North Mara Water Treatment Plant To Be Constructed In Tanzania
Recycled water treated through reverse osmosis will help improve the ecology of the Lake Victoria basin and the Serengeti National Park.
North Mara Gold Mine, a subsidiary of Barrick Gold, plans to construct the North Mara Water Treatment Plant to treat recycled water through reverse osmosis.
This will help improve the ecology of the Lake Victoria basin and the great Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The North Mara Gold Mine is 100 kilometres east of Lake Victoria in the northwest highlands and the isolated Granitic Mountain region of Tanzania.
North Mara Gold Mine has previously spent US$65 million on a water treatment project that increased the treatment plant capacity from 2.5 million to 40 million litres a day. A brine treatment plant to further reduce the volume of salts in the effluent water was subsequently undertaken.
A series of brine water treatment tanks were constructed using precast concrete panels, joined, and grouted on-site. This water treatment plant has helped the mine produce a positive, clean water balance. The clean water is pumped to the Ingwe Dam and then flows to a processing and de-chlorination plant, where the water is made safe for human consumption. The remaining water is discharged to the Mara and Tigithe rivers.
Mark Bristow, Barrick Chief Executive Officer and President, said, “We believe that fundamental sustainability concepts such as building climate resilience, responsibly managing water use, protecting biodiversity, and poverty eradication are inextricably linked and are best managed holistically.”
Barrick acquired a neglected Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) in 2019, which was shut off by the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) of Tanzania because of concerns about excess water on the dam. This TSF has since been restored within its design capacity, eliminating excess water. Barrick accomplished this by undertaking a hydro census to determine the negative impact on community water sources and checking for a remedial course of action.
“While undertaking the hydro census, we deployed evaporators at the extensive TSF pool. This allowed us time to develop and implement longer-term solutions. We invested approximately US$65 million to upgrade the water treatment facilities at North Mara. This has improved the water treatment plant’s daily throughput by 16 holds,” states Barrick’s 2020 sustainability report.
The TSF was fully functional in 2021, and the water volume reduced from 7.0 cubic millimetres (mm3) in 2019 to below 0.6 mm3.
The production of clean, safe drinking water will help ease the water shortage problems in the surrounding villages. The water produced at the treatment plant will supply, and provide enough, for the Matongo water project worth US$435,000, funded by the North Mara Gold Mine.
A 300,000-litre tank being constructed at Mjini Kati village will also benefit at least 70,000 people from four villages of Matongo, Mjini Kati, Nyangoto, and Nyabichune in Matongo ward, Tarime district.
Top Photo: Brine Treatment Plant at the North Mara Gold Mine (draglobal.com)