We, the organisers and the champion of the 11th ICARD, IMWA, INAP and WISA welcome you with a warm Sawubona to Pretoria, South Africa. This is the first ICARD held in South Africa, IMWA returns for a third time and, for the Mine Water Division it is the homeland of WISA’s Mine Water Division. We are proud to combine our efforts: instead of having three different conferences in one year, we can offer delegates one mine water conference of the highest calibre, with nearly 350 experts from all around the word.
As you will see from browsing through the programme, the majority of the 178 papers will deal with mitigation, remediation, and responsible mine water management. This falls beautifully within the chosen theme of our conference, which is “Risk to Opportunity”. What does that mean? It means that we need to see the risks that are involved in managing or mitigating mine water, and specifically that acid rock/mine drainage must be considered an opportunity. It is an opportunity to learn from each other and to plan for the future. This, exactly, is what this year’s conference aims to be: a platform for exchanging ideas and experience from mining operations to remediation of abandoned mine sites in various climatic and cultural conditions.
When in South Africa, one must not forget to speak about transformation. The papers presented by our colleagues clearly show that transformation is an integral part of the work that our community is doing. A lot of students and young professionals are coming from previously disadvantaged communities to present their work, resulting in an increase the number of well-educated local students. Gender equality is another goal, and the fact that nearly one third of the registered delegates are female clearly shows progress to encourage young female students to join the mining environmental community.
Mining is seen as environmentally and ecologically unfriendly. This is primarily caused by examples of unethical mining and the past negative track record of the mining industry. Yet the situation has changed globally with most mining companies now seeing themselves as responsible for the sustainable use of earth resources. Though mining per sé cannot be sustainable, the entire production process from exploration to exploitation to closure can be. This combined conference shall therefore be the first “Green” Conference in ICARD’s history. This means that carbon offsetting will be achieved by planting an adequate number of trees to compensate for the conference’s carbon footprint. In addition, similar to the IMWA 2010 in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada, the conference shall avoid plastic containers wherever possible, and the amount of garbage produced shall be kept to the unavoidable minimum. Each item produced and used during the conference shall be from a “Green” perspective. Please help us to keep this conference as green as possible by avoiding waste wherever possible and use the glass bottles provided to get your water from the dispensers.
We hope that you will have a successful conference and we are looking forward to seeing you over the next several days.
Richard Garner, Jo Burgess, Gilles Tremblay, Christian Wolkersdorfer