Massive housing project on historical mining area near Joburg CBD

03 April 2018

A historical mining area now known as Fleurhof, on the northern edge of the Witwatersrand basin, in the Central Randgoldfield, south-west of the Johannesburg CBD, is being transformed into a vast new housing development with the help of alternative miningsolutions and rehabilitation company Ncamiso Mining.

Fleurhof is located on the Rand Leases mining area, which, together with the Durban Roode-poort Deep (DRD) mining centre, forms part of the Soweto cluster projects, where mining has been undertaken since the discovery of the goldfields in 1886.

Considered one of the largest integrated housing developments in Gauteng, Fleurhof is being developed in partnership with the City of Johannesburg (CoJ), integrated residential developers and Ncamiso Mining. The project forms part of Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s Mega Projects, announced in April 2015.

The overall project is set to meaningfully improve the immediate environment and lives of community members, providing housing for about 83 000 people.However, because the land encompassed much of an old mine dump, it was determined that there was potential to extract fine goldbearing material left in the soil from historical miningoperations in the area.

Ncamiso Mining MD Fikile Mashinini says the Fleurhof land holds much potential to recover goldbearing material during the rehabilitation process. “We felt it would be a great loss to [allow] the mineral wealth in the ground [to] be sterilised by development.”

The immediate Fleurhof area boasts 440 ha of land comprising various types of residential units and forms of tenure, comprising freestanding, open-market bonded housing; ‘gap’ housing, a finance-linked individual subsidy programme and open- market rental; community residential units and/or social housing; and fully subsidised Breaking New Ground housing. The develop-ment will comprise 10 411 units.

The project comprises three phases, with the overall scope of work entailing the removal of over one million tons of earth, which is being hauled, screened and processed.According to the Fleurhof mine dump rehabilitation plan, gold yields of between 0.6 g/t and 1.1 g/t are envisaged, which will be upgraded by Ncamiso Mining through 20-mm screening to between 1.8 g/t and 2.5 g/t.

“The ground that returns anything above the 1 g/t projected yield is then hauled to a nearby gold plant to be processed and toll-treated,” Mashinini says. The ground that does not show promising gold yield prospects is removed and cleared from the area.

Phase 1 of the project, which was completed recently, involved the removal of all radioactive and contaminated waste from the area, where an electrical substation is soon to be built.

This section of rehabilitation will enable the developer to yield an additional 5 000 residential units to be developed in the near future.

Phase 1 also includes full land rehabilitation to ensure the ground is stable for development and contamination free, says Mashinini, adding that housing development has started. Ncamiso Mining aims to complete the full rehabilitation in the next six months.

Phase 2 entails cleaning and clearing the marsh mainstream to enable easy flow of water in the streams, while Phase 3 involves screening out the fines from the cladding around the tailings dumps to ensure that there is no material left behind to encourage illegal mining.

Ncamiso Mining was involved in the successful rehabilitation of the DRD cluster, between Roodepoort and Dobsonville, in 2015 and 2016. This site is currently under residential development for low-cost housing.

The DRD rehabilitation project yielded more than 300 kg of gold, valued at more than R150-million, which could have been lost during development.

Mashinini explains that the nearby community is always prioritised in the company’s project planning. “As the ground is located close to another residential settlement, we are operating safely from an environmental perspective and there is no blasting.”

Ncamiso Mining is optimistic that it will succeed in safely securing the land and that the volume of material will balance out the grade yield to keep its operations viable.

“While the recovery of gold is an added benefit and important for the economic growth of the country, the impact and significance of the environmental remediation and building up the Fleurhof community make this project a meaningful and satisfying venture for all concerned,” Mashinini concludes. 

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