Elandsfontein Phosphate


Kropz SA (formally Elandsfontein Exploration and Mining)


South Africa


Feasibility Study, Front End Engineering Design, Process Plant Construction and Water Quality Management System

Feasibility Study, Front End Engineering Design and Process Plant Construction

The Elandsfontein project is located ±100 km north of Cape Town, near the town of Hopefield in South Africa’s Western Cape Province. A complete feasibility study and detailed mine design and production schedule was developed by DRA Global to yield 5 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of ore and approximately 10Mtpa of overburden, consisting largely of silica sand. The processing plant beneficiates the ore and plans to recover up to 1.5Mtpa of phosphates to be used in fertiliser production. The estimated life of mine is 15 years.

Water services

DRA Water partnered with Kropz Elandsfontein to develop a Water Quality Management System for the Elandsfontein Phosphate mine. This system incorporated three independent water balances and treatment technologies to create an integrated solution, including a closed-circuit water balance for proprietary phosphate recovery reagents.

The WQMS incorporates advanced UF/RO technology, upflow sand filtration, clarification, reagent dosing and precipitation for a high efficiency water solution. The WQMS both decreases net raw water input requirements for the site and ensures compliant environmental stewardship of the resource.

Project highlights/challenges

Preparation of the mine box cut started in August 2016 and production commenced in June 2017; based on the planning, the mine will close in 2032. Concurrent rehabilitation will continue for three years after mining has ceased.

In order to access the ore, a portion of an aquifer needed to be dewatered. A critical element of the operation’s environmental responsibility was the need to ensure that fresh groundwater flowing towards the lagoon remained unaffected. A comprehensive groundwater monitoring programme was established for continuous surveillance.