1800m drilling completed, signaling a promising development for CCUS in South Africa


The Council for Geoscience (CGS) and Mzansi Exploration, Drilling and Mining celebrated a crowning achievement as the 1800m drill for the Carbon Capture and Utilisation Storage (CCUS) was completed, a crucial component for the development of the CCUS pilot project. This monumental achievement marks a significant milestone in the journey towards a more sustainable future. The celebration took place on Friday, 10 May 2024 at the CCUS Piloting Site in Leandra Mpumalanga. The purpose of the event was to acknowledge those who worked tirelessly to ensure that the project moves closer to achieving the main goal which is to capture and store CO2 underground. A representative of the Mzansi Exploration, Drilling and Mining team began the programme by giving the guests a safety briefing of the site, which was followed by the singing of the South African National Anthem.

The Executive Mayor of Govan Mbeki Local Municipality, Cllr Nhlakanipho Zuma gave a welcoming address and expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the CGS for bringing such an opportunity to a small town like Leandra. His speech was followed by that of Mr. Mosa Mabuza, CEO of CGS, who in his speech reminded the guests why Leandra was chosen as the preferred pilot site for the CCUS project. Mr. Mabuza added: “we saw Mpumalanga as the appropriate location for the CCUS Pilot Project owing to its proximity to major CO2 emission points”, he further acknowledged the significant role played by Dr Taufeeq Dhansay, Manager for Minerals and Energy at the CGS on his recommendation for the use of basalt rocks for potential CO2 storage. The CEO thanked the appointed service provider, Mzansi Exploration, Drilling and Mining for completing the drilling of a 1800m borehole in a period of 7 months, notwithstanding the challenges experienced. In his closing, the CEO emphasised that the celebratory ceremony did not signal the end of CCUS research in South Africa, and that since its relocation, there had been  expressions of interest from the private sector, who now want to be part of the solution.

Mr Sibusiso Matiwane, the acting COO of Mzansi Drilling, Exploration and Mining thanked the CGS for appointing them to conduct the drilling. He added that they are delighted to have finally achieved this drilling milestone, notwithstanding the challenges encountered such as water loss, technical challenges, and weather conditions, to name but a few. He thanked his colleagues at Mzansi Drilling, Exploration and Mining and all stakeholders who participated in making this project a success.

Mr Ngqondi Nxokwana, the CCUS project manager accompanied by Mr Thulani Maupa, site manager took the audience through the journey of the project, from site selection, environmental authorisation, stakeholder engagement, and all other activities leading up to completion of the drilling phase. They concluded their joint speech by announcing that the team had achieved zero incidents, and have minimised project disruptions by at least 5%. The last segment of the programme, was the handover of the recognition certificates to the drillers which was facilitated by Dr Thuli Khumalo, Executive Manager in the office of the CEO. She called upon CGS board members and other dignitaries to handover the certificates and gifts to the drilling team.

Mr Kelepile Dintwe, CGS Board Chairperson wrapped up the programme by thanking everyone who attended the event. He mentioned that this achievement is worth celebrating and further affirmed the boards’ support for the CGS. He expressed that the success of the project is not only for South Africa, but for the whole African continent. The day ended on a high note, with photo taking opportunities, festivities, excitement and an ambience of celebration as the guests enjoyed the music which was played by the talented band.

  • Writers: Matlhatsi Maibelo and Philasande Buthelezi

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