Address by the President of the Chamber of Mines of South Africa

Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 3
Publication Date: Unavailable
Dr T. F. Muller (Honorary President): "Mr President, gentlemen. May I congratulate the Institute on its 75th birthday, and your President on his comprehensive review of the Institute's 75 years. It is an interesting commentary on the affairs of the Institute that your President should refer to a speech made by a founder member 25 years ago on the occasion of your 50th Anniversary and then say there is no need to repeat what was given there, but that he would confine his remarks to bringing the Institute's history up to date. To me this suggests a remarkable continuity of thought and ideals-a welcome island of stability in an ever-changing world. One can somehow picture another future President, perhaps one of the younger and tougher members here today, doing the same thing in 25 years when you celebrate your centenary-and again someone doing the same in the year 2094 when your Institute is 200 years old! I hope they will recognise their debt to the early pioneers of the Institute gathered here today. In any event, this review of the fine achievements of the past 75 years is certain of an honoured place in the annals of the society. Here is a record of the onward march of technology in South Africa and a tribute to a long line of mining engineers, of chemists, metallurgists and geologists who made a greater contribution to the well-being and the prosperity of South Africans than South Africans generally are aware. Your Institute started off as a 'gold and cyanide club', peopled largely by chemists and metallurgists who made a signal contribution to the industry from the earliest times. Despite the addition to their ranks of ever-growing numbers of mining engineers, the metallurgist members have continued to make notable contributions. One recalls, for example, the manner in which they rose to the occasion to resolve the problems associated with the establishment of the uranium industry in this country. The creation of a major industry based on the existence of low grade uranium ores in the conglomerate reefs of our low grade goldfields is a classic example of the manner in which a new large industry can be rapidly created through the combined endeavours of all concerned. I noted with pleasure your remark, Mr President, that members of the Institute would like to keep up to date with recent progress in nuclear fuel matters and that members should be given the opportunity to study developments in their journal. I am sure that the National Institute of Metallurgy which conducts fuel research on behalf of the Atomic Energy Board and of the Uranium industry, and NUFCOR, which co-ordinates the uranium research programme, would be glad to co-operate if invited by the Institute to make periodical contributions to its journal. You have referred to the building up of our research organization and its dynamic approach to mining problems. I understand that the expenditure of the mineral industries on research exceeds one-third of the entire research expenditure of the private sector. South Africa is in the forefront of mining development and the focus of world attention is on the achievements of our scientists and mining engineers. We can look forward to continued advances in mining technology based on their vision and expertise. I share your disappointment, Mr President, that the Base Metals Division has ceased to exist; and that there is a resultant dearth of papers offered to the Institute on these important sections of mining and metallurgy. We are seeing some remarkable developments in the mining and beneficiation of base minerals, and it is in this area that I see the greatest potential for future expansion. If we can grasp the opportunities
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