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Offshore Mining for Jeffreys Bay

The Department of Mineral Resources has accepted a Coastal Phosphate (Pty) Ltd application for prospecting rights offshore.

The proposed prospecting area is located, offshore, from Jeffrey’s Bay and Cape St Francis at a water depth between 90 and 220meters.

The prospecting application covers an area of 1043.9 square km. Click here to see the original document and learn more about the details – the form to register your comments is also available there.

The date for registering as Interested and Affected parties has been extended till the 26th August 2012 should you wish to register and make your comment. Please send your responses to the email address provided on the form.

The license application comes from a consortium of BEE companies of which Izingwe Holdings is the largest shareholder and also the financier. The plan, after the Public Participation and EIA stages is to start with a planning a geophysical and sampling study, which should be non-invasive, then follow it up with the actual study. These two stages will take up the first year.
After that the actual invasive bit starts…sampling, which is planned to take 16 months.
Now the actual operational planning can start for infrastructure, process, plant and financing – this is estimated to take another 8 months…so the total time for gearing up to full-scale mining is 3 years.

The original deadline for affected parties was the 24th July, but it has been extended to the above date. Funny, first I’ve heard of it and the first deadline has come and gone!

E-mail Philip le Roux at mwgeoafr@mweb.co.za for more details.

Another strange thing – I have mapped out the co-ordinates on Google Earth (above), in both the old system of minutes and seconds and the new metric system, however, I can’t seem to get the same pattern of beacons as they do on their map….the typeface is feint but I should have got a better spread, similar to the spread on their map.
By the way…this is what Wikipedia has to say about phosphate and glauconite, the two minerals being mined:

Phosphate – In ecological terms, because of its important role in biological systems, phosphate is a highly sought after resource. Once used, it is often a limiting nutrient in environments, and its availability may govern the rate of growth of organisms. This is generally true of freshwater environments, whereas nitrogen is more often the limiting nutrient in marine (seawater) environments. Addition of high levels of phosphate to environments and to micro-environments in which it is typically rare can have significant ecological consequences. For example, blooms in the populations of some organisms at the expense of others, and the collapse of populations deprived of resources such as oxygen (see eutrophication) can occur. In the context of pollution, phosphates are one component of total dissolved solids, a major indicator of water quality, but not all phosphorus is in a molecular form which algae can break down and consume.
Calcium hydroxyapatite and calcite precipitates can be found around bacteria in alluvial topsoil. As clay minerals promote biomineralization, the presence of bacteria and clay minerals resulted in calcium hydroxyapatite and calcite precipitates.
Phosphate deposits can contain significant amounts of naturally occurring heavy metals. Mining operations processing phosphate rock can leave tailings piles containing elevated levels of cadmium, lead, nickel, copper, chromium, and uranium. Unless carefully managed, these waste products can leach heavy metals into groundwater or nearby estuaries. Uptake of these substances by plants and marine life can lead to concentration of toxic heavy metals in food products.

Glauconite – Glauconite has long been used in Europe as a pigmentation agent for artistic oil paint, especially in Russian “icon paintings”. It is also found as mineral pigment in wall paintings from the ancient Roman Gaul. Glauconite, a major component of greensand, is also a common source of potassium in plant fertilizers.

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