Interview Dr Dirk Jan Koch at the Mining Indaba 2016.

Koch said:

“What we have seen is that there are huge sustainability issues around water in mining. Think for instance about the big dam collapse in Brazil in November, which had tragic consequences for both people and the environment. We think that if more advanced technologies could be used then more cooperation would take place and such tragedies could be prevented.”

“28% of our country is below sea level and we have been fighting back the water for a long time. All the expertise we have in water management has been pulled together – communities, companies, universities and government have come together in our mining and water platform. We have used this platform and we share experience, learn lessons from each other and look for partners with whom we can develop programmes together.”

“In South Africa, one of the big problems that we see are the old abandoned mines – there are around 6,000 of these old mines and all the water that remains in these mines need to be cleaned up.”

“The Netherland’s strength is that we pull together the various strengths in different sectors, collaborate with our partners and come up with creative solutions to these problems.”

“One of the technologies I found particularly interesting was how we have tried to deal with acid mine drainage through bacteria. In a lab in the Netherlands we have developed specific new bacteria that can help deal with the acid water and try to get it pure again so we can drink it.”

“All these funky technologies we have been explained to us at the Indaba and the South African authorities have said that that sounds very interesting, let’s go and develop that together.”

“What I like about the Mining Indaba is that all the people that you need are here. You have independent consultants that ask very critical questions, you have the NGOs that ask how you organised that, where are you doing that, you have the investors that are looking for exciting new opportunities, so basically anybody you need to make a difference in mining is present here.”

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