Debswana has been mandated by the Australian Centre for Geomechanics (ACG) to host the Paste 08 International seminar on paste and thickened things in Kasane this year in May. Under the ACG, seminars on the topic of paste and thickened tailing have been held in Canada, Australia, South Africa, Chile and Ireland. During these seminars aspects of water recovery and storage of mine residue are discussed.
According to Debswana group Metallurgist Bernard Busani, Debswana has taken part in most of these seminars and has found it appropriate to host the 11th event in Kasane. Through hosting this event, Botswana will demonstrate to the international community that this country is developing its natural recourses in a responsible manner and is serious about reducing the impact of mining on the environment.
Delegates from Australia, Canada, China, Chile, Europe, Iran, USA, UK and neighbouring countries; representing all major mining houses and regions will make this a truly international event.
Botswana is the home of the world’s richest diamond mines and a variety of other minerals that beckons the country to tap its wealth for the benefit of its people. Diamond mining has been the life line of the Botswana economy. The diversification of the economy into a broader base is one of the goals of the Botswana government; therefore the responsible development of other minerals resources is encouraged.
Busani further said that historically, mining in general is perceived as being destructive and an extremely negative influence on the environment. This perception comes after years of mining operations in Europe and the developed world. Instances of irresponsible mining operations in the developing world and the negative publicity associated with these occurrences have strengthened this perception.
However, said Busani, the local drive to reduce environmental impact of mining is not only about reducing the water requirement, but also to acknowledge that mining residue storage and mining’s contribution to global warming are also impacting on the environment. This drive is meant to reverse this perception; that mining companies favour short term financial gains at the expense of the long term loss and destruction of the environment.
Busani who is at the forefront of this international event further said that the workshops associated with this event will, for the first time, be focused not on the technical aspects of the technology, but on the soft issues such as global warming; legislation; focus on the future and water source development in arid regions which are very relevant to the situation that obtains locally.
“The importance of this emphasis change should not be under estimated, because this will influence the mindset of the researchers, technology developers and implementation at operations. Workshops like these are a must if we wish to make mining sustainable and Botswana has taken the lead on this road” he said.
He also revealed that Debswana will show the latest developments and learning of paste thickening application in a kimberlitic ore environment during the event. “Kimberlite is one of the most difficult ores to dewater. Therefore the advances made in the dewatering of kimberlitic material will be of interest and benefit to the mining community in general. It is therefore appropriate that Debswana share its advances in the dewatering and handling of mining residue with the rest of the world by authoring and influencing, directly and indirectly, 6 of the 36 papers to be presented” he said.
Other Botswana companies will present an additional 2 papers and one of the keynote addresses will be given by the department of meteorology. During this event Botswana and Debswana will demonstrate that it is operating at the cutting edge of technology development and is a leader in the field.
The slogan of Paste08 is “The next decade”. Busani said that Debswana believes that that all stakeholders can achieve more if they work together and therefore the interaction with other researchers, vendors and operations will help to hone and focus future approaches.” In Debswana, we have the vision of a future technology that is even more water efficient and more environmentally friendly than paste” he added.
Paste08 will emphasize the important role of diamond mining in the history and development of Botswana to an international audience. Through this event a positive association with diamond mining will be established. The contribution of Debswana to the mining knowledge pool will be highlighted and a clear distinction between the responsible mining operations in Botswana and the operations aimed at funding conflict will be experienced first hand by the delegates and their partners.
Delegates will arrive in Kasane on 4 May 2008 and the workshop will commence on 5 May. A seminar on paste and thickened tailings will follow on May 6 to 8 while Debswana will host the delegates on a site visit of the Orapa diamond mine on May 9th. The seminar will end on the 10th of May. For more information visit www.paste08.com