Environmental management in chrome mining along the Great Dyke : a case study of Zimasco Operations

Chakupa, Tendai (2011-12)

Thesis (MSc(Geography and Environmental Studies))--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In an area where mining activities dominate, there are likely to problems that need effective environmental management approaches, which can be facilitated through legislation and environmental management systems (EMS). The Great Dyke in Zimbabwe is a strategic economic resource with significant quantities of chrome and platinum. Chrome mining occurs across the whole length of the Great Dyke with most of the operations under Zimasco claims. Zimasco mining operations fall into two categories: the organization‟s own claims operated in its own right and claims that are leased out to a second party forming a tribute system from which tributor miners produce chromite ore exclusively for Zimasco. This study examines the environmental management approaches used by Zimasco operations, in particular the National Occupational Safety Association (NOSA) Integrated Five Start System, in order to identify the usefulness of EMS in the mining industry. Firstly, the current environmental impacts associated with the mining activities were identified and problem areas highlighted, after which environmental management approaches linked to national legislation were examined in terms of their contribution towards sound environmental management. A legal compliance checklist was carried out on the existing mines to assess levels of compliance to standards stipulated in the Environmental Management Act Chapter 20:27. This was followed by questionnaire surveys used for impact identification and the data was analysed using the aspect and impact analysis matrix. Underground mines with effluent discharges were assessed by means of an effluent analysis as a way of determining the effectiveness of the approaches on the mines. Recommendations for changes were made following a Strength Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis of the approaches and system. Major environmental problems highlighted included unattended waste rock dump and pits as well as dissolved substances in effluent discharge. Although evidence of compliance to environmental legislation for the mining operations was found at administrative level, this was often not executed in operation. Limited hazards were observed in effluent discharge from mines under full implementation of the EMS. It is recommended that all mining operations need to be covered by an EMS system for improved environmental management and sustainable development. Effective implementation of legislation and EMS on the ground provides a better platform for sound environmental management.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In 'n area waar grootskaalse mynbou aktiwiteite die omgewing kan affekteer word effektiewe omgewingsbestuur benodig. Die Groot Dyk in Zimbabwe is 'n strategiese ekonomiese hulpbron met groot hoeveelhede chroom en platinum. Chroom word grotendeels onder Zimasco kleims langs die Groot Dyk ontgin. Zimasco mynbedrywighede val in twee kategorieë: eerstens eie kleims wat direk deur Zimasco bedryf word, en tweedens kleims wat aan 'n tweede party verhuur en bewerk word en chroom eksklusief aan Zimasco lewer. Die omgewingsbestuursbenadering wat deur die Zimasco mynbedrywighede gebruik word, veral die NOSA Geïntegreerde Vyfster Stelsel, is bestudeer om vas te stel of omgewingsbestuurstelsels (OBS) effektief kan wees in die mynbedryf. Eerstens is die huidige omgewingsimpte veroorsaak deur mynbedrywighede geïdentifiseer en probleemareas uitgelig. Verder is die omgewingsbestuursbenadering in die lig van nasionale wetgewing bestudeer om die bydrae tot gesonde omgewingsbestuur toe te lig. 'n Lys is opgestel waarin die mate waartoe geselekteerde myne aan bestaande wetgewing voldoen bepaal is. Vraelyste is ook gebruik om die omgewingsimpak te identifiseer en data is met behulp van die aspek en impak analise matriks geanaliseer. 'n Afvoeranalise is op ondergrondse myne gedoen ten einde die effektiwiteit van omgewingsbestuursbenadering op die myn te bepaal, terwyl 'n SWOT analise van beide die benadering en die NOSA Vyfster Stelsel uitgevoer is met die oog op aanbevelings. Die belangrikste omgewingsimpakte langs die Groot Dyk sluit in: afvalrotshope, kuipe en slote vanaf oppervlakbedrywighede asook opgeloste afval in afloop vanaf ondergrondse myne. Bewyse van voldoening aan omgewingswetgewing is wel gevind in myndokumentasie, maar nie altyd in die praktyk nie. Laer vlakke van toksiese uitvloeisel vanaf myne waar OBS geïmplementeer is, is bewys van die suksesvolle gebruik van „n geïntegreerde OBS. Alle mynaktiwiteite moet ingesluit word in „n OBS stelsel om beter omgewingsbestuur en volhoubare ontwikkeling te verseker. Effektiewe implementering van wetgewing en OBS op die laagste vlak in mynaktiwiteite bied 'n beter platform vir gesonde omgewingsbestuur in die mynbedryf.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/17922
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