One AECI, for a better world

AECI Water’s PAINT-E-GO™ “green” paint detackifier technology improves sustainability and operating performance at an international automobile manufacturing plant in South Africa

Challenge

AECI Water is a service provider to a leading global automobile manufacturer that operates in South Africa, as well as in more than 15 European countries, the Americas, Asia, Europe, Australia and multiple countries on the African continent.  The key objective of this very important Customer is to manufacture vehicles that are of the highest global standards in safety, performance, utility and comfort, while ensuring that manufacturing practices are carried out in a safe, cost-efficient and environmentally-sustainable manner. Superior value, social responsibility and a commitment to sustainability are the hallmarks of the Customer’s ethos.  To ensure sustainable performance at its vehicle manufacturing plant in SA, the Customer expects its suppliers to demonstrate an equal degree of commitment towards production efficiency and environmental compliance, while delivering continuous improvement in the provision of innovative solutions and technologies that contribute to its sustainability goals.   AECI Water was a perfect fit as the AECI “BIGGER” Values of being Bold, Innovative, Going-Green, Engaged and Responsible are 100% in alignment with the Customer’s core values.

The growing focus on the identification and use of alternative water sources to bridge South Africa’s forecasted 17% gap in drinking water supply by 2030, has driven water treatment specialist AECI WATER, a division of JSE-listed AECI to help take the country’s water-intensive mining industry ‘off the potable water grid’.

This will enhance water sustainability in the mining industry, says AECI WATER executive, Dean Mulqueeny.

Environmental sustainability through dust suppression technology

Challenge
Mining, maintenance or processing activities can result in the release of dust particles into the air. Exposure to dust in mining and quarrying continues to be a major risk to the health of workers. Breathing in dust, such as coal dust, silica dust and other finely powdered materials, can damage the lungs and airways. Dust is defined as particulate matter as “any airborne finely divided solid or liquid material with a diameter smaller than 100 micrometers.” Dust are one of the major components of particulate matter. Dust suppression is extremely important in the mining industry due to the fact that dust affects not only the health and safety of mine workers, but that of surrounding communities as well. Another factor is that mines often use water as a solution to suppress dust which leads to the depletion of another valuable resource.

Better mining – making mining safer and more circular

  • Making mining safer through remote charging. We have embarked on a project to limit exposure of personnel by allowing remote and/or autonomous charging and deployment of initiating systems on benches where there is increased risk. The system will be integrated into our BLASTiTABLET system to record information and provide feedback to mine management. The use of this technology is in testing phase at open cast pilot sites in Burkina Faso and eMalahleni in SA.
  • Making mining safer through stemming trucks. Stemming trucks with single operator functionality will remove people from the danger area and enable better controlled blast outcomes.
  • Making mining safer through blast efficiency and design. Our engineers are seeking greater control over blasting to reduce ground vibration, air blast (and noise) and fly rock. This research, in partnership with the University of Pretoria, has led to measurable improvements in blast design and efficiency.
  • Making mining safer through new explosive technologies. Our new emulsion technology for underground mining ensures that non-sensitised (non-explosive) product can be transported and deployed in the mine. Consequently, the user and those involved in transportation are not handling or in close proximity to an active explosive. This greatly reduces the safety risk.
  • Making mining safer through vertical drops. Our emulsion vertical drop delivery system infrastructure involves a sophisticated system to safely transfer product from surface to underground storage facilities.
  • Making mining more circular by using waste as raw materials. AECI Mining Chemicals has developed a process which allows the introduction of used oil into the bulk emulsion fuel blend instead of diesel. Our advanced, robust surfactant technology permits the use of oil without treatment or recycling. Benefits include reduced diesel fuel consumption and pollution risk and a decrease in costs for the customer.
  • Making mining more circular through inclusive supply chains. To meet the requirements of the South African Department of Mineral Resources’ Mining Charter and expand our social impact, AECI Mining Explosives is in the process of obtaining verification by SABS on local content of more than 60 products.
  • Waste and air emissions. At AECI Mining Explosives, recycling of packaging material has helped cut waste by 40%. At the Modderfontein site we’ve also reclaimed approximately 1,8 million tonnes of ash from waste sites associated with historical operations. This ash has been used in the manufacture of bricks for housing developments. In Australia, a partnership between AECI’s Bajool explosives facility and a local recycler has enabled the recycling of more than 70 tonnes of polypropylene bags – cutting waste by almost 50%.
  • Waste and air emissions. AECI Mining Explosives has focused on compliance with the 2020 Minimum Emission Standards in South Africa, investing R100 million in air emissions abatement initiatives. 80% of this amount was spent in 2019. Despite being granted a postponement of compliance with some Standards until 2025, we are accelerating our related efforts to achieve full compliance during 2021.
  • Reducing our carbon intensity. In 2007-2008, AECI Mining Explosives implemented Clean Development Mechanism projects at both its nitric acid plants in Modderfontein to reduce nitrous oxide emissions through catalytic reduction. The projects have since generated approximately 1,3 million carbon credits which have been sold.
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Installation of a secondary catalyst at AECI Mining Explosives’ nitric acid plants in Modderfontein is expected to reduce CO2e emissions by approximately 45%. Our investment of R10 million will deliver a reduction in the Group’s footprint from the end of 2020 and support the achievement of our 2025 reduction target.
  • Increasing energy efficiency. Installation of variable speed drive technology on the cooling towers at AECI Mining Explosives’ Modderfontein facility reduced energy use by 941 600 kilowatt hours per year (the energy needed to power 30 000 houses for a day). In January 2020, AECI’s Bajool facility achieved a reduction in overall power usage of 15% by transitioning from mains power to the use of generators on demand. This has reduced the facility’s carbon emissions by an estimated 3,5 tonnes of CO2e per month.
  • Reducing use of potable water for non-drinking purposes. An infrastructure upgrade at AECI Mining Explosives’ Nitrates facility has reduced the use of municipal water by 40% (14 000m3 per month) by substituting it with purified sewage effluent. The facility’s water footprint is being reduced further through a new effluent recycling system with a treatment and re-use capacity of approximately 90m3/day of effluent. With a 70% recovery rate, the system not only reduces municipal water usage but also enables savings on effluent disposal costs.
  • Another project to treat Purified Sewage Effluent (PSE) was completed in 2020 at our AECI Mining Explosives facility in Modderfontein. The treated PSE will be used in the cooling towers and demineralisation plant. The project is expected to deliver savings of approximately 600 000kl of water currently drawn from Johannesburg Water.
  • At AECI’s Bajool facility, waste water from bunded chemical storage areas is re-used in the manufacturing process in small increments, drastically reducing the amount of water requiring collection and disposal. At the start of 2020, an additional system was installed to make waste water addition easier and at the same time increase the volume of waste water to be cycled into the re-use scheme. Up to 30 000l of waste water per annum is now available.

AECI released its first-ever dedicated Sustainability Report today, providing demonstrable proof and tangible measures for its bold, new strategy and vision of shaping “a better world”.

The Sustainability Report includes a Sustainability Framework with 10 overarching goals for “a better world” in the areas of Mining, Water, Food Systems and Chemistry as well as Responsible Operations and Passionate People. There are also six Group-specific targets for 2025.

AECI Water Demonstrates excellent results on a 40 Bar Waste Heat Boiler at one of our Key Customers

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boiler system management

MOSSELBAAI NUUS - Die verspreiding van kospakkies vandeesweek was die eerste van die AECI-uitreike na die Suid-Kaap. 

Die groep het reeds skenkings van sowat R10 miljoen in ander dele van die land gedoen om onder meer die gevolge van Covid-19 teen te werk.

“Die AECI-groep is 'n maatskaplik-verantwoordelike groep van maatskappye wat belê in effektiewe gemeenskapsgerigte inisiatiewe deur die ontwikkeling en opheffing van kwesbare gemeenskappe rondom ons bedrywighede,” het Bernette Sekati, uitvoerende direkteur van AECI Water, gesê toe hy kospakkies aan die Mosselbaai-munisipaliteit oorhandig het.

Mosselbaai se munisipale bestuurder, adv Thys Giliomee, het verwys na die munisipaliteit se insentiewesbeleid en die groep se ruim skenking verwelkom. "As u naaste aanlegte in Somerset-Wes in die Oos-Kaap is, oorweeg Mosselbaai gerus vir toekomstige uitbreiding of as die ideale halfpadstop.

Sekati het gesê AECI is 'n onderneming met 'n omgee-ingesteldheid, veral teenoor die jeug, die toekomstige leiers van ons land. Die waarnemende burgemeester, raadsheer Dirk Kotzé het die AECI-afvaardiging verwelkom en bedank vir hul bydrae om nood te verlig.

 

AECI WATER, a #BusinessWithPurpose is proud to have executed a full TURNKEY Water Re-Use project in collaboration with AECI Mining Explosives in Modderfontein South Africa.

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