Mine hones processing skills

15 August 2005

Hundreds of kilometres away near Aggeneys in the far north of the Northern Cape province, lies Black Mountain Mine (BMM), a temporary home to 20 members of UCT's Mineral Processing Research Unit (MPRU) in July, when they undertook a practical sampling and survey training trip.

Due to the growth and cross-disciplinary nature of the MPRU, there is a need to establish more formal training for postgraduate students and staff, particularly in the areas of comminution and flotation.

The training component developed the team's understanding of the importance and challenges of sampling the various mineral streams, as well as the various sample cutting techniques for these. A survey of the milling and zinc flotation sections was done simultaneously, which was a first for the MPRU.

Their hosts also organised a trip underground, another first for many on the team.

Recently the mine's Andre van der Westhuizen coordinated two sessions of lectures at UCT and, with the assistance of Andrew Newell and Sam Morar, the practical training trip to BMM.

The two lecture sessions provided an introduction and in-depth overview of the mineral processing industry, particularly from a comminution and flotation perspective. This was followed by two days of training, prior to the trip to the mine, focusing on the more practical side of working in this industry, namely sampling methods and techniques, mass balancing and safety.

The objective of the plant trip was to put the theory into practice and perform a survey around the milling and a flotation circuit. The team split into groups and each was assigned sample points where they were able to put their training to the test. This proved to be an invaluable experience for team-building and problem solving.

Another first for the group was getting lost in Pella, when the group had a short but enjoyable excursion to the Orange River, which all added to the learning experience.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.