The SAIMM is a professional institute with local and international links aimed at assisting members source information about technological developments in the mining, metallurgical and related sectors.
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A monthly publication devoted to scientific transactions and specialist technical topics is unlikely to be on the priority reading list of the majority of the mining and metallurgical community. But it is the ambition of the Publication's Committee to make the Journal of much wider interest to our general membership from technician trainees to mine managers to CEO's of our constituent companies. It is to entice general readership that some 1200 words of valuable space are devoted to the Journal Comment each month. This is intended to highlight some of the features and impact of the papers to excite and activate attention.

To entice this preliminary glance before confining the publication to the book shelf or even the wpb, the author has to call on a large measure of journalistic licence in style, titles and quotations. It is essential to be spicy, controversial and even provocative to separate it from the abbreviated authoritative but necessary scientific style of the bulk of the contents.
The Journal Comment aims to be an enticement to dig into some important feature of the papers in the issue. For this reason it has been decided to include it as a separate item on the Institutes Web Site. This might provoke those who enjoy twittering, blogging and googling to submit comment and criticism, all of which will be welcomed and responded to. At least it is proof that somebody has read it.
R.E. Robinson

Journal Comment - v119n10

In this edition of papers for general interest, you can find twelve contributions from different part of the world – Botswana, Canada, China, France, Iran, Spain, and South Africa. This is a good indication that the SAIMM Journal continues to attract papers from the international community, which is one of the requirements for inclusion on the Department of Higher Education and Training’s (DoHET) list of accredited journals. The DoHET list includes ISI, IBSS, South African journals (DHET), Scopus, SciELO SA, and Norwegian journals; and articles in these journals are eligible for subsidy. Academic institutions in South Africa rely on that subsidy to support their research initiatives. This highlights the importance of publishing articles in the SAIMM Journal in a timeous manner.

In the past, the SAIMM Journal accumulated a considerable backlog of papers of general interest awaiting publication, and such papers used to take up to a year to appear in print. The SAIMM Publications Committee understands the importance of publishing research results as soon as possible, and efforts are being made to address this issue in the most efficient manner.

The twelve papers that have been selected for this edition of the Journal cover topics ranging from a coupling simulation model between a coal mine ventilation network and gob flow field; the use of forensic laser scanning technology in mining incident investigations; prospects for value addition in copper in the emerging Kalahari Copper Belt of Botswana; modelling of generic excavation sequences for bore-and-fill mining; and evaluation of shaft locations in underground mines by means of fuzzy multi-objective optimization. Papers about the dissolution kinetics of tellurium during alkaline sulphide leaching of gold concentrate, CO2 reactivity of briquettes derived from discard inertinite-rich Highveld coal incorporating lignosulphonate and resin as binders, and microcrack formation in vanadium-titanium magnetite using different crushing processes also make for interesting reads.

The Publications Committee hopes you enjoy reading the general papers in this month’s Journal.

B. Genc

The Public Funding of Research

The Journal this month is referred to as the ‘Student Edition’, as the papers are the published output of students registered for university degrees in various minerals-related subjects across Southern Africa.

As one might expect, the topics of the research cover a broad spectrum ranging from mine planning, optimization of mining operations, productivity, safety, mineral processing, environmental treatment of wastewaters, to even the recycling of electronic scrap.

Furnace Tapping 2018

The 2nd Furnace Tapping Conference (Furnace Tapping 2018) was held in Skukuza, the main camp of the world-renowned Kruger National Park, from 14 to 17 October 2018. As with the 1st Furnace Tapping Conference (Furnace Tapping 2014), Furnace Tapping 2018 was well supported and attended by 144 delegates from 17 different countries spanning five continents.

A problem-based event, the Furnace Tapping conference series was established to serve the pyro- metallurgical industry at large, focusing on a very specific challenge: tapping of furnaces. Drawing from various perspectives on the topic, participants represented industry, consultants, service providers, and research institutions. The latter were a welcome addition to the conversation with contributions from Mintek, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, SINTEF, and Carnegie-Mellon University gratefully acknowledged. These institutions all delivered on the call, issued in the Journal Comment for Furnace Tapping 2014, for ‘strong contributions from research institutions (focusing on the application of CFD modelling with associated assumptions, including properties of materials and validation of these models; studies on taphole clay; and studies on refractory interaction with slag/metal/matte specifically under the tap-hole conditions)’.

SAIMM Geometallurgy Conference

With the increasingly challenging techno-economic climate we now operate in, coupled with the rise in the need to mine more heterogeneous and complex orebodies, geome tallurgy represents a collective, multidisciplinary mine-planning approach to both maximizing value and managing the risk emanating from ore variability. The first SAIMM Geometallurgy Conference, held from 7 to 8 August 2018 at the Lagoon Beach Hotel in Cape Town, was attended by close to 90 delegates from 13 different countries spanning several continents and representing industry, consultants, service providers, and academia. This edition of the Journal contains some of the excellent papers that were presented at the Geometallurgy Conference. Each of the papers published here has been through a formal peer review process in line with the requirements of the Journal.

Recognizing the immense contribution of Professor Dick Minnitt

This volume of the Journal recognizes the immense contribution of Professor Dick Minnitt, of the School of Mining Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), where he is one of their four NRF-rated academics and one of only three Professor Emeritus appointments in the School. He spent most of his career at Wits, supervising not only postgraduate (MSc/PhD) candidates and publishing his own research, but also presenting courses in geostatistics and mineral economics for mining investment in his specialized fields of mineral economics and mineral resource evaluation. Over the years he not only materially contributed to, but also supported and maintained a close association with, the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM). Though ‘retired’, he continues to provide valuable insights and inputs for ongoing mineral resource research to both industry and academia.

Diamonds: Source-to-Use, 2018

1journalfeb19This edition of the Journal is dedicated to the Diamonds: Source-to-Use conference held during June 2018 at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Johannesburg. It was attended by 107 delegates, some of whom came from as far away as Botswana, Namibia, Canada, the UK, and Belgium. It was the seventh conference in the series, which targets the full spectrum of the diamond pipeline from exploration through to sales and marketing. 2018 saw a renewed enthusiasm in the diamond mining sector in Southern Africa, even if it was tempered by tough economic conditions and political uncertainties. The theme of the 2018 conference, Thriving in Changing Times, bears testimony to how large and small companies are adapting to these circumstances, addressing risk and applying advanced technologies to well-tested exploration, mining, and processing methods.

Journal Accreditation and Standards

Here is some useful information to get 2019 and our Journal off to a good start. The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) published Research Output Policy (2015) in the Government Gazette (vol. 597 of 11 March 2015, no. 38552), to be implemented from 1 January 2016, which was a revised version of the Policy and Procedures for Measurement of Research Output of Public Higher Education Institutions of 2003.

Go to and enter research output policy in the search box to view the details.

Adding sustainable value to our two natural resources from Mother Earth

BarczaAs we approach the end of another eventful year, it’s good to reflect on where our mining industry and the contributions it makes belongs in the local and global picture.

When often asked during my travels ‘what do you do?’ I normally respond, as do the politicians, by saying ‘before I answer your question may I pose one question to you first that will assist me to respond to yours? Since the above question often arises at a function or dinner, I therefore ask the person with whom I am conversing ‘what is the utensil that I am holding to partake of my sustenance?’ The usual answer is of course a fork or knife, which is the easy part so I follow up by asking ‘what is it made from?’ Somewhat surprisingly to me more than ninety per cent of the respondents don’t know. Most, if not all, of our members know that stainless steel is made from iron, chromium, and nickel – and by the way, it is almost indefinitely recyclable. What is less well known is that it is largely the chromium that imparts the corrosion resistance, while nickel can improve the appearance and iron makes up the bulk.

Copper Cobalt Africa 10–12 July 2018

soleThe second Copper Cobalt Africa conference was held in the Mosi-oa-Tunya (Victoria Falls) National Park, Zambia. Recent strong rises in the prices of copper and particularly of cobalt, coupled with increasing international interest in developments in the African Copperbelt, attracted over 300 delegates, representing 22 countries.

Underground Coal Gasification

S. KauchaliOn behalf of the South African Underground Coal Gasification Association (SAUCGA) I am delighted to present papers in this edition of the SAIMM Journal. The UCG edition showcases work by various researchers, through their respective institutions, highlighting the active and diverse research areas of importance to the SAIMM readership and to South Africa as a whole. The research work also supports the general consensus and drive towards cleaner and more sustainable mining technologies that are required for emerging countries that are endowed with coal resources. Some of the work reproduced here is the result of a number of workshops and important discussions held by SAUCGA members over the last few years. We are sincerely grateful to the SAIMM, the editorial board, and the reviewers for affording us this forum to communicate the pertinent issues relevant to UCG in the South African context.