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  • South Africa’s ‘Samcodes way’ a world-beater – Mullins

    South Africa’s ‘Samcodes way’ a world-beater – Mullins

    SAMCODES Chairperson Matt Mullins was recently at the Junior Indaba, speaking to Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly.

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  • Open Journal System

    DOAJThe SAIMM has adopted the Open Journal System (OJS) with the objective of optimizing the management of the paper reviewing process for the Journal.

    Paper submissions will no longer be accepted via the SAIMM Journal submission form on the SAIMM website. Only papers that are currently in the system will follow the existing reviewing process.

    You can now submit manuscripts and peer reviews online. The OJS assists you with every step of the reviewing process. Authors can also check the status of their papers online and referees will receive automated reminders for their reviews.

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  • Promoting the SAMCODES Way in Kazakhstan

    minexSAMCODES Standards Committee (SSC) Chair Matt Mullins attended the Minex Central Asia Forum which took place in Astana, Kazakhstan. On Wednesday 18th April 2018 he delivered a presentation on Global Mineral Resource and Valuation Reporting Standards.

    With Kazakhstan being the newest member of the Committee for Mineral Reserves International Reporting Standards (CRIRSCO), Matt discussed the Evolution, Convergence, and Effectiveness of reporting codes both in South Africa and globally. There was particular focus on the current organisation and effectiveness of the SSC.

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From the President's Corner

  • The future of Africa is not so dark

    This month’s Journal edition celebrates the impressive research achievements of some of the 2017 graduates in the mining and metallurgical sector. However, of the eight papers that were selected from the Student Colloquium in October last year, only four were submitted for the reviewing process. Two papers were subsequently accepted for publication and two are being reworked. This is a

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  • Climate change: the impact on the mining sector

    There has recently been a lot of talk about global warming and its impact on weather patterns, i.e. climate change. A keynote address at the recent Infacon conference in Cape Town focused on climate change. Some people believe that this is all a lot of hype. Others (myself included), like the keynote speaker, believe that there is some evidence pointing

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  • Shaping the mining sector through inclusive leadership

    Two weeks ago while having my morning cup of tea, I contemplated, reflected, and marveled at the changes that have occurred in the country and the mining sector in the first six months of my term as the President of the SAIMM. I did not realize then that there was one big change around the corner. They say that a

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From the Journal Comments

  • Where will our future metallurgists come from?

    The 14th Annual SAIMM Student Colloquium 2017 was held at Mintek on 25 October 2017. This is a prestigious annual event where mining and metallurgy students at tertiary institutions can showcase results of their projects to an audience from the greater Southern Africa mining community. The top students are invited to publish their papers in a special issue of the

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  • Platinum — A Changing Industry

    G.L. Smith and R.T. Jones Co-Chairs, Organizing Committee The Seventh International Platinum Conference, entitled ‘Platinum — A Changing Industry’ was held in October 2017 at Polokwane, Limpopo Province in the heart of the northern limb of the Bushveld Complex, the world's biggest platinum-producing region. The event was held in association with the Precious Metals Development Network of the Department of Science

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Market News

  • KSB Pumps for University of Pretoria laboratory

    Professor Josua Meyer, Chairman of the School of Engineering and Head of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering of the University of Pretoria KSB Pumps and Valves has assisted the University of Pretoria in the construction of a large controlled-temperature test unit, which will form the backbone of ongoing research into heat transfer, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics. The impressive unit will allow

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  • Roadmap to interoperability

    How can the mining industry meet the challenges of interoperability? GMSG is building a path forward. Monday, April 9, 2018. Interoperability is a large, intricate, and complex issue that can inhibit technological advances in the international mining industry. Players hold widely different views and interpretations as to scope, content, application, and end state. Indeed, GMSG has identified interoperability as a

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‘Christmas is coming, the goose is really fat.

Please put some lolly in the poor families’ hat’ Parody on a Christmas chant This is the appropriate time to express the hope that all readers have a joyous festive season and to convey my best wishes for the forthcoming year. But it is also the time to pick out some items that relate to features of the industry in 2007. Very pleasingly, there have been a lot of papers on the mining aspect, many of which relate to mine planning, decision making and the selection of mining methods. It is fitting that in this end-of-year issue there are several papers on this topic including the application of ‘fuzzy logic’ to assist in decision making.

Of course the most important considerations in vital decision making are guidelines based on experience, expertise and familiarity with the theoretical aspects of rock mechanics. But it could be of value to be involved in the statistical approach so that in time a database can be built up to reduce the ‘fuzziness’ in the mathematical approach. One of the dominant topics in mining is the focus on mine safety and the concerns that have been expressed at many levels at the fatalities that have hit both gold and platinum mining operations in the last few months. Fatalities in mining are in the same category as road fatalities in that there is only one way to reach a zero target and that is to ban all humans on roads and in mining underground. I hesitate to join the band of armchair experts who pontificate on these tragic events and pronounce on the steps that have to be taken to expose and punish those deemed to be responsible.

But I must confess that I am surprised at the ‘fuzzy’ logic of the Chamber of Mines in joining hands with the National Union of Mineworkers on an across-theboard strike to protest against the recent accidents. All those involved in industry and government have expressed their distress and determination to allocate highest priority to safety aspects. A work stoppage would achieve nothing. What would be far more effective is not a polarization between management and workers but an affirmation of a determination to collaborate in attacking a frustratingly difficult problem. What a wonderful inspiration it would have been for the COM, NUM and the mining companies to join hands in an alternative approach. Rather than incur the losses of a one-day shutdown, they could allocate an equivalent amount of money to a fund to compensate the families and dependants of those killed or disabled. Another paper in this December issue that attracted my attention is that on the cleaner production (CP) assessment of the fine-coal waste material arising from most mines.

Coal was certainly a major topic during 2007, not so much in terms of papers in this Journal but in hitting the headlines in the media and in public opinion. This was the result of the frantic drive on the part of Escom to increase power production to meet the ever increasing demand. In reaching all-time records in exports, local consumption and prices, coal mining has emerged not as the Cinderella of the mining industry compared with gold and platinum but as a respected member of the billionaire club in terms of economic importance. Regretfully there were not only highlights but also lowlights, in the media focus on the degradation of farming areas and the environmental impact on water resources from the ubiquitous acid mine drainage (AMD).

The paper describes work at the University of Cape Town sponsored by the Water Research Commission, in identifying ways of avoiding the production of utilizing the fine-coal wastes, which seem to be inevitable in South African coal mines. It is claimed that there is a production of over 10 million tons a year of such material, and the energy value of these fines is of the same order as the run-of-mine coal (24 megajoules/kg). The assessment protocol focuses on an evaluation of various options to avoid dumping of these fines, for example by coarser grinding, or using the fines for the production of power or alternative fuels such as briquettes for low cost domestic use. Conversion to methane or liquid fuels is also considered as alternative ways of using these waste materials. Feasibility studies based on net present value calculations are then used to select the best clean production technology to be adopted.
However, like so many environmental assessment protocols and reports, there is little experimental evidence, and often this leads to rather superficial conclusions. For example, in this paper, no mention is made of the sulphur content of the fines which I believe is generally higher than in the coarse coal fractions and the fines are discarded to meet specifications. The sulphur is the crucial factor in the production of AMD, which has caused so much comment. Separation of coal and the sulphides such as in pyrite or organic sulphides in the coal, although not impossible, is not a matter of a simple flotation process, as implied in the CP assessment report. From several previous Journal Comments, readers will know that I rate the AMD problem as one of the ‘majors’ in what should be a national research initiative, particularly if coupled with the potential for utilizing the energy value of these coal fines in this time of power shortages. It seems that the DME feel likewise, and it was pleasing to learn that they have sponsored a chair of Clean Coal Technology in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand. So let us look forward to many research papers appearing in our Journal on coal from this group.  R.E. Robinson December 2007