Platinum 2012

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Fifth International Platinum Conference

'Platinum 2012'

Sun City, South Africa, 17-21 September 2012

The Fifth International Platinum Conference follows on from the first four such events held two years apart.

Platinum 2012

A catalyst is a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change, or a person or thing that precipitates an event or causes a change.

PGMs, and particularly platinum, are well known for their chemical catalytic behaviour, their role in minimising harmful motor vehicle exhaust gases, and their ability to increase the effectiveness of fuel cells to create a greener world. Less well known is the catalytic effect that the platinum industry has had in transforming South Africa and promoting change.

Central to the social transformation of the South African mining industry has been the Mining Charter, with many platinum mining companies meeting or exceeding requirements and so setting new benchmarks. However, the platinum mining industry has also led the way in safety performance improvement across the mining industry, with significant reductions in injuries and deaths in recent years.

Similarly, many of the recent technological innovations that will shape the mining industry of the future have been developed and tested in the platinum industry. This is Platinum as a Catalyst for Change.

The 2012 conference 'Platinum - A Catalyst for Change' is the fifth time that this international event has been convened since 2004, and through it the SAIMM is looking to further promote change. The 2012 conference is more inclusive, with a comprehensive approach encompassing all aspects of the industry. Through facilitating learning and knowledge in this evolving environment, we must continue to build a strong, viable platinum industry that will benefit all stakeholders for decades to come.

This prestigious event attracts more than 400 key role players through:

  • Stimulating discussion
  • Facilitating industry networking
  • Large, knowledgeable audiences
  • Comprehensive industry support from all role players

Papers are invited that integrate the following topics:

  • Community and social impact
  • Risk management and safety initiatives
  • Environment and sustainability
  • Impact of increasing cost of utilities
  • Exploration and ore body delineation
  • Project valuation and funding
  • Current and future mine design and layout
  • Current and future mining operations
  • Mineral processing, smelting, and refining
  • New technologies for mining and processing
  • Mining Charter and legislation
  • Platinum marketing, uses, and applications
  • Research and development
Technical visits are planned for Friday 21 September, with the technical sessions being held from Tuesday 18 through Thursday 20 September 2012. The weekends before and after the conference are available for delegates to enjoy some social activities (on the Sun City golf course, for example).

Of significance to South African participants who are registered professional engineers, is the fact that this conference will provide 3 points (4 points if you do one of the technical visits as well) towards the Continuing Professional Development that is required (as of 1 January 2006) to maintain registration with the Engineering Council of South Africa.

Prospective authors are invited to submit titles and abstracts of their papers, in English. The abstracts should be no longer than 500 words and should be submitted to by 2 March 2012. Proivisional acceptance of abstracts will be done by 27 March 2012, and papers are due by 29 May 2012.

All accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings. Selected papers will be published in the Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.

Technical Visits
The following technical visits are planned for 21 September 2012. Please note that all tours are subject to a maximum of twenty and a minimum number of ten participants. Should this number not be achieved, the organisers reserve the right to cancel the tour. The cost is R850 per person (including transportation).

1. Lonmin Platinum - BMR Visit
The BMR treats converter matte from Smelter. The main base metals, nickel and copper, as well as some iron, cobalt, selenium, and tellurium are removed by using Sheritt Gordon technology. A PGM-rich concentrate of about 65% grade is produced and sent to the precious metals refinery. The important value minerals are PGMs; however, the base metals, Ni & Cu, are the major components of the matte feed.

Visit details:
- Induction video (20 min)
- Presentation of the BMR process (20 min)
- Plant Walk through (30 min)
- Lunch? (if required)

2. Wesizwe Platinum Mine - Surface Visit
Wesizwe Platinum's Bakubung Project is located on the Western Bushveld Complex, about 30 km from the Rustenburg town near Sun City. The project feasibility study was completed in 2008 but due to lack of capital funding there was a 3-year delay to start of development. Wesizwe officially launched the project in July 2011 after a successful funding transaction with a Chinese consortium. The mine design is a deep level PGM mine with the average depth of the reef at (600-800 m) below surface. The access method will be via an independent twin vertical shaft system to depths of 930 m and 1000 m below surface respectively. The mine production rate will be 230 000 tons per month, made up of 180 000 tpm from the Merensky Reef and 50 000 tpm from the UG2. The mine complex will also include a process plant with a nameplate capacity of 240 000 tpm. The work that has been done to date is mainly site establishment in preparation for start of Pre-Sink comprising: Fencing and access routes around the property, Pollution control dams, Box Cuts and collar foundations on both shafts, Winder house foundations, Kibble and stage winders foundations, Eskom substation, High tension cable ducting, Temporary site offices for the project team and contractors, Transformer station, commissioning of temporary services (power and water). Wesizwe has appointed Aveng-GLTA to do the shaft sinking, and the scope will cost R1.64 bn (real money terms) and will take 64 months to shaft commissioning. We are also busy discussing a full scope EPCM contract with TWP who are completing a 12 months scope that was awarded last year. The visiting team will be given a short project presentation and a SHE induction followed by a site visit of the surface works to get close views of the shaft foundations, winder house, and pollution control dams.

Further details and registration information can be found on the SAIMM website at

Copyright © 2006-2012, Rodney Jones,, Randburg, South Africa (Last updated on 25 August 2012)