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Mining Glossary

The mining glossary provides a reference source for pgm mining terminology used on this site and elsewhere

A trading glossary is available in the PGM Prices section.

Terms appearing in italics are also defined within the glossary.

If you would like to suggest changes or additions to the glossary please contact us. Further information can also be found in the FAQs.


A

Adit :

A passage driven into a mine from a hill or mountainside.

Alluvial deposits :

Material, typically sands and gravels, transported by a river and deposited at points on the river's flood plain. These deposits can contain economically viable mineral resources. In the Kondyor and Koryak areas of eastern Russia alluvial deposits are mined for platinum group metals.

B

Bench :

A ledge created in an open pit, which forms the surface for extraction. The size of the bench will reflect the strength of the rock, stability of adjacent slopes, pit economics and the machinery employed.

Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) :

A South African Government policy aimed at increasing the access that black South Africans have to "productive assets whilst simultaneously ensuring the productivity of those assets". BEE seeks "to promote new opportunities for and increase the levels of participation of black people in the ownership, management and control of economic activities". South African pgm mining companies have responded to the policy through a range of joint ventures and asset sales to BEE organisations. Quotes from the Black Economic Empowerment Commission Report, 2001.

Bushveld Igneous Complex :

Formed about 2,000 million years ago, the Bushveld Igneous Complex (BIC) is a well differentiated geological structure with an areal extent of some 450km east-west by 300km north-south. It has a series of distinct layers, three of which are currently mined for platinum group metals (pgm).

By-product :

Material of some economic value produced in a process which is focused on extracting another material. For example palladium is produced as a by-product of platinum mining in South Africa.

C

Concentrating :

The process of separating milled ore into two streams; one greatly enriched in the valuable mineral (concentrate) and another of waste material (tailings). Concentration is a vital economic step in the production process because it reduces the volume of material which must be transported to and processed in a smelter and refinery.