“Parties remain far apart on the issues of governance and security,” Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, told the Security Council, noting that agreement on permanent ceasefire terms and transitional security arrangements, remain elusive.In addition, while the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, IGAD – an eight-country trading-bloc in Africa – has worked to narrow the gap ahead of talks, the parties remain far from agreement.The world’s youngest country, South Sudan, has spent much of the past seven years mired in conflict, riven by a political face-off between President Salva Kiir and his then former Vice-President Riek Machar that erupted into full-blown war late in 2013.The conflict shows no signs of abating and there has been a recent surge in violence across large parts of the country, impacting thousands of civilians. Nearly 4.3 million South Sudanese have been driven from their homes – 1.7 million internally, and around 2.5 million across its borders.Of particular concern is the scale of sexual violence perpetrated, said Mr. Lacroix, underscoring that reports of rape and gang rape are compounding what is already a “desperate situation” for women and girls.Humanitarian agencies are also facing increasing challenges responding to those in need. In April, two relief workers were killed, bringing to 100 the total number of aid workers killed since December 2013.“We must respond and respond quickly to ensure accountability for these violations and abuses and bring an end to these heinous acts once and for all,” stressed the senior UN official.No sign of ‘meaningful implementation’ of ceasefire agreementBoth the Government and opposition remain bent on armed confrontation and the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities – signed in December last year – is yielding little, underscored Mr. Lacroix, calling on the Council to use its influence.“It is in this context that I reiterate that there must be a tangible cost for the continuation of violence in South Sudan,” he said, “there must be consequences for blatant violations of the Cessation of Hostilities agreement and broken promises to protect civilians.”“Without consequences, we have no one to blame but ourselves for allowing the crisis to escalate unchecked and perpetuating a lack of confidence in a political solution to the crisis.”
SciDev Ltd has been given six months by Peabody Energy to prove its OptiFlox® system can improve water efficiency, productivity and operating costs at the tailings thickener section of the North Goonyella coking coal mine in Queensland, Australia (pictured).The six-month trial follows the successful installation and ongoing operation of an OptiFlox system at the coal miner’s 12 million tonne per year Wilpinjong thermal coal mine in New South Wales.SciDev also sells chemicals to the 2.9 Mt/y North Goonyella mine, with the OptiFlox system expected to enhance the “efficacy of the SciDev chemistry”, the company said.The OptiFlox range of polymers is specifically tailored for the treatment of process water and wastewater in mining and minerals. In addition to the polymer range, OptiFlox also includes the company’s patent-pending technology, which continuously measures particle characteristics of coal slurry, in order to maintain optimal flocculation conditions through automatic, real time control of coagulant dosing.The technology aims to recover valuable mineral resources more efficiently, while minimising losses in productivity and revenue caused by inadequate wastewater clarification in tailings thickeners.In addition to the Peabody business, SciDev said it expects to receive approval during the current quarter for the trial of an OptiFlox system at a heavy mineral sands operation in South Australia.