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What an opportunity for our water stressed country! “The oaks of peace and tranquillity of the African continent” is an appropriate description of Botswana. It is the size of France but its low population density has ensured that its beautiful wilderness remains unspoiled. It has a long history of political stability, low crime rate and is one of Africa’s most successful economies. Botswana is the home of the world’s richest diamond mine. Diamond mining has been the life line of the Botswana economy.
Kasane, a small beautiful village in the northern part of Botswana hosted the Eleventh International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings. The delegates, from all over the world, will always have fond memories of this seminar. Delegate country of origin breakdown: Botswana - 59; South Africa - 65; Australia - 26; Canada - 10; China - 2; South America - 14; Europe - 9; India -1; USA - 9; and UK - 11.
The workshop associated with this event was very successful. The focus of the workshop was on issues such as global warming, legislation, future focus and water source development in arid regions. The importance of these issues as technology drivers was deemed to be very important because this will influence the mindset of the researchers, technology developers and implementation at operations.
The Botswana Innovation Hub sponsored the welcoming cocktail function and presented the country’s wish to focus on specific research areas. A variety of minerals beckons to be developed for the benefit of the people. The diversification of the economy into a broader base is one of the goals of the government; therefore the responsible development of other minerals resources is encouraged.
The importance of the event to Botswana was highlighted by the interest from government. The seminar was officially opened and closed by the ministers of minerals, energy and water resources, and wild life and tourism respectively. The seminar emphasised the local drive to reduce the environmental impact of mining. It is not only about reducing the water requirement, but also to acknowledge that mining residue storage and mining’s contribution to global warming are also impacting on the environment. The effect of global warming was presented by the Botswana meteorological department and this topic surfaced several times during discussions.
Papers on water source development and making an unsustainable industry more sustainable indicated the sincerity of the event to take a long-term approach to the challenges ahead.
The slogan of Paste 2008 was “The next decade”. We have the vision of a future technology that is even more water efficient and more environmentally friendly than paste. Papers on electrokinetic dewatering and more efficient flocculants were presented and resulted in good discussions.
Botswana gave Paste 2008 delegates a warm welcome and exposed the delegates to the diversity of the country through the social events. The traditional evening or “kgotla” will be long remembered.
Bernard Busani, group manager processing engineering, Debswana Mines, Botswana
To order your copy of the Eleventh International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings proceedings, or for other paste and thickened tailings publications please contact the Australian Centre for Geomechanics via firstname.lastname@example.org
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