Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
DU PISANI, P. et al. The use of borehole radar in detecting disruptions in platiniferous horizons in the Bushveld Complex, South Africa - the financial implication. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2009, vol.109, n.1, pp. 1-4. ISSN 2411-9717.
Robust borehole radar tools were developed for application in South Africa's gold mines in the late 1990s. These tools are needed to operate under extreme underground mining conditions characterized by high temperature, high humidity and corrosiveness. Once borehole radar was proved as a delineation tool for the flat tabular gold reefs, the technology was tested on similarly orientated platinum reefs. Due to the extremely favourable dielectric contrast of these platinum orebodies with their host rocks, borehole radar has been successful in identifying small-scale disruptions in these reefs that may affect mining them. Slim-line borehole radar tools are deployed in boreholes drilled parallel to sub-parallel to the platinum reefs to delineate disruptive structures such as dykes, faults, slumps (called potholes) and iron-rich ultramafic pegmatites (IRUPs), which change the normal reef composition. Advance knowledge of how the reef is displaced affects how the orebody is mined. Mine planning can be adapted to mine the ore body more economically and potential hazardous situations can be negated. This paper presents examples of where borehole radar was used to delineate disruptions to the reef plane in two platinum mines. It is shown that applying borehole radar prior to mining has a significant financial benefit. Finally, development directions for future borehole radar technology are recommended.