Platinum-Group Element Exploration

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Elsevier, Dec 2, 2012 - Technology & Engineering - 200 pages
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The platinum-group elements (PGE) include platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium. They are currently receiving world-wide attention as an attractive exploration target because they offer the dual attraction of rare, high value precious metals as well as major industrial applications. Platinum has aesthetic qualities, combined with a permanent lustre, which encourage its use in the manufacture of jewellery and, like gold, it also finds an investment role. Platinum, rhodium and palladium have important applications as catalysts, enabling petroleum and other fuels and chemicals to be produced efficiently from crude oil.

This book gives a practical set of guidelines for implementing a programme of PGE exploration, detecting subtle indications of mineralization and assessing the economic potential of a group of mafic or ultramafic rocks. Background material is given on the economic and geological framework of the PGE in the first chapter, while theoretical aspects of magma chemistry are covered in the next three. Chapters 5 and 6 review current world-wide exploration activity within the context of available reserves of PGE, and in Chapter 7 factors which need to be considered in exploration for new deposits are outlined. The last chapter discusses evaluation guidelines.

As the PGE are both costly and almost indestructible they are normally recycled; nevertheless, a substantial annual input of new metal is needed to replace process losses, to permit increases in capacity in the dependent industries and to provide for new uses. For example, a major new market for platinum will be created if the European Community countries are required to fit catalytic converters to new cars. At present, South Africa and the USSR are the sources of most of the western world's newly mined PGE, with virtually all the South African production derived from the Bushveld Complex. Much of the material presented in this book is based on the author's experience of these rocks, and emphasis is given to the dominant role played by magmatic sulphides as potent collectors of PGE. Consumers of minerals and metals, however, prefer to have a diversity of supply and a new PGE producer is therefore likely to attract a ready market.

Not only does the book provide a wealth of practical information for mining geologists, it also contains much of interest to those in natural resource management and investment.

 

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Contents

Foreword
xi
Glossary
iii
Chapter 1 COMMODITY REVIEW
v
Chapter 2 CONTROLS OH SULPHIDE SOLUBILITY
21
Chapter 3 PYROXEBES
39
PRIMARY AND SECONDARY PROCESSES
57
Chapter 5 MINING GEOLOGY OF THE PRINCIPAL DEPOSITS
73
Chapter 6 TARGET SELECTION
99
Chapter 7 EXPLORATION GUIDELINES
120
Chapter 8 EVALUATIOH GUIDELINES
148
Chapter 9 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
162
Bibliography
170
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