Pre-splitting to Optimize Split Reef Profitability in Platinum Mines

Johannes Stoltz

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis (University Course)


The purpose of this paper is to look at the blasting practices on the UG2 split reef to optimise profitability of platinum mines in the eastern limb. The current losses incurred in PGM’s are very difficult to calculate due to the geometry of the rocks but the areas have been surveyed and the loss in revenue was estimated. With the current blasting pattern it is totally impossible to differentiate the reef from the waste as the fragmentation is the same on reef and waste. There are three main solutions to the problem namely. 1.Reef /waste separation with the blast and cleaning process. 2.Build a dense media separation plant. 3.Change the mining method from low profile to extra low profile or even conventional mining. After the trail blasting was sampled and tested it was proven that the split reef can be success- fully separated. The tests also revealed the reef was less courser than the waste and that it can be separated at the tipping point for storage underground in the old workings. Samples were taken on a 1 meter x 1 meter grid pattern and checked for size and grade. The samples were tested for six elements of platinum group metals. Results clearly illustrated that a great reduc- tion in the grade of the course material was achieved. The blasting pattern was implemented in the sections with split reef and the actual head grade increased and was staying constant throughout the intersection of the split reef. The increase in head grade also increased the overall recoveries in the process plant due to a higher feed grade to the mills.
Translated title of the contributionPre-splitting to Optimize Split Reef Profitability in Platinum Mines
Original languageEnglish
  • Moser, Peter, Supervisor (internal)
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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