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

Physical beneficiation

“Old Soldiers Never Die They Only Fade Away” Song of 1914–18 war.

I was particularly delighted to work through the papers in this issue, for two reasons.

Firstly, a high proportion of the papers are the work of two of the most prestigious research capabilities in South Africa, namely those of Anglo American and De Beers, with headquarters in what might be described as the Crown Mines research park.

Mine Safety with Heritage Security

“Tug on anything in nature and you will find It connected to everything else”

John MuirIn this issue there is much for the pragmatist and a great deal for the philosopher. With this Journal Comment, I start my 62nd year of association with mining and metallurgy. The quotation reflects my experience. I have rubbed shoulders with every element in the periodic table, from hydrogen, via the platinum group metals to uranium; from pragmatism to philosophies on job creation. And so it is in this issue.

New Year Options

“There is a tide in the affairs of men Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries……” William Shakespeare (Julius Caesar)

There is once again a selection of papers for a variety of specialists. The two papers on statistics of sampling are far too erudite to allow comment from me. I mention them in deference to the many students and statisticians who enjoyed the pioneering work of the internationally honoured Danie Krige, a platinum medallist of the SAIMM.

National Planning Strategies

‘If you are planning for one year, grow rice. If you are planning for 20 years grow trees. If you are planning for centuries, grow men’ - Chinese Proverb.

There is no pre-designated theme for the contributions in this issue. Apart from one review paper, they are research contributions from a range of specialists, and it is impossible to comment in detail on all of them.

PyroMetallurgy Conference

“History must be written of, by and for the survivors, Anonymous

There is a wealth of interesting reading in this issue with papers taken from the recent PyroMetallurgy Conference. It is possibly one of the most pleasing editions we have published with items from our University departments of mining and metallurgy, and our research institutions of highly significant and scientific research stature. Also it focuses on topics representing great future wealth potential.

Health and Safety in Mining

‘Good prose is the selection of the best words……’ Poetry is the best words in the best order; And journalese (legalese) is any old words in any old order’ In a letter (1987) to the Times of London.

There is much food for thought in the papers in this issue, which were selected from a workshop that was held last year on the Health and Safety Acts in South Africa. Three of the papers by W. Le Roux are in the form of a digest and commentary, specifically as valuable guidelines for those in the industry.

International Interaction

‘Give us the tools and we will finish the job’, Winston Churchill, 1941

The highest priority in South Africa is job creation, and this also applies to most of Africa. On a time scale that is critical, this can come about only through international investment and assistance.

Facts and footsteps forward

“Science is built of facts, as a house is built of stones; But an accumulation of facts is no more a science Than a heap of stones is a house Henri Poincaré 1854–1912

Once again, the Journal presents a miscellaneous group of papers, rather than a collection from a colloquium or conference. All of them represent facts and footsteps forward in areas of importance in Mining and Metallurgy, rather than the final chapters in a new plant or mining enterprise

Restoration and rocket science

‘Every revolution evaporates, Leaving behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy’ Franz Kafka 1883–1924
There is no common theme such as a topic of a conference in this issue, but rather a collection of papers from different countries and different subjects.

Student Projects

The alchemists of past centuries tried hard to make the elixir of life: ...Those efforts were in vain; it is not in our power to obtain the experiences and the views of the future by prolonging our lives forward in this direction. However, it is well possible in a certain sense to prolong our lives backwards by acquiring the experiences of those who existed before us and by learning to know their views as well as if we were their contemporaries. The means for doing this is also an elixir of life. Hermann Franz Moritz Kopp.

The papers in this issue are a selection of the best presentations at a colloquium of undergraduate student projects held between the mining and metallurgical orientated faculties in Pretoria and Johannesburg, together with students from the Tshwane and Vaal Universities of Technology.