Water concerns — Thabametsi Power Station

Ria Wells
LEPHALALE — A meeting was held on Monday 31 October at the Mogol Club regarding the Integrated Water Use Licence Application Process for Thabametsi Power Company (Pty) Ltd on the farm Onbelyk 257 LQ just north of Grootegeluk Mine near Lephalale.
It was a formal session and presentation where attendees were urged to raise their concerns. Mr Maré, consultant for Menco from M2 Environmental Connections explained the overall reason for the meeting i.e. the Public Participation Phase for the Waste License Application Process and also responded to questions asked.
Questions were raised mainly by Mr. Claris Dreyer, Mr. Wayne Derksen and Mrs. Elana Greylingh.
The main concerns were if Thabametsi and the ash dump are going to have an effect on ground water pollution, availability of water and the ground water quality and if measurements will be implemented in order to mitigate the impacts. Another concern was if there will be sufficient designs made in order to prevent and mitigate ground water pollution in terms of the storm water and ground water that flows on the property once development is open. Mr Maré explained that a fault zone on the Thabametsi site splits the geology of the site which means that the ash dump will be situated over an impervious geological feature that is impermeable to ground seepage and will avoid infiltration of waste water to the ground water. He also stated that there will be a zero liquid effluent discharge plan where no water will be discharged into the natural course and a Storm Water Management Plan that makes use of retention ponds has been drafted.
The availability and supply of water for these developments is largely controlled by Exxaro. In the case of dropping water levels, restrictions will be placed on industries at various ratios that will keep them economically viable.
According to Mr Y Haffejee from Marubeni (developer), financial closure for the project must be reached by April 2017 and only after that will they be able to break ground. The construction time will be between 42-52 months. The expected completion date of the project is thus 2021.

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