A geothermal hot spring in South Africa – your new business opportunity?

A geothermal hot spring in South Africa – your new business opportunity? Near Welgevonden hot spring, South Africa (source: Japie Brink)
Alexander Richter 27 Jun 2016

Talking about geothermal energy in Africa, we always talk about East Africa, but there are also geothermal manifestations of geothermal energy in South Africa, like in this hot spring that is now for sale in South Africa.

While a promotional article, I thought it was worth to share. Maybe someone sees the opportunity to build a geothermal plant or can develop something else with that property? Keen to see if this gets some attention.

Buying a geothermal spring is almost impossible, as these come on the market vary rarely. They are not to be ordered, built or discovered at will. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy a geothermal spring in one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa. It is a unique property set in the picturesque Waterberg area of the indigenous Bushveld. It is perfect for a buyer with the passion to take this wonder of nature to its full potential.

Welgevonden_2The Welgevonden geothermal spring is situated in the Welgevonden Fault zone that resulted from a shift in the underground rock formation millions of years ago. Miles and miles of unspoilt scenic nature in a temperate climate lends itself to game farming, hunting and holiday resorts – all of which make the area a popular weekend and holiday destination that is less than two hours’ drive from Pretoria, the capital city, on a well-maintained highway.

The fault itself adds to the beauty of the surrounds, with green bush-covered hills interrupted by impressive mountains and rock formations. The drilled spring is exceptionally hot and strong, one of a kind with an average ground-level temperature of 51 degrees Celsius and measured to deliver at least 50 000 liters of water per hour constantly pumped at a depth of 100 meters. The spring has been drilled 280 meters deep and the temperature rises to about 58 degrees deeper down. There seems to be a likelihood of striking even higher temperatures for those brave enough to drill deeper.

Welgevonden_3With true South African ingenuity, the owners – a local team of amateurs motivated by a love for science and adventure – designed and built a device that enabled them to measure the temperature at various depths in a very cost-effective way.

An interesting finding was that the temperatures were higher deeper into the borehole (@ approximately 220 meters). Also, there was a four-Degree-Celsius rise when measuring the temperature pumping water, compared to measuring the temperature of still water in the borehole (about four meters from the top). These findings suggest the possibility of a much hotter source deeper down.

Because hot water is typically found in vertical underground shafts, the probability of striking such a vertical shaft is very small. What makes this particular source exceptional is that it does not have the unpleasant smell of sulfide compounds that are often associated with very hot mineral springs. The water is clear and clean. The drilling process was a challenge in itself. After several failures, a highly specialized company had to be contracted to use Odex drilling (“drill and drive”) to drill through the unstable fissure rock formation at certain depths.

The property is surrounded on its various borders by holiday resorts, a game farm and the perennial Sterkriver. It consists of three adjacent but separate title deeds, each comprising about 21 hectares (52 acre). Combined, there are about 10 hectares of flat, fertile soil suitable for agricultural, horticultural or aqua cultural uses, or simply for residential or recreational development. The remaining 52-odd hectares consist of hills of indigenous bush that, apart from additional residential development, lend itself to hiking, mountain biking, exotic game farming and likes. Or simply to be left unspoilt as it is . . .

With the large amount of hot water available, the potential saving on energy cost is immense: A conservative calculation based on prevailing electricity cost in the area estimates a saving of at least R24 million per year (about USD1.48 million at an exchange rate of R15.5/USD) to heat this amount of water to 51 degrees Celsius. This saving increases the potential viability of any economic venture around the use of hot water, or simply adds to the luxury of enjoying it for one’s own pleasure!

In addition to the hot water borehole, there is also a more-than-adequate supply of pure, drinkable cold water available from boreholes on the properties. The three properties also each have its own electricity transformer, delivering enough electricity for development. There is a tar road from the nearest town (about 25 km) right to the gates of the property. There is also a small but well-maintained house with water and electricity. South Africa’s abundant sunshine lends itself to solar power, and the availability of clean hot and cold water makes it possible to be completely self-sufficient and eco-friendly in terms of energy and water needs.

Asking price USD3 million payable in ZAR. Contact Japie Brink at [email protected].