Faulty pumps to blame for Husab waste leak

17 July 2017 | Local News

Investigations into a leak in the Husab Mine's tailings dam located in the Namib Naukluft Park in May, has finally been completed.

Photos of the leak surfaced on social media, which sparked fears that dangerous waste material was leaking into underground water sources. Particular concerns were raised that groundwater in the Kahn and Swakop rivers will be contaminated.

The vice-president of human resources at Swakop Uranium, Percy McCallum, however, said that investigations by the department of environmental affairs, the National Radiation Protection Authority, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and an external environment consultant, found that the spillage took place in a small localised area.

“The pumps at some of the lined seepage collection ponds partially failed and with the continuous inflow of the seepage water, resulted in the lined seepage ponds overflowing onto the unlined surroundings,” said McCallum.

The spillage area is still within the perimeter of the tailings storage facility fence, which is not accessible to the public or animals according to him.

McCallum also confirmed that the incident was reported to the authorities within days and inspections were conducted.

“The inspections confirmed that the spillage incidences were directly caused by the pump failures at some of the seepage ponds. When the external regulators examined the area, there was no longer any overflow of the seepage ponds as corrective action had already been taken to repair the pumps timeously, and additional mechanical pumps were used to pump the water back over the wall into the tailings dam.”

“In addition to the water analysis done by the mine itself, the ministry of agriculture also took independent samples for verification purposes. The company also continues to frequently monitor the tailings storage facility and surrounding boreholes. Rehabilitation measures were taken by the company to neutralise the sand patches where the spills occurred, and subsequent rehabilitation of the areas started and is continuing. The company also reviewed reasons for the pump failures and has ordered new pumps,” said McCallum.

The president of the Namibia Uranium Association (NUA), Hilifa Mbako, said that the NUA concurred with the findings of the regulators.

According to McCallum the tailings dam contains the treated slurry from the processing plant. The bulk of the water from the slurry is returned via the decant system to optimise water recovery.

“Due to commissioning activities at the storage facility initially higher seepage rates can be expected which it was designed for, which is subsequently drained into lined seepage collection ponds from where it is pumped back to the processing plant via the return water ponds or over the wall into the tailings dam for re-using purposes to save water,” he said.



JESSICA BOTES

Similar News

 

Living on the edge

18 hours ago | Local News

The City of Windhoek will relocate shack dwellers who have erected structures in riverbeds following the tragic incident that claimed the life of a woman...

All roads lead to Oranjemund

18 hours ago | Local News

Oranjemund is open for business and has been since October last year, and you can take part in an exciting new chapter for the southern...

Venaani a gandja uusama kuGeingob

18 hours ago | Local News

Pahapu dha McHenry Venaani, Geingob okwa ndopa okugandja oshipopiwa sholela shopashigwana, pethimbo a gandja oshipopiwa shopashigwana oshiwike sha piti, momutumba gwoPaliamende.Okwa popi kutya onkalo yondjele...

Ya hulitha sho ombashu yawo ya kungululwa po komeya

18 hours ago | Local News

Omukiintu okwa hulitha omanga okanona ke kokamati koomvula ndatu kuniwe uutile kutya nako oka hulitha, sha landula sho ombashu yawo ya kungululwa...

Ompumbwe yiimaliwa itayi shololitha Oniipa

18 hours ago | Local News

Omunambelewa Omukuluntu gwondoolopa yaNiipa, Junias Jakob, okwa gandja oompangela dhondoolopa yawo, pethimbo lyomutumba ngoka gwa ningwa naakuthimbinga melelo lyondoolopa ndjoka.Oshigongiilonga shoka osha nuninwa okugandja oompangela...

Omalambo ogeli ondjambi yomuloka omuwaanawa

18 hours ago | Local News

Mwene gwongeshefa yoTiger Wheel & Tyre Windhoek, Ewald van Rensburg, okwa popi kutya ongeshefa yawo oya mono e yo pombanda lyaalandi ya thika poopresenda 25,...

Potholes are the price of lovely rain

1 day - 18 April 2018 | Local News

With many of Windhoek's street increasingly pockmarked by potholes following heavy rains, motorists are paying a high price and the City of Windhoek's teams are...

Disused school buildings fall apart

1 day - 18 April 2018 | Local News

Following its closure six years ago, the Oshikomba Junior Primary School at Onakandi village in the Oshikoto Region is falling apart.Windows have been vandalised and...

SSC still working on pension fund

1 day - 18 April 2018 | Local News

The Social Security Commission of Namibia (SSC) says it remains committed to rolling out a national pension fund this year still. SSC spokesperson Unomengi Kauapirura...

Rhino dress a winner after all

1 day - 18 April 2018 | Local News

Reigning Miss Namibia Suné January has been invited by Cornell University in the United States to discuss poaching issues in the Land of the Brave....

Latest News

Johannes promoted following gold

18 hours ago | Sports

Gold medallist Helalia Johannes has been promoted to the rank of Warrant Officer Class Two with immediate effect, after she won Namibia’s second gold medal...

Etosha debacle sparks national probe

18 hours ago | Environment

The environment ministry has launched a full-scale investigation at the Deeds Office in Windhoek to determine whether there is any privately owned land in Namibia's...

Acute teacher shortage

18 hours ago | Economics

The education ministry has appealed for leniency and recognition that despite the directive to reduce state wage bills the ministry is in dire need of...

Africa briefs

18 hours ago | Economics

SA's auditor general cancels all contracts with KPMGSouth Africa’s Auditor General said on Tuesday he is terminating all contracts with auditing firm KPMG over a...

NovaNam, Lalandii start new hake...

18 hours ago | Business

Staff reporter - Last week, Lüderitz-based hake fishing companies, NovaNam and Lalandii, commenced with the cutting of the steel to build the...

Ondonga heir apparent hits back...

18 hours ago | Cultural

One of the claimants to the Ondonga throne, Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo, has taken issue with urban and rural development minister Peya Mushelenga following his recent...

PM warns employees of shorter...

18 hours ago | Government

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila this week warned staff members of her office that she would not accept complacency and that she would shorten the leash...

40 years after battle of...

18 hours ago | History

The Angolan president, João Lourenço will attend the Cassinga Day commemoration on 4 May as guest of honour and will lay a wreath at Heroes'...

New conservancy land disputed

18 hours ago | Environment

A Kavango West man has accused the Uukwangali Traditional Authority of stealing his land, which he claimed was now allocated to a newly proclaimed conservancy....

Load More