Beatrix Methane project
Beatrix Gold Mine, situated in a methane rich area in the Free State Province of South Africa, is owned by Gold Fields. Highly explosive methane gas emanates from underground geological features such as faults, fissures and dykes and escapes during the normal course of mining operations. If released into the atmosphere, it is a potent greenhouse gas. In addition to the fact that methane is a potent greenhouse gas, it is also a major underground safety hazard.
At the Beatrix Project, methane gas is captured at source in the underground workings of the Beatrix Mine, and is conveyed via a system of pipes to the flares where it will be flared during the first phase of the project. As a second phase of the project, Gold Fields is looking at ways of using the gas to generate electricity, thereby converting a harmful greenhouse gas into a valuable resource.
The mine has contracted an independent expert to design a project on its behalf to mitigate the global warming effects of the methane gas released by the mine. This project has been registered under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol and the Project Design Document, a requirement for the project, was approved by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in October 2008.