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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Thorium & Rare Earths

Date 08 February 2010
- 10 February 2010
Location The Table Bay Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa
We are no longer accepting registration for this event

Rare Earths have unique properties that make them indispensable for many technological applications.

A range of unique chemical, catalytic, electrical, magnetic, metallurgical and optical properties enable them to play a major role in the advancement of materials technology.

Rare earths are used in the automotive, electronics, environmental protection and petrochemical sectors. In fact no manufacturer can produce a catalytic converter, a miniature electric motor, a high-density magnet, a nickel metal hydride battery or a hybrid vehicle without rare earth materials.

Thorium has long been considered as a reactor fuel—and for good reason: this naturally occurring element is far more abundant, more efficient, and safer to use than uranium, plus, Thorium reactors leave behind very little plutonium, meaning that governments have as much as 80% reduced availability to weapons-grade plutonium for the making of nuclear weapons.

Advantages of Thorium over conventional uranium fuel: enhanced proliferation resistance and reduced spent fuel volumes.

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

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

South Africa has vast resources of Rare Earths and Thorium in beach sands and hard rock deposits.


Thank you to the following sponsors for their support:




Sponsorship / Exhibition Opportunities

Exhibition / Sponsorship

Sponsorship opportunities are available.

Companies wishing to sponsor or exhibit should contact the Conference Coordinator.

Registration Fees


Registration Fee

Members/ Authors

R  9 300

Non Members

R 10 200

Students / Retired Members

R 2 700

Please note:
Non-members are entitled to free membership of the SAIMM, up to 30 June 2010, for attending this event

Registration Fees:
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

Post Graduate students qualifies for an 20% discount on conference fee

Call for Papers
Prospective authors are invited to submit titles and abstracts of their papers, in English, and to indicate the topic under which the paper should be categorised.

The abstracts should be no longer than 500 words and should be submitted to the Conference Co-ordinator

Conference Co-ordinator,
SAIMM, P O Box 61127

Tel: (011) 834-1273/7
Fax: (011) 833-8156 or (011) 838-5923

Co-ordinator Email:
Event Website:

Who should attend

The conference should be of interest to the following:

· Geologists
· Scientists
· Investors, etc


Papers are invited that integrate the following topics:

· Geology mining and mineral economics
· Processing and refining
· Market: Current, developing and future
· Sustainability and low carbon world economy

Commitee Members

Willem van der Merwe (Chairman)
Christelle Baker
Paul Fouche
Eben Mulder
Rodney Jones
R Louw


Conference Co-ordinator,
SAIMM, P O Box 61127

Tel: (011) 834-1273/7
Fax: (011) 833-8156 or (011) 838-5923

Co-ordinator Email:
Event Website:

Preliminary Programme


Monday 8 February 2010

Session 1—General
SESSION CHAIRMAN: W. van der Merwe


07:30–08:30                         Registration and early morning refreshments

08:30–08:45                         Chairman’s welcome and opening

08:45–08:55                         Opening address
J.C. Ngoma, President, SAIMM

 08:55–09:35                        Keynote address: New recent applications of the rare earths in various fields
Prof. G. Paolucci

09:35–10:05                         Keynote address: The Steenkampskraal monazite deposit in the Western Cape:
Affinities to the copper deposits near Springbok, Namaqualand, South Africa
Dr M.A.G. Andreoli, Necsa - University of the Witwatersrand


Session 2—Mining and minerals

10:05–10:30                         Thorium and rare earths in the Pilansberg alkaline complex
J. Lurie, Technikon Wits

10:30–10:55                         Monazite production from the heavy mineral deposits of Northern KZN
J. Selby, RBM

10:55–11:20                         U, Th and REE distribution in the Namakwa Sands heavy mineral deposit, West Coast of South Africa
C. Philander

11:20–11:50                         Mid-morning refreshments

11:50–12:15                         The Steenkampskraal story
T. Blench, Rareco

12:15–12:40                         Keynote Address: The sources and resources of Thorium; the rebirth of a nuclear technology
J. Lifton, Jack Lifton LLC

12:40–13:05                         Rare earth elements associated with the Riviera deposit, Western Cape, South Africa
A. Rozendaal

13:05–14:00                         Lunch


Session: 3—Mining and minerals


13:40–14:05                         Variation in Monazite's separation characteristics
J. Grobler, Exxaro

 14:05–14:30                         The mineralogy and REE distribution of the Hoidas Lake Rare Earth deposit in
Saskatchewan, Canada
G. Billingsley, Great Western Minerals Group Ltd 

14:30–14:40                         Chairman’s closing remarks 

14:40                                      Afternoon refreshments 

15:00                                      End of conference day 1 

18:00                                      Dinner at The Paulander (Bavarian beer fest)


Tuesday 9 February 2010

Session 4: Mineral processing and applications

07:30–08:30                         Registration and early morning refreshments

08:30–09:10                         Keynote address: Nuclear a sustainable energy solution
Prof. E. Mulder, North West University

09:10–09:50                         Keynote address: The advanced metals initiative—The beneficiation of zirconium, hafnium, 
                                             tantalum and niobium compounds
Dr J.T. Nel, NECSA

09:50–10:15                        A review of actinoid and lanthanoid chemistry as applied to leaching and recovery processes
D. Groot, University of Pretoria

10:15–10:40                        Silver transport mechanism
Prof. J. Neethling, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

10:40–11:10                         Mid-morning refreshments


Session 5: Mineral processing and applications continues

11:10–11:35                         Minteks solvent extraction experience on rare earth separations
R. du Preez, Mintek

11:35–12:15                         Keynote address: Opportunities for South Africa in the nuclear fuel cycle
Dr Van Zyl de Villiers, NECSA

12:15–12:55                         Ammonium acid fluoride as fluorinating agent in the South African minerals processing 
                                             industry  - Zircon beneficiation
W. du Plessis, P.L. Crouse, and J.T. Nel, NECSA and University of Pretoria

12:55–14:00                         Lunch

Session 6: Mineral processing and applications continues

14:00–14:25                         Estimating the future requirement for Neodymium (Nd) for the wind electricity generation
H. Boer, Thuthuka Group Limited

14:25–14:50                         Neomagnet markets—an attractive proposition?
V. Agnello, Snowden Mining Industry Consultants

14:50–15:15                         The role of rare earth elements in the low carbon economy
R. Louw, Promethium

15:15–15:45                         Afternoon refreshments

Session 7: Mineral processing and applications continues

15:45–16:10                         Advanced thorium fuel cycle: results from multi-physics, multi scale modelling
Prof. E. Mulder and D.E. Serfontein, North West University

 16:10–16:35                         Purification of Zirconium, metal to nuclear grade purity by vacuum sublimation
W.G. Augustyn*, J.B. Wagener*, J.T. Nel*, D. Hudson-Lamb*, R.I. McCrindle†, *NECSA
                                              and †Tshwane University of Technology

16:35–16:45                         Chairman’s closing remarks

16:45                                      End of Conference


Wednesday 10 February 2010

Technical Visits Day


Technical Visits

Delegates may select to attend one of the following site visits, dependent on the host capacity and subscription to the option:



  • S Clague
  • R Du Preez
  • W Focke
  • J Grobler
  • H Lingenfelder
  • L Lourens
  • R Louw
  • E Mulder 
  • M Plaskitt
  • K Theron
  • N Vegter
  • E Venter


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