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Geology dept emphasises continued use of services in tough market

NEW AQUISITION
The mineralogy department of Mintek recently acquired a Bruker D8 Advance X-ray diffraction instrument

NEW AQUISITION The mineralogy department of Mintek recently acquired a Bruker D8 Advance X-ray diffraction instrument

27th November 2015

By: Donna Slater

Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

  

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The consistent and continual grading of orebodies can help guarantee a mine’s sustainability in a sector that is facing low commodity prices, says State-owned council for mineral technology Mintek mineralogy manager Nosiphiwo Nyamane.

Mintek can significantly assist mining companies to ensure that they are following viable ore streams. As such, Nyamane says it is highly beneficial for mining clients to increasingly use the council’s mineralogy division, which handles the geology aspect of the business.

“Our mineralogy division can be used to better understand ore and its grade to improve the profitability and efficient mining of an orebody,” she adds.

Further, a greater understanding of specific orebodies can also be used to obtain enhanced plant efficiencies during beneficiation, as the plant can be adjusted to operate in line with the quality of a specific ore.

Nyamane notes the current mining industry slump, brought on by low commodity prices, is leading to many mining companies investigating ways of improving efficiency in the bulk of their operations to save costs.

However, she tells Mining Weekly that the impact of the industry downturn has not yet filtered through to Mintek’s mineralogy division. This might be because platinum mines have been bringing new streams of platinum into the industry since the five-month-long platinum industry strike in 2014, Nyamane adds.

Further, she says the graphite industry is ramping up production, which has assisted in blunting the impact of other weak commodity prices and demand.

However, Nyamane notes that there are challenges emerging with regard to the iron-ore sector, advising that Mintek is receiving lower sample volumes for this commodity. “A lot of iron-ore projects have been cancelled, primarily owing to clients cutting back on capital expenditure. Platinum and gold, however, are remaining steady.”

Nyamane says in the current market – where projects and work are sometimes difficult to secure – it is key to diversify the types of work undertaken to widen a company’s revenue stream and, as such, ensure that personnel are multiskilled.

“This will ensure that when the market comes out of the recession, our personnel will be appropriately skilled and experienced enough to undertake the resultant volume of work.

“Using the extra time available, owing to current industry challenges, Mintek is embarking on empowering its personnel through further studying and courses.”

The mineralogy division is interested in acquiring a new probe and, as a result of the trend of three-dimensional mineralogy analysis, is investing in a tomography instrument.

“The procurement of these two items of equipment will be facilitated in the next financial year,” Nyamane adds.

Edited by Tracy Hancock
Creamer Media Contributing Editor

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