Moagi allays fears over Phikwe earth tremors

 Minister of Minerals and Energy Lefoko Moagi has assured Selibe Phikwe residents that there is nothing to worry about.
Minister of Minerals and Energy Lefoko Moagi has assured Selibe Phikwe residents that there is nothing to worry about.

With residents of Selebi-Phikwe expressing concerns about recent earth tremors or vibrations in their area, Minister of Minerals and Energy Lefoko Moagi has assured them that there is nothing to worry about.

Responding to a question in Parliament, Minister Moagi stated that he is aware of the tremors reported by the people of Phikwe. However, he emphasised that these tremors pose no danger, as in the mining sector, such tremors are always expected. He further assured residents that they should be at ease, as the current tremors in Phikwe are similar to those experienced from 2019 to 2020 in terms of size, location patterns, frequency, and being mining-induced.

“I am aware of the anxiety that the tremors are causing in Selebi-Phikwe. However, the likelihood of any adverse impact is being managed through groundwater pumping and continuous monitoring. This is done by a dedicated team of experts from the Botswana Geoscience Institute (BGI),” Moagi outlined.

Regarding the main causes of the current tremors, Moagi stated that they resulted from the voids left when the mine was operating. “Due to flooding of the voids, we have observed seismic activity/tremors in the Phikwe area emanating specifically from the South East Shaft. Sudden changes in water levels led to increased pore pressure, affecting rock stability. The excessive pressure thus triggers rock bursts that cause tremors,” he said.

However, he noted that back in December of last year, his ministry swiftly dealt with mitigating the effects of the South East Shaft. As part of their proactive measures, Moagi mentioned that the liquidator’s team recommenced flooding on the remaining portion of the South East extension of the mine.

“This plan would allow for further partial flooding of the underground workings but would ensure that the main Phikwe 3 Shaft remained a viable access way to the remaining ore bodies,” he added.

The minister highlighted that his ministry will continue to monitor the tremors in Phikwe.

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