South Africa Partners Up For US$1.5 Billion Water Project

South Africa is working with mining companies on a major water supply scheme.

By Chriselle Moraes on
17th July 2023

The South African government is working with mining companies to develop a US$1.5 billion bulk raw water and potable water supply project.

The Olifants Management Model (OMM) programme, as it is known, will supply platinum and chrome mining operations and also provide drinking water to half a million residents in nearby communities. 

The project is being executed as a joint venture between the Department of Water and Sanitation and a commercial users consortium, represented by the Lebalelo Water User Association (LWUA).

The mining companies involved in the commercial users consortium include Glencore and Anglo-American Platinum. According to Bloomberg, the firms hope to secure half the project cost in financing by the end of the year with the remainder to be sourced by municipalities and the government.

Bertus Bierman, CEO of LWUA, which provides raw water for the commercial mining sector and potable water to utilities in Limpopo Province, confirmed to Bloomberg that the companies are in talks with about 10 local and international banks to fund the project. 

The OMM programme involves the construction of about 400km of pipelines across the province able to supply 250 million litres of water a day. Water will also be sent to the city of Polokwane and Mookgophong, a town north of Johannesburg. The project is expected to be completed by 2030, with the first phase of construction planned to begin in 2024. 

The OMM Programme Overview
The OMM Programme Overview
Source: LWUA

Work will include the construction of pipelines, pumping stations, treatment plants and photovoltaic solar capacity with battery energy storage to power the pumping stations. The process of shortlisting contractors for the pipelines and treatment works has already begun.

The solar capacity will be contracted under 20-year power purchase agreements. A request for information for renewable energy solutions for new and existing pumping stations was issued in late June. The deadline for submissions is 24 July.

Other entities involved in the programme include Impala Platinum Holdings, Ivanplats, Northam Platinum, Modikwa, the Sekhukhune District Municipality and the Mogalakwena Local Municipality.

Photo: Pumping station (© Dmitry Kalinovsky | Dreamstime)

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