Platinum Metals Rev., 1980, 24, (3), 101
Spotlight on the Platinum Metals
Continuing its series of major features on the non-ferrous metals, the Metals Society has compiled two lengthy and instructive articles on the platinum group metals and their unique role in modern industry. Part I, by R. J. Dowsing, the Associate Editor, was published in the May issue of Metals and Materials and reviews the history of the six metals and their isolation and then details their properties and characteristics. There follows a full review of current practice at Rustenburg Platinum Mines, where the immense deposits of the Merensky Reef are exploited. A flow chart illustrates the treatment of the ore, from initial crushing, ball milling and flotation on to electric smelting, from where the matte is enriched by oxygen blowing in converters, ground and then subjected to magnetic separation, followed by pressure leaching to yield a concentrate.
In Part II of the article, to appear in the July issue of Metals and Materials, the complex and lengthy refining processes needed to separate and purify the six metals—platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, osmium and ruthenium—in the Johnson Matthey refineries are described, followed by an account of the many industrial uses of the platinum metals and by a discussion of trends in supply and demand.