Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy]]> vol. 114 num. 4 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Journal comment</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>President's Corner</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Book review - Digging Deep</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>MQA gives Wits University over R20 million</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>A critical evaluation of haul truck tyre performance and management system at Rössing Uranium Mine</b>]]> The factors affecting haul truck tyre performance and the effectiveness of the management system at Rössing Uranium Mine were investigated with the aim of increasing tyre performance in terms of running hours until failure. The main objectives were to identify the types of tyre failure, their causes and cost implications, and evaluate the effectiveness of the management system. A site severity survey, weight study, and TKPH studies were conducted to determine the pit conditions, and an analysis of failed tyres carried out. The results showed that tyre performance at the mine has declined from 2009 to date, and the increase in lost value amounted to R5.7 million in 2012 alone. The main cause of tyre failure is loose rocks in the pit. The present management system in the load and haul department is not effective enough due to operational constraints it is facing. <![CDATA[<b>A comparative study between shuttle cars and battery haulers</b>]]> The purpose of this project was to compare two underground, batch coal haulers - battery haulers and shuttle cars - in order to determine the more viable machine to implement. The specific standards for battery haulers were investigated and compared to the requirements of shuttle cars in order to identify the unnecessary expenses related to the legal requirements that are attached to the machines. Costs such as running costs, capital costs, and maintenance costs were researched and compared over a typical life of machine. Average production rates and breakdown times were obtained and used to determine which machine would be more reliable in achieving the required annual production. <![CDATA[<b>Investigation of cavity formation in lump coal in the context of underground coal gasification</b>]]> Underground coal gasification (UCG) is becoming more popular as the reserves of good quality, mineable coal are starting to diminish, and yet the global energy demand from coal is still increasing. The purpose of this research project was to investigate cavity formation within a coal block due to the combustion reactions in the context of UCG. The cavity plays a pivotal role in the UCG process, as it is essentially the gasification reactor. Cavity formation in an in situ gasification process using the forward combustion linking method (FCL) had been investigated, and a laboratory model was created to simulate the process. The experiment was performed by drilling a U-shaped tunnel into a coal block, which was then combusted internally with air that was fed through an injection hole. A heating element (at approximately 500°C) was used to supply the required heat for combustion at the base of the injection well. The coal blocks were analysed using micro-focus X-ray tomography. The tomography results showed that the coal tended to crack along the bedding plane after a short duration of combustion, due to either the formation of clinker or the expansion of swelling vitrinite along the horizontal tunnel. The deposit was thicker at the base of the injection well compared to the base of the production well; this may have been caused by the turbulence of the air flow and the relatively high oxygen concentration at the base of the injection well. A comparison of the results with work by Daggupati et al. (2010) showed the same trend, despite the slightly different methodology applied. <![CDATA[<b>Arnot's readiness to prevent a Pike River disaster</b>]]> Methane explosions in underground coal mines are a major concern across the mining industry. After the Pike River disaster, Arnot Coal became even more aware of the explosion risk. To determine whether Arnot has adequate precautions against a methane explosion, such as the one that led to the Pike River disaster, a literature survey covering the causes of the incident and what preventative measures should have been in place was conducted. Many different methane explosion prevention methods were evaluated, as well as codes of practice. Based on the findings, Arnot's measures to prevent conditions favourable for a methane explosion were evaluated. <![CDATA[<b>Laser cladding AA2014 with a Al-Cu-Si compound for increased wear resistance</b>]]> Aluminium alloys have gained popularity in many industries due to their high strength and low weight. One shortcoming of aluminium alloys is their poor resistance to abrasion and erosion wear compared to materials such as stainless steels. In this project, aluminium alloy 2014 (AA2014) was coated with a 1.5 mm thick laser-deposited layer composed of silicon, copper, and aluminium with the aim of increasing the wear resistance. The amount of silicon, copper, and aluminium added to each sample was determined by a mixtures model. It was discovered that the Al-Cu system is very sensitive to silicon additions and that wear resistance depends on the primary phase to solidify as well as on the final phase distribution. Two primary phases were identified; alpha aluminium and theta intermetallic. It was observed that the clad layer increases both the hardness and wear resistance of AA2014, and that the material solidifying as primary alpha aluminium displayed a lower hardness but higher wear resistance than the samples containing primary theta phase. All clad layers performed better in terms of wear resistance than the unclad samples. The knowledge gained and principles used in this project could be applied to many other aluminium alloys. <![CDATA[<b>Development of a method for evaluating raw materials for use in iron ore sinter in terms of lime assimilation</b>]]> Steel is produced in a basic oxygen furnace from hot metal obtained from a blast furnace. A sintered iron ore with good high-temperature properties (strength and permeability) should be used as feed to the blast furnace. The quality of this sintered ore depends on the reactivity of the iron ore used as feed to the sinter plant during the lime assimilation step in the sintering process. The penetration test is the standard method for evaluating the reactivity of iron ore with lime. It is, however, difficult to determine the exact depth of penetration from the standard test. A new test method is proposed that allows automatic evaluation of iron ores in terms of lime assimilation with increasing temperature. A comparison of the coefficients of variation for the new and standard methods for each ore type demonstrates that the results of the new test are more reproducible and more precise than those of the standard method. The test is also less time-consuming and easier to implement. <![CDATA[<b>The recovery of manganese products from ferromanganese slag using a hydrometallurgical route</b>]]> The ferromanganese industry is under pressure to deal with the slag arising from the production of ferromanganese, which is discarded in landfills or slag heaps. This material poses an environmental and health risk to surrounding ecosystems and communities, and disposal costs are increasing. Ferromanganese slag contains an appreciable amount of residual manganese metal, which can be exploited. Previous work has shown that the slag can be leached fully, while rejecting the silica to a residue. The methods that were investigated to recover manganese from the leach solution included hydroxide precipitation to upgrade the leach solution followed by manganese carbonate precipitation to produce a pure manganese carbonate product or a manganese carbonate furnace feed material, which would be recycled to increase manganese recoveries in the production of ferromanganese. In addition, electrowinning of electrolytic manganese dioxide from the leach solution was studied. The methods were compared in terms of selectivity, costs, and product quality. Co-recovery of the leach residue, which is a potential cement additive, is discussed. Among the methods investigated to upgrade the pregnant leach solution, hydroxide precipitation utilizing ammonia to adjust the pH appears to be the most effective in removing major impurities such as iron, aluminium, and silica to less than 1 ppm. The manganese carbonate and impure manganese carbonate furnace feed products met quality specifications. However, although the production of these materials was technically viable, the large amounts of base reagent that were required to raise the pH, and the associated high operating costs, rendered the process uneconomic. An optimization study was therefore carried out with the primary objective to determine the ideal acid amount to be utilized in the water-starved digestion stage, thereby decreasing acid and base consumption while optimizing the quality of the pregnant leach solution, and producing a leach residue that contained <1% Mn. The outcome was an economically viable process. Additional benefits included an increase in the manganese content of the impure manganese carbonate furnace feed material, and a substantial reduction in the dilution of the pregnant leach solution, thereby maintaining high manganese concentrations that rendered the solution viable for electrowinning of electrolytic manganese dioxide, the production of which yielded a current efficiency of 74%. <![CDATA[<b>Wear of magnesia-chrome refractory bricks as a function of matte temperature</b>]]> The postulation that primary platinum group metal (PGM) matte will chemically react with magnesia-chrome bricks when temperatures exceed 1500°C was tested. Magnesia-chrome brick samples were heated in contact with matte at 1300°C to 1750°C for 30 minutes, after which the refractory samples were analysed using reflected light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The samples were all completely penetrated by matte. As the temperature increased the matte also penetrated the fused aggregate grains and disintegrated them. The chromium concentration of the matte inside the refractory samples was found to be slightly higher than that of the bulk matte. At temperatures of 1500°C and higher, MgO, FeO, and magnesium-rich silicate crystals could be identified in the matte directly adjacent to the refractorymatte interface. Phase relations clearly indicated that chemical reactions take place between primary PGM matte and the magnesia-chrome refractory material at temperatures above 1500°C, but that these reactions are more complex than expected from FactSAGE® calculations. <![CDATA[<b>Comparing the extent of the dissolution of copper-cobalt ores from the DRC Region</b>]]> Inorganic acids such as sulphuric acid have found use together with certain reducing agents in leaching of copper-cobalt oxide ores. These reagents are not ideal due to the adverse effect the inorganic acids generally have on the environment and the high costs of the reducing agents. In this study a copper-cobalt oxide ore from the Central African Copperbelt was leached in two different environments; sulphuric acid in conjunction with hydrogen peroxide as a reducing agent and tartaric acid. The effects of acid concentration, reducing agent concentration, and temperature were independently determined for both leaching environments. The sulphuric acid concentration was varied between 0.4 M and 1.2 M and the concentration of hydrogen peroxide between 4.0 M and 6.5 M, while the tartaric acid concentration was varied between 0.15 M and 0.35 M. The temperature was varied between 20°C and 50°C. The results showed that the extraction of both copper and cobalt increased with sulphuric acid concentration, reaching a peak at approximately 0.8 M and then decreasing at higher acid concentrations. A similar increase and decrease in metal extraction was observed when the reducing agent was increased. In leaching with tartaric acid, the extraction of cobalt was much higher than that of copper, although extraction of both metals increased with acid concentration. Additions of small amounts of hydrogen peroxide were found to increase cobalt extraction in tartaric acid but had a minimal effect on copper. An increase in the solution temperature had a significant effect in the organic acid environment, with the effect on cobalt extraction being much more pronounced than on copper.