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Journal Archive

Platinum Metals Rev., 1981, 25, (2), 70

Progress by Rustenburg Platinum Mines

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Rustenburg Platinum Mines has recently reported progress in a number of important areas. Prospecting operations around Potgietersrust, reported here a year ago, are now nearing completion, although it will be some time before metallurgical and feasibility studies are concluded. Expansion at the Amandelbult Section, to provide capacity for a previously announced contract, has been completed, as has the sinking and commissioning of a new shaft at the Rustenburg Section of the mine.

At the Union Section a second electric smelting furnace, shown here, is now fully operational. The rectangular furnace is of the submerged arc type and has six large consumable electrodes. Electric smelting is highly efficient and permits more economical production than the traditional blast furnace. Molten matte, consisting of the platinum metals together with very much larger amounts of iron, copper and nickel sulphides, is periodically tapped from the furnace and fed into the two large refractory-lined steel ladles, each with a capacity of 15 tonnes, for transport by overhead crane to the casting area.

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