The history of the Waterberg Deposit; why South Africa's first platinum mine failed

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doi: 10.1179/037174505X62884
Authors:McDonald, Iain; Tredoux, Marian
Author Affiliations:Primary:
Cardiff University, School of Earth, Ocean and Planetry Sciences, Cardiff, United Kingdom
University of Cape Town, South Africa
Volume Title:Mineralization in the northern Bushveld Complex, South Africa
Volume Authors:McDonald, Iain, editor
Source:Mineralization in the northern Bushveld Complex, South Africa, edited by Iain McDonald. Transactions - Institution of Mining and Metallurgy. Section B: Applied Earth Science, 114(4), p.264-272. Publisher: Institution of Mining and Metallurgy, London, United Kingdom. ISSN: 0371-7453
Publication Date:2005
Note:In English. 39 refs.; illus., incl. geol. sketch map
Summary:The beginning of the South African platinum industry can be traced to the discovery of the Waterberg deposit in mid-1923 by the prospector Adolph Erasmus. The company that was floated to exploit the deposit, Transvaal Platinum Limited, built South Africa's first platinum mine but the mine closed after producing platinum for only a few months in 1926. The Waterberg deposit and its mining history have been largely forgotten as more successful mines were developed. This paper documents the history of Transvaal Platinum Limited and the manner in which it developed and mined the Waterberg deposit in order to explore the factors ultimately involved in the failure of the mine. The dramatic collapse of South Africa's first platinum venture was caused by a combination of the following: (i) poor grade control and gross overestimation of the real ore grade; (ii) failure to test adequately both the grade and metallurgical behaviour of the platinum before commissioning an expensive treatment plant; and (iii) the waste of time and resources incurred in developing an area of the mine whose ore could not be treated using the available plant.
Sections:Economic minerals and ore deposits
Subsections:Metallic deposits: specific
Subjects:Controls; Cost; History; Igneous rocks; Intrusions; Layered intrusions; Metal ores; Metallurgy; Mineral deposits, genesis; Mineral economics; Mineral exploration; Mines; Mining; Ore grade; Planning; Platinum ores; Precambrian; Tonnage; Transvaal Supergroup; Waterberg System; Africa; Bushveld Complex; South Africa; Southern Africa; Waterberg Deposit
Coordinates:S243000 S242500 E0290000 E0285000
Abstract Numbers:06M/435
Record ID:2006037461
Copyright Information:GeoRef, Copyright 2019 American Geosciences Institute.
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