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Published: 10-Dec-2019

Manganese Mine (South Africa)

Most of the largest manganese mines in South Africa are found in the Postmasburg and Kalahari Manganese Fields.


MINROM has been working with one of the major manganese miners in this area and assisting with all mine geology functions, including:

  • Geological target identification
  • Resource definition drilling
  • Resource modelling & estimations
  • Assisting with mine planning
  • Mining grade control
  • Reconciliations

One of the most important steps with manganese in this area is understanding the resource you are dealing with. Detailed mapping to identify structures such as “potholes” and exploration drilling to identify the depth and grade distribution of the manganese package are critical to any manganese mining operation.

Minrom performed detailed geological mapping to identify the manganese bearing geological units with their local complexities and variations. The next step was to target the most promising areas with close spaced grade control drilling from which an accurate manganese grade block model was constructed. An example of a manganese block model and section through the deposit is shown below:

Using the block model, a mine plan was instituted onto a mining operation where previously no informed mining was being performed. This dramatically increased the productivity and efficiency of mining. Now the miners knew where to mine, what grades to expect and where the iron content would slow mining. This also enabled the Mine to generate monthly forecasts of expected grades, tonnages and revenue. Combining that with a monthly reconciliation enables the mine to know exactly where and how to streamline the mining process, identify problem areas and grade loss and more.

A major success of the resource definition drilling programme was identifying additional resources that were not known to be present prior to the drilling programme. Also, a large discard dump which was previously located on top of high-grade manganese ore was relocated to another area where no manganese mineralisation was present. This unsterilized a large portion of manganese ore which was previously unknown and could not be utilised.

Minrom institutionalised the mine planning and grade control on the mine. The grade control required the construction of an on-site lab which enables us to monitor the real time grade at minimal cost.

Reconciliations are a large part of the mining process. A monthly drone survey is performed from which a digital terrane model is constructed and the pit surface is updated. This allows for a complete and accurate reconciliation of ore and waste which was mine.d This in turn allows for enhanced decision making and improved refinement of the physical mining methods. The quality in resolution of the imagery produced by a drone survey is shown in the figure below:

From the mining to the selling of manganese, it is crucial that every step is controlled to maximise the potential output of mine. Mining the correct ore at the correct time will ensure a sustainable operation throughout fluctuating commodity cycles. Minrom is proud to provide these mineral resource management services to the manganese operators of the Northern Cape.

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