After writing a blog post on mines dumping toxic chemical into water two days ago, it is refreshing to come across this article in Mining Weekly that illustrates that not all mines have it in for the environment. The methane harvesting project at Beatrix mine in the Free State might have been initiated to save the mine much money and improve miner safety but it does reduce the mines demand of electricity by dirty coal power plants.
Methane is a more harmful climate change gas than carbon dioxide (CO2). By flaring the methane it burned to produce CO2 and water.
No matter what the incentives are for the mine to move ahead with this project (financial or environmental) it is great to read that companies are becoming less wasteful with the resources available to them.
JOHANNESBURG – JSE-listed gold major Gold Fields on Wednesday turned its methane curse at Beatrix gold mine into a R200-million carbon-trading and electricity-generation blessing.
The same methane that has killed miners will now initially be flared and later harnessed to produce 5 MW of electricity that represents 5% of the Beatrix mine’s electricity needs.
That is merely the start of what Gold Fields intends doing with what is a seemingly infinite supply of methane, which emanates from underground geological faults, fissures and dykes, and escapes during the normal course of mining operations.
Just for the initial outlay of R42-million on the flaring of the gas, Gold Fields earns itself R200-million in carbon credits over seven years.