specialists in mineral and metallurgical technology
Issue No. 142 May/June 2007
New Mintek board of Free State scoops first place in
The Minister of Minerals and
Energy, Ms Buyelwa Sonjica, has Top performers win trip to UK
announced the appointment of Mintek’s new
board of directors as approved by Cabinet.
The new board will be in place up to the end
of February 2010.
Mr Harold Motaung, COO of Anooraq
Resources, has been appointed as
chairperson. The rest of the board is made
up by Ms Gugu Fidelia Nomsa Mthethwa
(Manager: Acquisition Finance Group
of SCMB), Mr Ralph Havenstein (CEO:
Anglo American Platinum Corporation),
Mr Simon Sikhosana (Chief Director:
Mineral Promotion at the DME), Mr
Mohlomi Azael Ntilane (Director: Kwena
Minerals Processing), Ms Lindiwe Mhlabeni
(Managing Member: Bali Engineering
Consultants), Dr Jan Bredell (Mineral
Development Consultant and Member: SA
Diamond Board), Mr Mohau Mphomela
Rosaline Nutsugah (far right), of the Rand Refinery’s Strategic Marketing and Planning division,
(Asset Manager: Rand Merchant Bank presents a cheque of R18 000 as first prize to the winning team of the Free State, representing
Properties), Dr Bethuel Sehlapelo (Group Heatherdale Secondary School, Lephola Secondary School, Ipetleng Secondary School, St Dominic’s
Executive: Frontier S&T Programme at the College, and Hoërskool Jim Fouché.
DST) and Dr Paul Jourdan (CEO: Mintek).
Free State Province took top honours in the national final of the
The new members bring to the board
Minquiz 2007 schools’ science quiz for grade 12 learners, which took place
extensive knowledge and experience
in the fields of science, engineering
at Mintek on 17 and 18 May.
and technology (with emphasis on the The winning team, representing Second place overall was taken by
minerals and metals fields), research and Heatherdale Secondary School, the Gauteng Province team (President
development and Lephola Secondary School, Ipetleng High, Raucall, Redhill and Hyde
strong skills in Secondary School, St Dominic’s College Park), with Limpopo Province (Mbilwi
and Hoërskool Jim Fouché, were Secondary, Stanford Lake College, SJ
awarded trophies and cash prizes for Van der Merwe School and Waterberg
their schools, plus individual cash prizes FET College) in third place. These
and half-ounce Kruger Rands provided continued on page 2...
by Rand Refinery, one of Minquiz’s
Justin Mopp of Selborne College
In this issue...
and Ibrahim Patel of Raucall, the top New Mintek board members.................1
performers in the preliminary written Free State scoops Minquiz prize.....1 and 2
quiz, were awarded an all-expenses Minstral Arc Monitoring System...............3
paid trip to the annual London
Mintek and Mindset join forces..............4
International Youth Science Forum,
which runs from 25 July to 8 August Diamond expert joins Mintek.................5
2007 in the UK, courtesy of the British Mintek rekindles ancient skills...............5
Council South Africa, with spending Mandela Scholarship for economist.............6
Mr Harold Motaung
money provided by BHP Billiton.
continued from page 1... In the popular “egg-drop”
contest, learners competed
learners also received cash
individually, the aim being to
prizes (individually and for their drop an egg from a height of
schools) and trophies. three floors, and by any possible
All nine provinces took part in means, ensuring that it survives
the preliminary written quiz, the impact. Trophies were
with the Free State, Gauteng, awarded to Jason Buhrman
Limpopo, North West and the (Kloof Secondary) for the most
innovative design that made
Western Cape progressing
use of scientific principles, to
to the on-stage final oral quiz
Rizqah Mohammed (Belgravia
based on their aggregate points.
Senior Secondary) for the
This year, the final quiz included smallest construction, and to
rapid-fire and “fastest-finger- Sheldon Willemse (Heatherdale
on-the-button” sections to Secondary School) for using the
make it a more exciting event. simplest construction materials.
After the first stage (in the Dario da Silva (Stanford Lake
traditional Minquiz format), there College) received the booby
prize for the most spectacular
was a three-way tie between
the Free State, Gauteng and
Limpopo for first place at 90 Ms Becky Hayes (centre), Deputy Director SA, British Council, with Now in its 20th year, Minquiz is
points each, with North West Ibrahim Patel (left – Raucall, Gauteng) and Justin Mopp (Selborne organised and hosted by Mintek
and the Western Cape tied College, Eastern Cape), who won a trip to the London International with the aim of encouraging
Youth Science Forum, sponsored by the British Council.
for second at 70 points. The interest in careers in science,
second stage (rapid-fire, with engineering and technology
each team having to answer (SET), especially in the
nine questions in 90 seconds in minerals field, and promoting an
turn) saw Limpopo take the lead awareness of the importance
of minerals to South Africa.
with a total of 130, with the Free
“The competition’s underlying
State (115), Gauteng (110) and
rationale is that it should be
the Western Cape (105) vying
great fun for participants,
fiercely for second and third,
accompanying teachers, and
and North West (90) bringing audiences, while at the same
up the rear. The third stage time conveying the importance
(fastest-finger, with penalty points of mathematics and science
for wrong answers) resulted in to the mining and metallurgy
Limpopo losing ten points to drop industries,” said Garth
down to joint second place with Williams, Head: Research and
Leonard Wannenburg of Mintek’s Pyrometallurgy Operations Group
Gauteng on 120 points, and both Development Services at Mintek
demonstrates a working model of a DC arc furnace, powered by a 6 kW
the Western Cape and North West welding machine.
and chief organiser of Minquiz.
losing 5 points and falling out of “Minquiz is extremely popular
contention. The Free State took with pupils, and especially
full advantage of this round and with their science teachers.
leapt ahead to first place with a Each year approximately 300
net gain of 25 points. A single - 400 schools are involved
sudden-death tiebreaker question nationwide, and the close
settled matters, with Gauteng involvement of universities at
the regional organisational level
placing second; and Limpopo
amply demonstrates that these
falling into third place.
institutions recognise the high
The inaugural Minquiz BHP value of such a link.”
Billiton Soapbox Derby was the
The anchor sponsor of
main feature of the team-building Minquiz is the Department
events that preceded the quiz. of Minerals and Energy via
Each province, using identical Mintek’s parliamentary grant
construction materials and simple The fastest soapbox was constructed by the Northern Cape team.
funding. Minquiz 2007 was also
tools, had four hours to design, supported by the British Council
construct and decorate a soapbox car, followed by time-trials on South Africa, BHP Billiton, Rand Refinery, Rutland Industries,
Mintek’s campus. Trophies were awarded to the Northern Cape Sigma-Aldrich, and the Southern African Institute for Mining and
for the fastest time, to Mpumalanga for the best design, and to Metallurgy, who donated gifts and cash sponsorships.
the Western Cape for the best construction. For information on Minquiz 2008, please contact Viloshni Naidoo
on (011) 709 4914 or email@example.com
Issue No. 142 May/June 2007 Page 2
Arcmon study attracts worldwide interest
Latest research findings revealed at INFACON
In February this year Dr Ian Barker, specialist consultant attached to Mintek’s Measurement and Control (MaC)
division, presented a paper on the most recent research findings regarding the Minstral Arc Monitoring
System (Arcmon) at the eleventh International Ferroalloy Congress (INFACON XI), held in New Delhi and
hosted by the Indian Ferroalloy Producers’ Association. Attended by representatives of the world’s major players in
the ferroalloy field, the conference provided the ideal platform from which to present the latest information on this
Co-authored by Dr Barker and Mintek
colleagues Myles Rennie, Chris
Hockaday and Paul Brereton-Stiles, the
paper reported on studies that had been
done on the electrical conduction in
silicon, ferro-silicon and charge-chrome
“Mintek released the Arcmon system
commercially in 2004,” said Barker.
“It is an adjunct to our Minstral control
system for submerged-arc ferroalloy
furnaces, and Arcmon’s ability to
distinguish between arcing and resistive
conduction provides useful information
about the burden of a furnace within
its reactive zone, including the carbon
balance. Arcmon can differentiate
between different modes of arcing and
provides an indication of the individual
electrode reactances. Arcing information
can also be used to improve the
regulation of electrode penetration to High-speed photograph of an open arc system.
enhance furnace efficiency and identify Typical benefits of Minstral include the
producing silicon, ferro-silicon 75% and
electrode tip losses. The individual following:
electrode reactances give an indication
• Improved power input (MWh).
of the length of the conduction path “Arcmon’s ability to distinguish between
• Lower specific energy consumption
through the electrode to the ‘conduction normal resistive conduction and arcing
floor’. Arcmon reactances can therefore was used to quantify in particular the
be used to monitor the metal bath level. • Improved load factor.
relative amount of arcing that takes
It is important to note that Arcmon does place in furnaces. We found that silicon • Reduced electrode consumption.
not use harmonics or requires a hearth and ferro-silicon behave similarly and • Reduced electrode breakages.
connection, and treats each electrode exhibit a relatively large amount of • Improved recovery.
completely independently.” arcing. Charge-chrome, on the other
Barker explained that the extent and hand, exhibits considerably less arcing, Arcmon in a nutshell
type of arcing that takes place in a and the extent of this arcing is highly 0 Mintek’s Arc Monitor, or Arcmon,
ferroalloy furnace are directly related correlated with the tapping of the is an adjunct to the Minstral
to the metallurgy of the process. “The furnace. The arcing measurements control system for submerged-
Arcmon system utilises the powerful can also be used online in the control arc ferroalloy furnaces.
processors that have become available of the furnace, both for the electrodes It
0 provides additional information
for personal computers, and makes it and electrical circuit, and for the raw about the conduction behaviour
possible to study the detailed behaviour materials,” concluded Barker. within the burden.
of the electrical circuit in a submerged-
0 distinguishes nonlinear arcing
arc furnace in real time. Since the More about Minstral from linear resistive conduction.
commercial release of Arcmon we have
It can also distinguish between
done extensive process studies on a The Minstral control system optimises
certain modes of arcing.
number of industrial furnaces using operation of submerged-arc furnaces
this equipment. In the paper presented by means of a patented resistance Arcmon provides an indication of
at INFACON we briefly compared the algorithm, enabling stable operation at the individual reactances in each
results obtained to date on furnaces of the three phases.
Issue No. 142 May/June 2007 Page 3
Mintek and Mindset join forces to enhance school science
Mintek has reached an agreement with Mindset Network whereby Mintek will sponsor the installation
of a Mindset Learn Datacast Solution at each of the three schools that Mintek is assisting under its “Adopt-a-School”
The Datacast Solution is essentially an on-
demand multi-media learner-support, educator-
facilitated resource package, delivered via
satellite broadcast technology. The R180 000
package, consisting of IT and communications
equipment, teaching material in a variety of
formats, and school management and educator
training programmes, will be rolled out between
May and July 2007.
“The Mintek-Mindset partnership will deliver
curriculum to schools through the innovative use
of information and communication technologies,”
said Garth Williams, Head of Research and
Development Services at Mintek. ”It certainly
will not replace the educator in the classroom,
but will rather afford the educator access to
high-quality learner-support material. Mindset’s
material has provided us with an excellent
opportunity to leverage our CSR funding. For
example, the videos cover lab experiments,
which is a real bonus for schools with under-
resourced or non-existent science labs, as is the
case with our three schools.”
The three schools in the programme will receive
all available Mindset Learn multimedia content,
consisting of video, print and computer-based
multimedia lessons, together with print modules
of Science and Mathematics Grade 10 and 11 Students work in a typical Datacast-equipped classroom.
as well as English Language Grade 10 to 12.
In addition, Mindset will provide training aimed Mindset is a non-profit South African Cape Education Department’s Khanya Project,
at supporting school educators to access the organisation that develops and delivers quality which aims to deliver multimedia curriculum to
Mindset content and use it to full advantage to educational resources through appropriate every school in the province by 2012.
support and enhance the quality of teaching and media to under-developed and under-resourced
learning at their schools. Mindset Network was selected from a
communities. Mindset offers a variety of
group of over 160 nominees as the winner
Lusanda Jiya, Executive Manager for Business solutions to ensure far-reaching access, and
of the 2006 Development Gateway Award,
Development and Marketing at Mindset Network, develops multimedia content that is relevant
which was presented at the International
said, “It is our firm belief that this intervention will to the local context. Mindset Learn content is
Telecommunications Union Telecom World 2006
markedly improve the quality of teaching and curriculum-aligned and is aimed specifically at
in Hong Kong.
learning in these schools, expose educators and high school learners and teachers in Grades
learners to technology that would otherwise not 10, 11 and 12, with a focus on Mathematics,
be accessible to them, and generally enhance Physical Science and
their interest in their profession and education Information Technology.
respectively.” Mindset Learn was
Mintek adopted its first school, recently implemented
Kwadedangendlale High School in Zola North, at 18 schools and
Soweto, in 2003, and following the success two area project
of the initiative, extended the programme to offices in the North
Itirele-Zenzele Comprehensive High School at West Province, with
Waterford Farm, Hartebeespoort, and Ferndale sponsorship from the
High School in Randburg. These schools are Zenex Foundation. A
assisted with facilities such as teaching aids, further 100 schools
library facilities, and computer and laboratory in the Vaal region in
equipment, with the aim of improving the Gauteng are sponsored
teaching of mathematics and science. Students by Emperor’s Palace.
are also exposed to “hands-on” science-related In addition, Mindset is Education Minister, Naledi Pandor, at the launch of Mindset’s Cabanga
activities during visits to Mintek. partnering the Western primary-school channel.
Issue No. 142 May/June 2007 Page 4
Diamond expert joins Mintek
Dr Fanus Viljoen, an internationally recognised expert in kimberlite petrology and diamond studies, has joined Mintek’s
Mineralogy Division in the position of Technical Specialist: Diamonds.
Viljoen gained his master’s degree in size frequency
geochemistry at the University of Cape distribution and
Town, and a PhD from the University analysis. He plans
of the Witwatersrand’s Bernard Price to begin a research
Institute for his research on isotope programme at
geochemistry in relation to geological Mintek on the use
processes and the crystallisation of of trace-element
diamonds. He started his career as a fingerprinting and a
field geologist based at the then newly- discriminatory tool
discovered Venetia kimberlite cluster in in conjunction with
Limpopo Province, and subsequently these methods.
worked at the De Beers Kimberlite
Petrology Unit in Kimberley and the “This project
Geoscience Centre in Johannesburg. will be part of a
He has more than 24 years’ experience general expansion
in mantle geochemistry, indicator of the Mineralogy
mineral chemistry and interpretation, Division’s
and diamond provenance and genesis, capabilities in
diamond characterisation and mantle Dr Fanus Viljoen
and has authored or co-authored
more than 30 technical publications in petrology,” said Viljoen. “In the short
international peer-reviewed journals. term, we will be taking delivery of the requirements of the Kimberley
a second electron microprobe and Process. This is the international
Viljoen has for many years made expanding the analytical capabilities certification scheme designed to
a speciality of tracing the origin of of the division. We are also motivating curb the trade in rough diamonds
diamonds through their surface to the Department of Minerals and from ‘suspect’ sources – where the
textures, spectroscopic techniques such Energy to embark on a programme revenues are used to fund conflicts or
as infra-red and ultraviolet studies, and of diamond certification to assist with human-rights violations.”
Mintek rekindles ancient skills
To assist South Africa’s traditional miners and crafters
Mintek recently launched its Indigenous
Knowledge Systems (IKS) Mining and Beneficiation Programme. The programme will have as
its aim identifying small-scale miners and crafters in rural areas who will then be brought to Mintek’s Randburg
campus to be “incubated” and trained with regard to putting together sustainable projects while still using the
traditional skills passed down over many generations. This will be done at no cost to the participants.
Speaking at the gala launch event held on 4 May 2007, Petrus
Fusi, general manager of policy and development at Mintek,
said that the programme was an extremely exciting initiative to
promote employment while fostering equity. Fusi was effusive in
his praise of the efforts of staff attached to Mintek’s Small-Scale
Mining and Beneficiation (SSMB) division, the unit responsible
for the programme. “In launching this initiative SSMB has
reached yet another major milestone in its quest to facilitate
empowerment and sustainability among small, medium and
micro-enterprises involved in mining and crafting activities,”
“As part of this wonderful new initiative we hope to preserve
IKS in the traditional mining and crafting sectors,” added Dr
Nellie Mutemeri, manager of SSMB. “To this end we will use
it to add value to new small, medium and micro-enterprise
The launch event featured live displays of crafters working
on clay pots, beadwork and stone, and a variety of
innovative finished products were showcased. The launch
programme included presentations by the Department of
Trade and Industry (DTI) on its craft industry strategy, the
Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) on aspects relating
to training and the Department of Science and Technology
(DST) on indigenous knowledge systems.
Page 5Issue No. 142 May/June 2007
Mandela Scholarship for Mintek economist
Divinia Sebastian, a cluster economist in Mintek’s Mineral Economics and Strategy Unit, is one of fourteen young
future leaders awarded a Nelson Mandela Scholarship for postgraduate study in the UK for the 2007/2008 academic year.
“Being chosen for the Programme on Re-
Scholarship is a great thinking Development
honour, and provides a Economics. She holds
humbling and invaluable membership of the
opportunity to serve my Economic Society of
country,” said Divinia, who South Africa (ESSA),
will study towards an MSc the Geological Society
in Economic Development of South Africa (GSSA),
either at the London School and is member of the
of Economics (LSE) or the International Golden
University of Cambridge. Key Honour Society.
After completing her The Nelson Mandela
BSocSc in Politics, Scholarship is
Philosophy, and Economics awarded to students of
(PPE) at the University exceptional academic
of Cape Town, Divinia achievement and
took a BComm (Honours) promise, leadership
in Economics from the capacity, and with the
University of KwaZulu-Natal desire to use their
(UKZN). She then enrolled Divinia Sebastian and the patron of the Scholarship, former South African President knowledge to contribute
for a MComm in Economics Nelson Mandela. to society.
at the University of the
poverty. We should not loose the spirit and will Skills shortages pose a growing concern within
Witwatersrand while at Mintek.
which our fathers and forefathers employed in the South African economy. The emphasis
Divinia hopes that the academic training she the struggle for our democratic freedom; we on skills and knowledge transfer thus forms
receives abroad will enable her to return to need to evoke the same spirit and determination a key component of the award. Scholars are
South Africa with a fresh perspective on African today in our fight against poverty and all the not restricted to any particular field, and the
development. She also wants to develop her social ills that keep it company.” only condition of the award is that they return
policy-making skills and assist in the on-going to South Africa to apply their newly acquired
Divinia is a recipient of the Public Policy
struggle for economic reformation in the country. knowledge and skills gained from both their
Partnership Scholarship in South Africa; the
“I feel that social responsibility should be high on academic training and work experience abroad.
UKZN Archbishop Denis E. Hurley Award
our list of future legislation,” she said. “The onus
for academic performance, leadership, and The qualifications that this year’s recipients
should be on every South African to contribute
service to the community; and the University will be pursuing include an MSc in Chemical
and participate actively in the struggle against
of Cambridge Scholarship for the African Engineering; an MSc in Biotechnology; an MSc
in Financial Analysis and Fund Management;
a master’s degree in Otology, Neurology, and
Audiology; a master’s degree in Business
Administration in the medical field; and an
MPhil in Engineering.
The Nelson Mandela Scholarship, now in its
tenth year, is the flagship project of Unilever,
with co-sponsor Deloitte, and is administered
in the UK by the Canon Collins Educational
Trust for Southern Africa.
Produced by the Information and Academic Support
Division at Mintek
200 Hans Strijdom Drive, Randburg, South Africa
Private Bag X3015, Randburg 2125, South Africa
Tel: +27 11 709 4111
Fax: +27 11 793 2413
Telex: 4-24867 SA
Write to the Editor, Mintek Bulletin, for further information
on any of the articles in this issue.
Page 6 Issue No. 142 May/June 2007