Harmony Gold Mining Company and Selectra Bioenergy Project in South Africa Includes VIASPACE Giant King Grass

“The world over is full of open mines, retired mines, former mines, illegal mines and tailings. They are an eyesore. Society needed the metal, the diamonds, and the coal, but then what?… It’s just dead land. But it doesn’t have to be. Not now.

“What began as an idea and then an enormously successful trial to grow sugarbeet-the temperate kind, not the tropical variety-has now been extended to include Giant King Grass too. The crops are grown on the super-fine mine tailings that nothing grows on, let alone food crops, bringing value back to the land and allowing Mother Nature to do her work cleaning up the land and returning it to an agricultural state just by growing beet and Giant King Grass… Full of toxins, residues, and heavy metals doesn’t sound like the most hospitable environment…

“Benefits from the project are a mile long as well: displacing fossil fuel energy with bioenergy reduces production costs because bioenergy is cheaper than the current costs of fossil-based energy; it reduces the mine’s carbon footprint and therefore reduces potential carbon taxes; it reduces redundant infrastructure and impacted land thereby assisting with mine closure; and even creates jobs…

“Renewable energy applications in mining aren’t particularly new, but combining with bioenergy and land rehabilitation certainly is. Most solutions have so far focused on solar applications or off-grid gensets, but this is the first project to take undervalued assets and make them work for the mine while getting them back into agricultural production. This is the first such project but it certainly won’t be the last.”

Dwight Rosslee from Selectra commented on how rewarding it is to develop a project that carries only proven positive impacts: “The Harmony Bioenergy project is surely the gold standard in the production of renewable energy – no negative impacts on the environment, only positive benefits, no question of food versus fuel as the land cannot sustain food crops due to the presence of heavy metals. The land is remediated by cultivation and harvesting of bioenergy crops and local employment in farming activities is expanded on previously unused lands. Simultaneously, carbon emissions are reduced through substituting fossil fuels. All this, and more, while saving on production costs.”