Mining

In Botswana and South Africa, groundwater is particularly important for mining. In Botswana, mining accounted for more than 60% of all abstractions at the turn of the century. In South Africa, the mining operations for platinum, diamond, tin, chrome, fluorspar, graphite, granite, silicon, vanadium, copper, manganese and coal in the Limpopo province depend largely on groundwater. In 2002, more than 70% of the water used for mining in the province was groundwater. In South Africa, the mining demand is overshadowed by both irrigation and domestic water demand but is expected to grow as the mining sector promises to remain a strong economic driver in the Limpopo province. The problem with groundwater use for mining may not be related as much to the volumes extracted as to the contamination of both surface and groundwater resources associated with it.

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