Journal Archive

Platinum Metals Rev., 1957, 1, (3), 94

Further Expansion in Platinum Production


To meet the high current demand for platinum, and the estimated further demand, chiefly arising from increasing industrial uses, it has been decided to embark upon a further scheme of expansion at Rustenburg Platinum Mines beyond that already undertaken during 1956. A programme to cost approximately £1,800,000 has therefore been put in hand which, on completion, will give a combined milling rate at the two sections of 2,500,000 tons a year. This will provide an output of platinum some 80 per cent greater than the rate for 1955—and almost eight times as great as that obtained from Rustenburg ten years ago.

The whole of the additional tonnage will be obtained from the Rustenburg section, where a second reduction plant is being erected.

This is to be sited some distance from the existing plant with a view to balancing operations between the eastern and western sections of the mine, so minimising the amount of transport required to handle the ore mined over the eight miles which comprise the strike length of the present mining area.

Milling is expected to reach the full designed rate during the second half of this year, and some additional platinum arising from this programme should be available to industry from the beginning of next year.

Underground haulage of the platiniferous ore is by electric locomotive and trains of four-ton trucks

After initial crushing the ore is transported by conveyor belt up to the sorting station in the reduction plant

In view of this increased scale of operation, the necessary steps have also been taken to increase still further the mining areas available to the company.

These new photographs show something of the methods and equipment employed at Rustenburg, now one of the largest mines in South Africa and the world’s largest individual producer of the platinum metals.

Banks of cells in the flotation plant. The platiniferous concentrates are floated off in the white froth shown flowing over the lips of the cells

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