Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy]]> vol. 111 num. 11 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>A proud monument for central Johannesburg's south western improvement district</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>No reason to delay R9.5 billion spend on skills development</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Net present value maximization model for optimum cut-off grade policy of open pit mining operations</b>]]> The optimum cut-off grade policy maximizes the net present value (NPV) of an open pit mining operation subject to the mining, processing, and refining capacity constraints. The traditional approaches to cut-off grade determination ignore the escalation of the economic parameters such as metal price and operating costs during life of an operation, and consequently lead to unrealistically higher values of the objective function. Further, the NPV of a mining operation declines due to the depletion of the available reserves, causing a decline in the optimum cut-off grade, i.e. higher cut-off grades in the early years of an operation and lower cut-off grades during the later years. Hence, low grade material mined in the earlier years may be stockpiled for processing during later years to offset the effect of escalating economic parameters on NPV. This paper demonstrates the combined impact of introducing economic parameters, escalation and stockpiling options into the cut-off grade optimization model. The model promises an enhancement in NPV as illustrated in a case study incorporating practical aspects of an open pit mining operation. <![CDATA[<b>The evaluation of whole-body vibration in a South African opencast mine</b>]]> Vibration levels on a variety of equipment in a South African opencast mine were measured in this study. The well-established ISO 2631-1 (1997) standard methodology was used for the computation of weighted root mean square (WRMS) and vibration dose value (VDV). This method was used to evaluate the wholebody vibration (WBV) on a wide range of equipment in the opencast mine using the two main parameters, namely the daily exposure A(8) which is based on the WRMS concept and the VDV which measures shocks. The results obtained show that while the majority of the equipment rendered exposure levels that are below the exposure limit value (ELV), exposure levels on about half of the equipment do exceed the exposure action levels. The study also highlights the importance of shock in the observed responses. <![CDATA[<b>Fluidized bed roasting of micropelletized zinc concentrate</b>: <b>Part I- Pellet strength and roasting kinetics</b>]]> Zincor, a zinc refinery in South Africa, uses oxygen enrichment of up to 26% O2 in its fluidizing air to increase concentrate-throughput in its fluidized bed roasters. The aim of the study is to determine whether O2 enrichment can be reduced by introducing micropelletized concentrate into the feed blend, while maintaining concentrate throughput rates and calcine quality. A laboratory scale fluidized roaster was used to determine the strength and oxidation kinetics of suitable micro-pellets. The strength of the pellets was determined by the extent of attrition during roasting. It was found that micro-pelletization decreases the fines in the feed to the roasters; the -500 µm fraction decreased from 87% to 10%. The micro-pelletized particles do break down during roasting, which increases the -500 µm fraction to 31%. The general morphologies of the roasted particles are similar to those found by previous workers. Micro-pelletized concentrate particles require more time than nonpelletized concentrate particles to oxidize in the roasting step, although this is less than the mean residence time of the Zincor roasters. Roasting micro-pellets in O2-enriched fluidizing air increased the reaction rate. <![CDATA[<b>Fluidized bed roasting of micro-pelletized zinc concentrate</b>: <b>Part II- Particle entrainment and residence time</b>]]> Zincor uses O2 enrichment (up to 26% O2 in the fluidizing air) to increase the processing rate of zinc concentrates in the fluidized bed roasters. The aim of this study is to determine whether O2 enrichment can be reduced by introducing micro-pelletized concentrate into the feed blend, while maintaining current roaster feed rates and calcine quality. It was found that, with a load of 20% micro-pellets introduced into the feed blend, that O2 enrichment could be reduced by 60%. It was determined that entrained particles spend on average between 0.46 hour and 2.44 hour in the roaster, compared to particles remaining between 3.93 hour and 4.00 hour in the bed overflow. This compares well with a radioactive tracer test performed by Spira. The required reaction time for micro-pellets was found to be less than the residence time inside a Zincor roaster. The result achieved indicated that the average particle residence time inside the roaster was increased successfully in order to compensate for the longer reaction time required to roast micro-pellets at lower levels of O2 in the fluidizing air. <![CDATA[<b>Investigation of factors influencing the determination of discount rate in the economic evaluation of mineral development projects</b>]]> When evaluating mining investment opportunities, one should consider the risks associated with mineral exploration and development. These are commonly classified as technical, economic, and political risks, and are accounted for in the investment decision by changing the discount rate. Thus, a company may use different discount rates associated with varying risks in order to compensate for the variability of success. The discount rate has a tremendous effect on the economic evaluation of mineral projects. Even when all other factors used as inputs for calculating the NPV (net present value) are equal, the project under consideration may be accepted or rejected depending upon the discount rate. Determining a realistic discount rate for a given project is therefore the most difficult and important aspect of cash flow analysis. It should be determined with the consideration of proper technical, economic, and political conditions surrounding the specific project undergoing economic evaluation. One key problem for determining the appropriate discount rate is that it typically depends more on subjective perception of the degree of risk or other experience factors than on a systematic approach. Thus, this study aims to identify, analyse, and document the type, role, and impact of risk factors influencing the determination of discount rates, and then to determine discount rate by using the aforementioned factors. <![CDATA[<b>Titanium</b>: <b>the innovators' metal - Historical case studies tracing titanium process and product innovation</b>]]> This paper examines innovation in relation to the availability of a new material: the metal titanium. The paper aims to highlight the need for the inclusion of entrepreneurial innovation as a necessary focus area in the development of a titanium metal value chain. Both the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) have identified the creation of titanium metals production capabilities as a key growth area for South Africa. Using historical literature as a source of data, the activities of selected innovators who used titanium metal as a central component in their success, were investigated. The origin of the process innovation behind the titanium metals industry, and two titanium product innovations: namely, medical implants and sporting goods, were detailed as case studies. It was found that individual innovators were responsible for the creation, and rapid growth, of the titanium industry and titanium product applications. There is a need to link the current research and development into titanium metals production with individuals and organizations capable of commercializing innovative processes and products. <![CDATA[<b>The relationship between the aspect ratio and multi-physical fields in aluminium reduction cells</b>]]> The relationship between the aspect ratio and physical fields in aluminium reduction cells wase studied numerically. The aspect ratio was firstly defined and 7 kinds of 320 kA cells with different aspect ratios were put forward. By using numerical simulation, the relationship between the aspect ratio and the electric-magnetic flow fields, magnetohydrodynamic stabilities, and thermal stability was discussed. It is concluded that the electric-magnetic flow field distributions are greatly affected by the aspect ratio. From the perspective of magnetohydrodynamics stability, the larger the aspect ratio is, the more stable the cell will be. A larger aspect ratio is more beneficial for the thermal stability under the same current density. <![CDATA[<b>A case study on stoping shift buffering at Impala Platinum</b>: <b>a critical chain project management perspective</b>]]> Conventional stoping in hard rock mining is largely considered an operational environment. This paper suggests that stoping falls within the realm of a project management environment typified by uncertainty, variation, and large numbers of interdependencies. Stoping was then equated to a micro-project with many simultaneous activities that had to be executed accurately using finite resources within limited shift durations in order to reach specific goals. Critical chain project management (CCPM) principles were applied to the stoping activities, and the results showed that the number of blasts per panel can be significantly increased by successfully moving the distribution of work as close as possible to the start of shift. Critical chain principles also assisted in facilitating re-focusing and teamwork among stoping crews as well as between day- and night-shift crews. The main recorded success was in managing inherent protective capacities/local contingencies/fat/buffers that are found in all projects. The impact on mine health and safety (MHS) was significant as individual operators and crews became convinced that they could perform all stoping tasks (activities) without compromising accuracy or speed. <![CDATA[<b>Value creation in the resource business</b>]]> This paper highlights several management practices from the oil and gas industry to support the proposition that financial performance in the finite, non-renewable resource business relates more to upstream rather than downstream activities. Based on the analysis of nine oil and gas companies, this study supports a previous study involving fourteen mining companies that showed reserves growth is one of the main levers of value creation in mining. Interestingly, this study also finds that the oil and gas industry has been historically more profitable than mining. The reason, it is argued, is that oil and gas companies count on management practices that focus primarily on the upstream segments of the business, compared to the traditional downstream focus of mining. This paper delves into these ideas to conclude that what mining may need to improve its competitive advantage is a new organizational framework. Another conclusion is that the upstream management focus is vital not only for strategy formulation in the resource business, but also for policy formulation in economies based on the export of finite, non-renewable resources. <![CDATA[<b>An analytical solution to predict axial load along fully grouted bolts in an elasto-plastic rock mass</b>]]> Nowadays, fully encapsulated rockbolts have become a key element in the design of ground control systems. The main reason is that they offer high axial resistance to bed separation. In this research, the load transfer capacity of a fully grouted bolt is evaluated analytically in an elasto-plastic rock mass condition. The research considered the effect of bolt end-plate on load transfer capacity. Bolt and surrounding materials were assumed to be elastic and elastoplastic materials respectively. The load transfer mechanism of a fully grouted bolt is a function of parameters such as bolt length, shear stiffness of interfaces, in situ stress, presence of face-plate and distance along the bolt. These factors were analytically evaluated. Finally, the load along the bolt was predicted in different surrounding rock mass characteristics.