The Application Of Facies Classification In Evaluating The Merensky Reef At Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine, South Africa

Lionnet, M. D.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2007
The Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine (BRPM) is a joint venture between Rustenburg Platinum Mines Limited and Royal Bafokeng Resources (Pty) Ltd (Bafokeng). The mining lease has been granted over Boschkoppie 104JQ and is located approximately 10 km south of the Pilanesberg Alkaline Complex. The Merensky Reef, which constitutes the principal orebody, is geologically complex. A relationship between its geological variability and the associated mineralization has been established by defining a number of facies types. The Merensky Reef has been subdivided into seven distinct facies types: the pegmatoidal facies, contact facies, FW1 potholefacies, FW3 pothole facies, FW6 pothole facies, and FW7 pothole facies. The Merensky Reef, which does not form part of the potholed reef, has a large component of footwall mineralization. The pothole facies, in contrast, has mineralization located in the hangingwall. Statistical analysis of the facies types indicates that they are unique populations and hence need to be evaluated independently. The mining lease has distinct structural domains that have added additional complications to evaluation of the Merensky Reef. The Merensky facies on BRPM exhibit unique geological and statistical characteristics within well-defined structural blocks. Due to the extreme variability of the Merensky Reef on BRPM a unique approach has been developed, within Anglo Platinum, to evaluate the deposit. Mining cuts are defined and composited for the individual facies types, and then modelled individually by applying known geological controls. The resultant grade models are weighted based on statistical and local geological knowledge. The object of weighting the facies is to replicate the variability observed in the orebody. The introduction of stringent geological controls to the evaluation process has resulted in increased confidence in the in situ grades estimated as an input to the mine planning process.
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