Acid Mine Drainage Treatment in South Africa

Acid mine drainage in South Africa has become a major concern for the country's water infrastructure over recent years. Thanks to the international Veolia Group, Veolia Water Technologies South Africa is able to supply a cost-competitive acid mine drainage treatment system that can reduce the impact of mining on the environment.

AMDRO™ Acid Mine Drainage Treatment

This acid mine drainage treatment system offers lower costs per treated litre of acid water - a more viable treatment option. The chemicals, processes and systems are used by companies’ plants in South Africa and across Africa.

Multiple treatments make up the complete AMDRO™ acid mine drainage treatment system by Veolia. These multiple treatment systems, in order, are:

  • Pre-treatment

This process removes particulates while retaining any scale-forming contaminants such as calcium salts and metals, preventing membranes from scaling upon concentration.

Other technologies, such as the Actiflo®, can also be incorporated into this acid mine drainage treatment process, using microsand to form flocculants which are later clarified from the acid water.

  • Reverse osmosis (RO)

Reverse osmosis, as part of the acid mine drainage treatment process, is operated in a double-pass mode with the first pass in acidic conditions, which helps control scaling by metals and calcium salts. The second pass takes place under pH neutral conditions for further removal of dissolved inorganic compounds typically found in acid mine drainage.

  • Water polishing

As the final step in the acid mine drainage treatment process in applications that require high purity water, a mixed bed ion exchange demineralisation system ensures low total dissolved solids (TSS).


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Research & Development for Acid Mine Drainage


Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies South Africa and Mintek have joined forces to develop a new, leading acid mine drainage treatment system based on SAVMIN™, Actiflo® and Multiflo® technologies for large-scale implementation.

Using lamella settling and ballasted floc formation, the Veolia clarifiers remove precipitated solids from acid mine drainage with relatively low footprints. These proven systems require minimal maintenance, and are a cost-competitive solution compared to traditional clarifiers.

A precipitation-based process, SAVMIN™ removes heavy metals and calcium sulphate to produce either potable or industrial water from acid mine drainage. This process' waste streams are relatively clean gypsum and metal hydroxides, which could be recovered as saleable by-products. Because SAVMIN™ does not rely on membrane separation technologies, the overall cost per litre has the potential to be significantly lower than other acid mine drainage treatment systems available in South Africa.

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