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Thorium & Rare Earths 2012

Date 21 February 2012
- 23 February 2012
We are no longer accepting registration for this event


Energy security in a post fossil fuel era

21-22 February 2012
Cape Town International Convention Centre

Fossil fuels have been the basis of global industrialization and unprecedented human wealth and welfare. However, in the context of rising global prices for-and conflict over-oil, gas and coal, as well as near-unanimous global acknowledgement for the fact that the burning of fossil fuels are the main cause of dangerous climate change, the incentive for findingviable energy alternatives is compelling.

In light of the considerable risks posed to world prosperity, both energy security and climate change are issues that require urgent, unequivocal and wide-ranging actions by governments, business and civil society.

The efforts of the international community, through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the G20 and other international bodies seek to catalyse a global transition to a low-carbon economy.

At its core, this transition will require switching from fossil fuel-based energy generation to a combination of renewable and nuclear energy.

Nuclear energy provides a cost-effective option for baseload power. Innovation in this field offers the promise of ever-improving sustainability-reduced costs, safer operation and less waste.

Many of the innovations that will drive nuclear energy in the 21st century deal with alternative fuels. The use of thorium in power reactors has been considered since the origins of nuclear energy, in the first half of the previous century, in large part because thorium is considerably more abundant than uranium in the Earthʼs crust.

Since the establishment of the Atoms for Peace Programme in the 1950s, thorium has been earmarked for its potential as supplement for the globeʼs limited uranium reserves. Extensive research dedicated to thorium-based fuel cycles resulted in developments of importance, including the prototype high-temperature reactors.

The high-temperature thorium-fuelled reactor is a distinctive example of a gas-cooled reactor. As far back as a quarter of a century ago, the first of its type was proven a successful concept in Germany.

South Africa has vast resources of thorium in beach sands and hard rock deposits. Aside from its abundance, thorium has the advantage of generating 10% of the waste generated by conventional uranium-based reactors. 


We would like to thank the following sponsors for their invaluable contribution:

    United Spectrometer                                                       

Sponsorship Opportunities

The following sponsorship opportunities are available:

1) Premium Exhibitor    R35  000
2) Banner Exhibitor      R20 000
3) Cocktail Sponsor     R20 000
4) Conference Bags    R20 000
5) Pens & Pads            R15 000
6) Authors Gift            R15 000
7) Lanyards                R15 000
8) Technical Visit        R15 000

*Sponsorship opportunity form may be downloaded from download section

Companies wishing to sponsor or exhibit should contact the Conference Coordinator
Jacqui van der Westhuizen
Conference Co-ordinator
SAIMM, P O Box 61127
Tel: (011) 834-1273/7
Fax: (011) 833-8156 or (011) 838-5923
Co-ordinator Email:


The conference will provide an international forum for the rare earth and thorium processing industries to exchange information about current processing technologies for current, as well as about emerging technologies for thorium.

The conference scope includes geology, mining, processing fundamentals, operational practices, and environmental issues.

Organising Committee 

Conference Committee Chairman    
Willem van der Merwe

Christelle Baker
Peet du Plooy
Robbie Louw
Eben Mulder
Johannes Nel
Jacobus Swanepoel

Who should attend
The conference should be of interest to the following:

Investors, etc.

Papers are invited that integrate the following topics:

Opportunities of Thorium
Threats and barriers
Economic impact
Global resources, geology and mining
Fuel production processing and reprocessing
Reactor design
Waste treatment
Generation technology, heat applications 

Call for papers

The Conference is being organised by The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, and papers are invited for the Conference.

Prospective authors are invited to submit titles and abstracts of their papers, in English. The abstracts should be no longer than 500 words and should be submitted to:

Jacqui van der Westhuizen
Conference Co-ordinator,
SAIMM, PO Box 61127,
Marshalltown 2107
South Africa.
Tel: (011) 834-1273/7
Fax: (011) 833-8156 or (011) 838-5923
Co-ordinator Email:

Preliminary Programme

Tuesday: 21nd February 2012

08:00-09:00           Registration and Early Morning Refreshments

09:00-09:10           SAIMM Presidential Address
                               Professor Nielen van der Merwe, President, SAIMM

09:10-09:15            Welcome by the Chairman: Thorium & Rare Earths Conference
                                W. van der Merwe, Exxaro, South Africa

09:15-09:45            Thorium and the new economy
                                C. van der Merwe, Exxaro, South Africa

09:45-10:30           Keynote Address: Thorium will open-up nuclear power to all countries
                               K. Kemm, Stratek, South Africa

10:30-10:45           Morning Tea Break

10:45-11:15           Energy supply in a post Fossil Fuel era
                               R. Louw, Promethium, South Africa

11:15-11:45          Next generation nuclear energy systems
                              V Zyl de Villiers, Necsa, South Africa

11:45-12:15         Thorium will open-up nuclear power to all countries
                             E. Mulder, North West University, South Africa

12:15-13:15         Lunch

13:15-13:45         Thorium and Rare Earths-the Link
                             W. van der Merwe, Exxaro, South Africa

13:45-14:15         Feasibility of Producing Rare Earths from Southern Africa Monazites
                             J.H. Selby, Retired, South Africa

14:15-14:45        Thorium based fuel for high temperature reactors application
                            J. Swanepoel, Hatch, South Africa

14:45-15:00        Afternoon Tea

15:00-17:00        Round table discussion: The Boardroom-Invited parties only (other delegates at leisure)

17:00 -19:00       Informal discussion and networking opportunity

19:00                   Cape Malay Dinner: Ballroom West

Wednesday 22nd February 2012

08:30-09:00        Registration and Early Morning Refreshments

09:00-09:30         Improving of safety with Thorium
                            J. Slabbert, South Africa

09:30-10:15        Techno-economic overview of different thorium based nuclear reactor design options
                            D.E. Serfontein, North West University, South Africa

10:15-10:30        Morning Tea Break

10:30-11:00        The road to carbon neutrality can be paved with thorium
                            S. Indhul, Exxaro, South Africa

11:00-11:15        Closing Remarks

12:00-13:00        Lunch

Technical Visit

iThemba LABS: A world of HOPE through accelerator-based science

iThemba Laboratory for Accelerator Based Sciences is a National Research Facility administered by the National Research Foundation. Located at two sites in Cape Town and Gauteng, the facility is committed to unleash African potential through knowledge creation, innovation and human capacity building. Particle beams available at the facility in Cape Town is used to:

• advance our fundamental understanding of the structure and reaction mechanisms governing interactions with target nuclei;
• offer proton and neutron particle radiotherapy;
• produce radionuclides for medical and industrial applications;
• provide analysis techniques for applications in materials research.

Advancing knowledge. Transforming lives

For more information:

Key Dates & Publication

30 September 2011                 Submission of abstracts (Deadline Expired)
14 October 2011                     Acceptance of abstracts (Deadline Expired)
25 October 2011                     Submission of final paper (Deadline Expired)
21-22 February 2012             Conference

Please note:
All accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings. Selected papers will be published in the Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.

Registration Fees

Registration Fees:  
Registration Fee - Conference Delegates   R 3 500-00
Registration Fee - Students R 1 300-00

Please note:
Non-members are entitled to free membership of the SAIMM, up to 30 June 2012, for attending this event

Registration Fees:
Please Note:
Registration fee does not include accommodation
Prepayment is required for all Registration Fees on or before the date of the event.
Delegates who have not paid will not be permitted to attend the event