"Nafasi Water is investing heavily in the technologies that are involved in wastewater beneficiation to ensure that we are creating economic development opportunities around the segment of water."
Nafasi Water, previously Aveng Water, rebranded in 2019. What were the reasons behind the rebranding of the company?
We had been part of Aveng for well over 12 years and the business was sold as a going concern in early 2019, and in October, we officially launched the rebranded Nafasi Water to establish our own identity. Nafasi is a Swahili word, meaning boundless opportunity. The company has bases in South Africa and Namibia and is currently establishing itself in other SADC countries. Our focus is on water security solutions.
What is the role of Nafasi Water in improving water security?
South Africa’s National Water and Sanitation Master Plan summarises the problem quite well: demand is outstripping supply, but even in available supply, there is a decline in water quality from sanitation-related discharge, mining impacts or other industrial activities. The government has put a three-tiered strategy in place of which the first tier is focussed on figuring out how to get non-revenue water economically back into the network of water boards. Nafasi Water can partner with the government in dealing with non-revenue water and packaging solutions to get economic value for a very precious resource. The next priority area is the improvement of sanitation infrastructure and the possible reuse of wastewater. Then lastly, finding new sources of water for high growth coastal areas, likely from sea water desalination.
Nafasi Water is investing heavily in the technologies that are involved in wastewater beneficiation to ensure that we are creating economic development opportunities around the segment of water.
Can you elaborate on Nafasi Water’s SIGMA OPS system and HiPRO product range?
Operating complex process plants with high-value equipment and a high-availability requirement is a challenge for any operator. As a result, Nafasi Water’s innovation focus in these areas is about generating and using big data tools. SIGMA OPS is a cloud-based centralized plant control system support tool for operators on different sites. The system allows us to make plant control and optimization decisions based on live insights and trends. The analysis and trends collected enable us to put up a much more mature set point, manage risks from early warnings, and build predictive models.
When dealing with chemically and industrially polluted water, the biggest challenge is managing your waste stream and maxing out the water recovered - technology that does this reliably and economically is what will allow for large-scale plants.
The HiPROTM Mine Impacted Water product range is our proprietary process design technology that effectively builds a system to recover in excess of 99% of water with a waste stream that is restricted to only 1%. In addition, we also offer brine treatment solutions where a brine stream is unavoidable due to specific feed water chemistry. We are in the process of developing technologies that will eliminate the excess waste produced by beneficiating it into viable chemical products.
How would you rate South Africa as a mining jurisdiction?
South Africa has a strong organized mining industry. Having an organized industry creates peer to peer accountability. If the industry can self-regulate to an extent, it makes it easier to advance particular ideas. The level of organization of the Minerals Councils in Southern Africa is fairly mature and is reflective of the age of the industry.
However, the industry is still prone to the same challenges any other industry would have, particularly during economic downturns. We are struggling with planning views because of the extent of global uncertainty, which is making it difficult for anyone to make long-term decisions.
What is Nafasi Water’s strategy and focus for the next two years?
Nafasi Water believes that the next two years in Southern Africa will be a time for change. We are seeing restructuring and acquisitions and disposals in the mining industry, and typically when this happens, we will see a lag in the implementation of long-term projects. Our focus for the next two years is to continue to heavily invest in our technology and people and continue implementing our recent innovations in our current operations. We will be advancing our research to make sure that our technologies are what the industry will need. Our job is water security, and we will continue to be a central part of this conversation and efforts.