New White Paper – From Paragenesis to Processing

New White Paper – From Paragenesis to Processing

Our first white paper looking at the implications for mineral processing from geological reconstructions is out. The abstract is below with a link to the full pdf here. The paper also features in the excellent Minassist blog series.



Brough, C (Petrolab), Becker, M (UCT), Reid, D (UCT) & Bradshaw, D (JKMRC).


This case study briefly highlights the potential to derive, in an approximate sense, likely processing behaviour from geological reconstructions. In turn, this information can feed into geometallurgical planning allowing the early stage recognition of potential processing flowpaths that can be used to optimise recovery.  The case study is pulled together from analysis undertaken on the Merensky reef at Northam Platinum Ltd in South Africa.

The Merensky Reef at Northam Platinum shows a complex range of reef developments with several distinct reef types that are processed through the run-of-mine. These differences can be related to the paragenetic history of the deposit with the differing mineralogy related to the changing footwall mineralogy at the time of the hanging wall deposition. This case study looks at three of those reef types (the Normal Reef, the transitional Pothole reef and the full Pothole reef) which contain distinct differences in their mineralogical deportment.

The differing mineralogy of the footwall at the time of hanging wall deposition resulted in differences in modal mineralogy, the amount of floatable gangue and the sulphide textural development. These differences in turn led to predictable differences in milling times, mineral liberation and sulphide flotation performance. As the Merensky reef is a platinum-group element (PGE) ore with the majority of the platinum-group minerals contained within sulphides, these differences are crucial.

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