addressed for closure; among them, erosion control and site rehabilitation to mitigate environmental impact concerns and improve the visual effect.
Here is our concise guide to using geosynthetics in mining applications.
For case study evidence