The dry climate in Johannesburg makes dust suppression a more challenging task in densely-populated areas of the city, such as the Soccer City Precinct – where the surrounding tailing dams need to be managed on a consistent basis.
Leading environmental solutions company I-CAT Environmental Solutions – in partnership with unhedged gold producer and world-leading surface gold tailings retreatment expert DRD Gold – have minimised the impact of dust on communities located in the vicinity of tailing dams surrounding FNB Stadium since 2010, by making use of the TDS 2005 tailing dam seal solution.
I-CAT non-executive director professor Jan du Plessis explains that the challenge is to prevent wind from eroding the ultra-fine dust under 0,1 micron off the tailing dams and open soil areas. “This causes a dust cloud to be swept into the atmosphere, which settles on populated and agricultural areas. The nature and size of the dust is undesirable and creates an environmental hazard.”
TDS 2005 is a matrix blend of a patented anionic surfactant and other environmentally-friendly binding products. The unique properties of this liquid gel allow it to penetrate the surface of the dump and open soil areas, creating a durable bond that binds loose aggregate by forming a crust.
According to de Plessis, this crust allows water to penetrate the surface, without running the risk of being washed away under heavy precipitation. “The crust remains porous, allowing rainwater to penetrate, without being washed away,” he continues.
TDS 2005 is designed to last six months to a year, depending on weather conditions. In this particular area, the TDS 2005 seal was applied more than a year ago, and is still offering 95 percent coverage of the area. Another major benefit of TDS 2005 is that only 10 to 20 percent of the original product is required to maintain standard coverage during reapplication, thereby resulting in cost savings.
Being an environmentally-friendly product, du Plessis reveals that TDS 2005 is not applied to the detriment of the growth of vegetation as a more permanent rehabilitation solution. “If used in conjunction with strategically placed I-CAT wind brake netting, which allows for vegetation growth, the lifespan and effectiveness of the TDS 2005 seal can be significantly extended,” he concludes.