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Geothermal scoping study eyed for in Limpopo province in South Africa

Landscape in Limpopo province, South Africa (source: flickr/ Fyre Mael, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 3 May 2020

South African Council for Geoscience (CGS) reporting to the Department of Minerals and Energy in South Africa is targeting early geothermal scoping work in Limpopo province, the Northern tip of South Africa.

In 2016, we published an article on a property in South Africa that was described as interesting geothermal opportunity. It now seems to be confirmed to be interesting from a perspective of geothermal resources. This based on an overview sent in by Japie Brink.

Property owners in the Limpopo Province have been approached by the South African Council for Geoscience (CGS) for approval to access their land in order to conduct physical geothermal tests. CGS is a state-owned entity reporting to the Department of Minerals and Energy.

The Welgevonden fault system, which contains several hot springs, falls in the larger targeted area that will be explored in order to determine, among other things, the possible existence of a hot water aquifer.

The objective of the tests is to develop a 3D model for the subsurface. According to CGS documentation, the depth of the investigation for the magneto telluric method varies between 500m to 20km.

However, harvesting energy from these geothermal resources is not part of CGS current mandate.

The CGS research will also shed light on the geology of the geothermal area in terms of minerals, water resources, geo-hazards and other environmental factors. This will assist in getting a better understanding of the cause, origin and other attributes of the fault system.

The CGS test underway is only phase one of the process. Should the result be positive, a second-phase drilling program is intended to verify results found in the initial research.

This is great news for South Africa, which has been lagging behind other countries in Africa and the rest of the world in terms of geothermal development. Geothermal energy is a fantastic clean energy source, whether the application is direct such as electricity generation, or indirect such as hot spring holiday resorts or aqua farming.

The Limpopo Province is well known for its platinum mines, hot springs and holiday resorts. Towns and communities in the province have benefited from the economic impact of the hot springs in the area, which attract thousands of visitors during peak holiday seasons. It is similar to what has happened many years ago with the development of the city Bath in UK, or the age old Turkish Baths.

Travelling around the world gives you a better understanding and appreciation of the different meanings of hot springs  in different cultures. The Japanese are calling their hot springs onsen.

Most property owners are excited about the outcome of this research, as a favourable outcome could have great potential for the community in terms of commercial application and environmental impact.

Hot springs are relatively rare and localised in South Africa. There are approximately ten scalding hot springs in South Africa (above 50 degrees Celsius).

One of the scalding hot springs that falls within the targeted Welgevonden Fault area is currently available for sale in the Limpopo province. This is one of the top South African geothermal sources in terms of hot water volume, temperature and quality of water (sulphur free, clear, with no smell). The location is excellent, as the property has a river front and is bordering game farms and holiday resorts on all sides.

Should you require more information please click on the following link: http://www.gamefarmestates.co.za/Agents/Game-Farms/105ha/105ha.html – Or contact the real estate agent, Rudie Swanepoel, at mobile +27(0) 82 3533 448 .