Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy]]> vol. 113 num. 3 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>New Vistas</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Relationships</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Holistic green commitment places Royal Bafokeng Platinum in the Nedbank Green Index</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Infacon XIII to be held in Kazakhstan</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Platinum 2012</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Navigating above-the-ground risk in the platinum sector</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>The basic resource equations (BRE and BR2RE) - a new approach to the definition and reconciliation of mineral resources and reserves at Anglo American Platinum Ltd</b>]]> Definition of mineral resources and reserves forms the basis for effective mine planning and reliable public reporting of mineral assets. Historically, the mineral resource and reserves declaration process has been the domain of the geology and surveying disciplines, with the declaration of the reserves by the surveyor being based on the application of modifying factors to the declared resources available for mining. As part of an ongoing process to improve efficiency, reliability, and reproducibility of results, this approach has been revised and enhanced through the introduction of a revised process and reconciliation tools. The revised approach to reserve definition is based on the definition of scheduled resources, at an appropriate confidence estimate in the context of an approved business plan, over the anticipated life of the mineral asset being applied to define reserves. This planning and scheduling is developed, during the annual business planning process, by the mine planning department using tools such as CADSMineTM. The scheduled area together with the application of revised modifying factors is tabulated in the BME (basic mine equation) and reflects the mine production plan over time. Simplification of the modifying factors to dilution and losses underpins the simple yet robust approach to improved definition of reserves in this process and in the basic resource to reserve equation (BR2RE). Dilution intrinsically affects grade but not metal content, whereas the losses reflect both the efficiency of mining and planning and are reflected in metal losses, area losses, or both. Reconciliation of the derived 'resource converted to reserve' area (which is based on the business plan from CADSMineTM) versus the 'resource available for mining' (which is derived from DatamineTM) underpins the robustness and auditability of the reserves declaration. This R'R accounting and reconciliation approach is transparent and facilitates interrogation of the logic and rationale of long-term business planning and project strategy. These numbers are processed and reported in the logic of the basic resource equation (BRE), which also addresses aspects such as white areas (future and historic), tail management, and partial extraction (non-scheduled pillars, etc.) in compliance with SAMREC definitions. Areas that do not have the necessary confidence and data support to be declared as resources find their space as pre-resource (outside the domain of public reporting), outlining existing potential for future extraction and reporting. Use of the BRE leads ultimately to a complete, refined accounting and reconciliation-oriented approach for all production entities. The revised resource and reserve process includes the discipline of mine planning as intrinsic to the definition and declaration of resources and reserves. Subsequent to the change in process, the resources and reserves have truly become the domain of the mineral resource management discipline. This paper defines the logic of the basic resource equations and outlines their application in the definition and reconciliation of mineral resources and reserves at Anglo American Platinum Limited. <![CDATA[<b>Case study on quantitative risk modelling to obtain a realistic risk-adjusted project valuation</b>]]> A large opencast gold mining company in Africa had just completed a feasibility study for an expansion of the operations. A traditional net present value project valuation methodology had been used that showed a very positive net present value (NPV). The project team had conducted a qualitative risk assessment that identified and logged all potential project risks and had subjectively incorporated 'risk' via the discount rate and other assumption contingencies around gold price expectations, operating parameters, etc. Management requested that an independent quantitative risk modelling approach be adopted to obtain a better understanding of the impact of risk on the overall project valuation and confidence level in the final valuation. A detailed project valuation model was configured in the Cyest Carbon Modelling Technology platform, and the stochastic modelling module used to perform the Monte Carlo simulations. Analysis of historical operational performance data relating to actual achievements versus planned and budget determined the historical variability of the underlying parameters as well as variance to budget. This was done at a detailed level for mining rates and costs, processing rate, costs and recovery, and other operational efficiency measures. External market assumptions relating to gold price, exchange rate, and inflation were modelled and the dependency between them modelled using a copula. This case study will demonstrate the approach taken to building and populating the quantitative risk model and the overall results of the Monte Carlo simulation. The final valuation demonstrated that the project had a 44 percent probability of an NPV less than zero i.e. a 44 percent chance of project finance loss. <![CDATA[<b>The oxidized ores of the Main Sulphide Zone, Great Dyke, Zimbabwe</b>: <b>turning resources into minable reserves - mineralogy is the key</b>]]> The Great Dyke of Zimbabwe constitutes the world's second largest reserve of platinum group elements (PGE) after the Bushveld Complex in neighbouring South Africa. Within the Great Dyke, economic concentrations of PGE are restricted to sulphide disseminations of the Main Sulphide Zone (MSZ), which are currently mined at the Ngezi, Unki, and Mimosa mines. Near-surface oxidized MSZ ores have a large potential. Their total resources are in the range of 160-250 Mt; however, all previous attempts to extract the PGE from this ore type have proved uneconomic due to low PGE recoveries (<< 50 per cent) achieved by conventional metallurgical methods. Within the ores of pristine, sulphide-bearing MSZ, the PGE are bimodally distributed. Platinum occurs mainly in the form of discrete platinum group mineral (PGM) grains (mainly bismuthotellurides, sulphides, and arsenides), whereas approximately 80 per cent of the Pd (and some Rh) is hosted in pentlandite. Within the oxidized MSZ ores, the PGE are polymodally distributed. Whereas the arsenide- and sulphide-PGMs that make up approximately 25 per cent of the original Pt content of the ore largely remain stable (relict PGMs), the remaining PGMs are disintegrated. The base metal sulphides are destroyed, partly releasing their base metal and PGE contents, and are replaced by iron oxides or hydroxides. Unspecified amounts of the PGE are redistributed and either form secondary PGMs, are found in chemically and mineralogically ill-defined (Pt/Pd)-oxides or hydroxides, or in iron-hydroxides, Mn-Co-hydroxides, and in secondary silicates. The problematic processing of oxidized MSZ ores is attributable to their complex nature and polymodal distribution of the PGE, prohibiting a significant upgrading of the ores by conventional metallurgical methods. Therefore, only bulk leaching methods are viable for ore treatment, and novel metallurgical methods have to be developed for the processing of these ores. Our ongoing work aims at locating the PGE in their mineralogical form in order to understand the mineralogical balance of the PGE in the ores and thereby facilitate the evaluation of metallurgical options for their recovery. A short overview on options and recent advances regarding the recovery of the PGE from oxidized ores is given. <![CDATA[<b>Metal accounting in the platinum industry</b>: <b>How effective is it?</b>]]> The AMIRA Code of Practice and Guidelines for Metal Accounting was developed in response to demand from a number of sponsor companies, including one major platinum producer. Since its publication in 2007, the Code has become widely accepted in the mining industry world-wide as a guide for best practice in metal accounting. With the changes in the structure of the platinum mining industry in South Africa over the last 10-15 years, in particular, the starting up of a number of small platinum producers who must have their concentrate smelted and the contained valuable metals refined by third parties, the need for metal accounting systems that are accurate and have an acceptable level of precision has become even more critical to the success of a platinum-producing operation. The current state of metal accounting in the industry is discussed, and possible areas for improved accounting and associated metallurgical efficiencies are identified. <![CDATA[<b>Applications and benefits of 3D laser scanning for the mining industry</b>]]> Technology is advancing at a rate that makes it extremely difficult for the mining industry to keep pace. Many advances occur within a given piece of technology and often this is missed by the disciplines that could have gained advantage by its implementation. Often this may have been simply an aspect of cost exceeding benefit. However, there are some technologies that potentially have such a far-reaching impact on the mining industry that the benefits simply outweigh the cost. The application of 3D laser scanning in the mining industry has the potential of taking the concept of 'Google mapsTM' underground. This presents an opportunity where the virtual world of underground can be traversed with relative ease and many aspects of measurements could be obtained without having to visit the working place again, potentially saving countless man-hours and still delivering precision work with significant savings in downtime, stoppages, and exposure to safety incidents. Anglo American Platinum maintains its competitive advantage though the review and application of appropriate technology. This paper describes the 3D laser scanning trial at one of Anglo American Platinum's new shafts, and goes on to show the benefits encountered through the application and the involvement of the various MRM disciplines. <![CDATA[<b>Case studies of simultaneous mining and mineral processing optimization applied to platinum and nickel operations</b>]]> This paper develops the themes explored by the authors at the Fourth International Platinum Conference┬╣. Optimization techniques can be used to significantly increase the value of mining businesses by enabling better long-term planning decisions. Open pit and underground mine design, mine scheduling, cut-off grade and blending, stockpiling, and the linking of these to flexible elements of the metallurgical recovery processes are all evaluated together. Transport or sale of intermediate products and the requirements of the product metal markets can also be considered. Experience shows that net present value (NPV) can potentially be increased by 5-35 per cent or more, usually even before the expenditure of significant amounts of project capital. The case studies presented include: ► An existing operation with multiple open pits and PGM concentrators linked to offsite downstream processing facilities, and with infrastructure constraints for which the scheduling of current operations and the potential for expansion were investigated ► An existing operation with an integrated portfolio of mines, concentrators, smelter, and refinery, for which the various possible sources of ore for processing were prioritized to match the downstream process plant constraints and the product markets ► An underground operation in Zimbabwe for which the optimum mining width was calculated and expansion plans were evaluated ► An underground mine with many separate mining sections, for which a revised schedule was developed aiming to keep the shaft system and processing plant at capacity with the highest net value material available at any time throughout the life of mine. In the concluding section of the paper, a few brief notes are included suggesting how the strategic recommendations from enterprise optimization studies may be implemented by the owner's team. <![CDATA[<b>A perspective on the supply and utilization of mining graduates in the South African context</b>]]> The South African mining industry continues to be a major source of employment at a time when at least 25 per cent of the working age population is unemployed. At the same time the industry faces a skills shortage in many of the disciplines necessary for its future health. The University of the Witwatersrand, University of Pretoria, University of Johannesburg, and University of South Africa have historically produced mining graduates for the South African mining industry with any shortfall being met by the recruitment of overseas graduates. More recently, the global shortage of engineers and other mining industry professionals has seen a reversal of this trend and a very significant emigration of well-educated and highly skilled personnel. The traditional career path for mining graduates is in production and mine management. However, there is the parallel (and possibly more pressing) need for specialized skills in such fields as ventilation, rock engineering, mine planning, mineral resource evaluation, and mineral asset valuation. Chronic shortages in these essential areas continue to hamper the development of the industry and may well frustrate its ambitions to be safe, healthy, and profitable into the future. The permeability of skills across sectorial boundaries within the mining industry requires that skills shortages in the platinum sector are not looked at in isolation, but within the context of the entire industry. This paper reviews the efforts being made by the universities, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, to meet the needs of the South African mining industry in terms of the required numbers and the range of specialized skills. <![CDATA[<b>What is the best energy-delivery system for hand-held stope drilling and associated equipment in narrow-reef hard rock mines?</b>]]> Changing mining conditions, legislative issues, rising costs, and the constrained supply of skills and electricity in South Africa, have been some of the criteria forcing mine operators and engineers to review the traditional use of compressed air to power underground hand-held drilling operations in narrow-stope, hard-rock mines. In answering the question, 'What is the best way to power this mine?', they have resorted to trade-off studies with results of limited usefulness, because they are site-specific, and use only a few comparative parameters, based on a small data set. This paper aims to provide definitive, objective, and quantitative decision-making approaches to evaluating alternative energy-delivery systems for stoping in narrow-reef hard rock mines, based on primary and relevant criteria. These include quantifiable criteria such as capital expenditure, operating costs, resulting financial returns, energy and water usage, production performance, life-of-mine, etc. Other important criteria with qualitative aspects are integrated. These are safety, health, and environmental concerns, legislative requirements, business risk, technology change, etc. The paper begins with a review of decision-making processes available, and proposes the use of the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) method as a multiple-criteria decision-making tool and the decision tree based on milestone-driven uncertainties, to validate the selection of the energy delivery system. The results of a multiple-criteria questionnaire completed by a variety of industry experts and professionals, such as production and operation managers, consultants, suppliers, and techno-financial analysts, are discussed. The evaluation indicates the potential for hydropower to be the best solution for narrow-reef hard rock mines, based on current information, mine design layout and production. <![CDATA[<b>Challenges and solutions in PGM furnace operation</b>: <b>high matte temperature and copper cooler corrosion</b>]]> The key aspects of process metallurgy that distinguish platinum group metal (PGM) concentrate smelting from that of other base metal sulphide concentrates are presented. These differences include considerably higher input chrome and magnesia contents that directly raise the slag liquidus temperature and have the potential to increase accumulations of refractory spinels. Most importantly, the higher processing temperature required for PGM smelting and the resulting very high matte superheat lead to considerably more onerous smelting conditions than those typical of other smelting operations. This has presented challenges to furnace design and integrity, especially when coupled with the progressive intensification of smelting, involving doubling, and then redoubling, of furnace power inputs over the past 20 years. These power increases have been enabled by increasingly more advanced furnace cooling and structural technologies. Key technologies include strong constant-force spring-loaded bindings acting in three dimensions to minimize infiltration of superheated matte into brick joints, and robust well-cooled tapholes for reliably tapping the superheated matte. The result has been substantially improved productivity, and reduced smelting capital cost outlay per unit of production. A significant challenge, which was not anticipated, presented itself in the form of insidious corrosion of the furnace lining, and especially high-intensity copper cooling elements. Investigation of corrosion in related industries eventually identified 'chloride-accelerated sulphidation', and this term has been retained as it generically describes the most pertinent aspects of the accelerated low-temperature wear of copper coolers observed in PGM smelting. In addition to discussing the corrosion mechanism, this paper describes a number of solutions that were developed jointly by Anglo American Platinum and Hatch to address the copper corrosion problem. First, new monitoring technologies allowed furnaces to be operated more safely for a longer period of time. Second, a system for replacing corroded coolers from outside the furnace during a fast 'hot' shutdown minimized the impact on furnace operating factor and hearth life. Finally, a corrosion-resistant graphite-protected cooler design significantly improved furnace campaign life, and heralds a more lasting solution to cooler corrosion in PGM furnaces. <![CDATA[<b>A practical approach to plant-scale flotation optimization</b>]]> Decision-making regarding plant-scale reagent dosage regimes and air rates is a topic of ongoing investigation and high importance. The current work explains some techniques that have proven useful in deciding on plant-scale flotation operating regimes. Specific focus has been placed on the reagents: frother and depressant, as well as some discussion around the control of air rate and froth depth. Air rate has been selected based on its effects on the froth phase. Froth velocity and froth height above the cell lip are the two variables measured and used to select the operating air rate. Pulp level is then adjusted to increase or decrease mass pull. A technique has been developed using the Anglo Platinum Bubble Sizer on an industrial flotation cell to determine the relationship between bubble size and frother concentration. This technique has been extended to measure the equivalent frother concentration or frothabilities of various streams on a rougher bank. A mass balance for frother was performed successfully, and this provided a better understanding of the way frother moved in the rougher bank. With this knowledge, more informed decisions can be made about frother addition required in subsequent flotation stages. For depressant, a new protocol for deciding on dosage rate has been developed. The depressant dosage should be based on the amount of fresh feed material reporting to a bank. Currently 400 g per ton of fresh feed has been assumed a reasonable starting point, with promising results. Improved froth stability and grades were observed. There is scope for more accurately defining the optimal dosage rate. Importantly, the combined effect of changing the chemistry and the hydrodynamics together has been demonstrated. A significant upward shift in the grade-recovery relationship for a cleaner bank was observed. <![CDATA[<b>The minerals plant of the future - leveraging automation and using intelligent collaborative environment</b>]]> Low-grade, complex mineral deposits have resulted in the need for complicated large-throughput processing plants delivering increased productivity, reliability, and utilization, together with reducing operational costs. Complex mineralogy has resulted in complicated process flow sheets designed to recover minerals as efficiently as possible. In addition, the remote location of many minerals-processing plants, continuously rising energy costs, and fierce competition pose significant challenges to the modern mine, compounded by a global scarcity of qualified and experienced operational personnel. Over the last decade the Internet and automation technologies have undergone major advancements. Automation technologies, solutions, and concepts that existed, but were considered risky or unreliable prior to the year 2000, have now gained acceptance and matured. Furthermore, new technologies and different collaboration schemes have appeared, offering innovative solutions to the mining industry to address many of the challenges described. These advancements in reliable remote systems that access technology through the Internet provide significant opportunity to support mining operations, enhance process performance, provide engineering services, and proactively anticipate and execute maintenance services. This paper references a global survey of automation trends in the mining industry and the potential for an intelligent collaborative environment using automation technologies to exploit opportunities in operating the plant of the future, increasing effectiveness, and reducing operational costs. A variety of possibilities are described, including asset management solutions, remote access capabilities, performance monitoring solutions, advanced process control technologies, and the formation of an intelligent collaborative environment. A real example where this technology is used to support the operation and maintenance at a cement plant in Egypt is given to underpin the concepts described in this paper. <![CDATA[<b>Hybrid Energy Flotation<sup>TM </sup>- on the optimization of fine and coarse particle kinetics in a single ro</b>]]> Theoretical flotation models suggest that there is a positive relationship between bubble-particle collision rates and turbulent kinetic energy dissipation. Fine particle flotation performance is generally enhanced by increased collision frequency and hence higher energy dissipation. Contrarily, increased turbulence in the rotor-stator region is related to higher detachment frequency of the coarser size range. Therefore, the optimal modes of recovery for the 'fine' and 'coarse' size classes appear to be diametrically opposed. Industrial applications have previously confirmed that applying greater power to flotation slurries yields significant improvements in fine particle recovery. However, recovery of the coarser size class favours a different flotation environment. An improvement in the flotation kinetics of the fine and coarse size classes, provided there is no adverse metallurgical influence on the intermediate size ranges, is obviously beneficial to the overall recovery response. Managing the local turbulent kinetic energy dissipation, and hence the power imparted to the slurry, offers the benefit of targeting the particle size ranges exhibiting slower kinetics. FLSmidth recently introduced the practical implementation of this concept. In principle, it decouples flotation regimes where fine and coarse particles exhibit preferentially recovery. In the case of naturally aspirated machines (Wemco┬«), it is referred to as Hybrid Energy FlotationTM and incorporates at least three phases: ► Standard flotation machines (standard energy input, rotor speed (r/min), rotor size/type) at the beginning of the row, where flotation is typically froth-phase limited and operational and set-up parameters have a limited influence on the recovery ► Higher-powered flotation machines (high rotor speed, high-power rotor size/type) at the end of the row to improve fine particle recovery ► Lower-powered flotation machines (low rotor speed, low power rotor size/type) to enhance coarse particle recovery. A CFD-based flotation model is used to highlight the effect of turbulent dissipation energy on attachment and detachment rates. Preferential collection zones for 'fine' and 'coarse' particles are predicted for both forced-air and naturally aspirated machines. The greater predominance of UG2 ore types, coupled with the skewed feed distribution of platinum group metals (PGMs) to the finer size fractions, suggests that PGM flotation circuits are not designed for optimal recovery across the size distribution. The application of the hybrid energy concept to PGM flotation offers a possible shift towards a more efficient flotation circuit solution through a managed distribution of energy. <![CDATA[<b>Preconcentration of UG2 platinum ore</b>: <b>economic benefits</b>]]> Mining and plant practices can benefit from preconcentration of UG2 platinum ores in a dense medium separation (DMS) plant. The main benefit of DMS is the selective discard of waste from the feed stream, thus improving project economics while reducing the power and water requirements for processing. On the mining side, with the correct combination of variables, implementing DMS as a pre-concentration step can reduce cut-off grades and, as a result, increase ore reserves. In addition, the use of DMS technology gives the mine team the opportunity to consider alternative mining methods for an operation. The challenges of balancing the mining tonnage, methods, and resulting grades with the process plant size, recoveries, and DMS discard volumes have resulted in the development of a model to optimize value on new projects or existing operations. This paper will focus on these benefits from a mining and plant perspective, quantifying the water and power savings, and look at the economic benefits of preconcentration and the effect of metal prices, plant feed grade, and DMS efficiency in different mining environments. <![CDATA[<b>A phased development schedule for a platinum concentrator utilizing a dynamic stockpile model</b>]]> There are a number of factors that contribute to the profitability of a mine and its associated concentrator. Chief among these is the time taken from the first hoist of material from underground to the first batch of concentrate shipped. The main aim of this project was to integrate the mining model with a concentrator production schedule to minimize the time it would take to produce concentrate (without the concentrator having to stop because of a lack of feed material) in the most capital-effective manner. A secondary goal was to ensure detailed stockpiling requirements, as the concentrator is in an area where 'visual pollution' is to be avoided. To achieve these two goals a dynamic stockpile model was created by utilizing the mine production schedule and breaking it down to a daily production figure. Four different concentrator development models were then proposed. The difference between the mine production and concentrator consumption was integrated over the life of the mine to provide the accumulated stockpile tonnages for both Merensky and UG2 ore. To prevent a situation where the concentrator was operational without any feed, the stockpile levels were never allowed to fall below zero. When a development option was selected, the standard metallurgical performance calculations were used to derive a concentrate production schedule, which was used as a basis for commercial negotiations for the sale of concentrate.