Emmanuel Captain Vellemu

Degree: PhD (Water Resource Science)

Year of Registration: 2014

Supervisors: Professor Tally Palmer and Dr Paul Mensah

Thesis Title: The Ecological Risk of Acid Mine Drainage in a Salinising Landscape

Research focus: 

Salinity is an increasing water quality threat facing South African rivers. It is further exacerbated by mining activities especially coal and gold mines which are often associated with pyrite rocks. When pyrite rock is fractured during coal or gold extraction, in the presence of oxygen and water, it produces sulphuric acid, increased metals and sulphate concentrations – associated with low pH values which most organisms cannot survive. These products are carried out in effluent water commonly termed ‘Acid mine drainage’ or ‘Alkaline mine drainage’ depending on pH fluctuations. Acid mine drainage can also come from old abandoned mines. The sulphates in acid mine drainage tend to combine with other elements in water including sodium and magnesium to form salts which can be toxic to aquatic organisms at high concentrations. My research therefore aims to understand the ecological risk of acid mine drainage in a salinising landscape through running series of ecotoxicity experiments using acid mine drainage water collected from mines, artificially made and various sulphate salt experiments since there is evidence that sulphate salts are toxic to organims. The findings are useful in water resources management through the development of salt water quality guidelines in South Africa.

I am Malawian and my passion for water dates back in 2006 at Natural Resources College of Malawi where I graduated with a Diploma in Irrigation Technology before moving to Namibia in 2007. I graduated from the University of Namibia in both BSc (Hons) and MSc degree in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences in the year 2011 and 2014 respectively.

My research interests are in ecotoxicological studies, salinity, acid mine drainage, water, ecology, heavy metals and fisheries.

Last Modified: Wed, 30 Sep 2015 12:58:21 SAST