The Elandsfontein Phosphate Mine is situated midway between the Langebaan Lagoon and the town of Hopefield. It is located on the Cape West Coast, within the Saldanha Bay Municipality. The mine is positioned within the Elandsfontein Aquifer Unit – which comprises an upper and lower aquifer separated by an aquitard. The economic phosphate layer is situated within the saturated zone of the Upper Aquifer Unit. There are fresh water inflows into the Langebaan Lagoon and all measures must be taken to ensure the natural geohydrological flows are not impacted. Numerous groundwater studies and numerical modelling was carried out to optimize the best way of minimizing the impact on the geohydrology of the area. The dewatering system that has been designed includes re-injection of the groundwater approximately 2 km down-gradient of the open pit. This paper reviews the geological and geohydrological setting of the area and the outcomes of the dewatering and injection systems in place.
West Coast, Western Cape