Underwater excavation is called dredging. Dredging is the process by which a water body is deepened. In simple terms, dredging means removal of material from the bottom of a water body. Removal of sediment or other material from an aquatic area for the purpose of deepening the area, obtaining fill material, or maintaining existing structure is known as dredging. Dredging takes place to maintain the depth in existing ports, harbors and channels to provide ready and safe passage for commercial and recreational vessels. Dredging is done to create new or deeper access or berths for vessels. This means deepening and widening of channels and anchorages as well as the excavation of basins and marinas from areas of previously dry land.
Suction dredges are essentially underwater vacuum cleaners. They are commonly used to pull material up from a stream bottom, run through a separation system to recover valuable minerals, and then redeposit the stream material back onto the bottom of the stream. Suction dredging is mostly done in a very dynamic environment, a natural stream or river.
A trailing suction hopper dredger is a large ocean going vessel. When the vessel starts dredging, the ship reduces its speed to some 1 to 2 knots and then lowers the suction pipes on both sides of the ship all the way to the seabed. Sand pumps transfer the sand dredged up by the suction head into the hold or hopper. The excess water is drained of via the overflow pipes. When the hopper is full, the ship sails to its destination, the reclamation area.
Pneumatic dredgers work on the evacutor principle. A chamber with inlets for bed material is pumped out with the inlets closed. The inlets are then opened and water and material drawn in. The mixture is then pumped out and the cycle repeated. The unit is generally suspended from a crane on land or from a small pontoon or barge. The dredging action is intermittent and suitable only for easily flowing material.
Air lift dredgers are very similar to the jet-lift dredgers but the medium for inducing water and material flow is high pressure air injected at the month of the suction pipe. As with jet-lift dredgers there are no moving parts in the flow system. Hard or other difficult to loosen materials cannot be dredged.
Looking at what the nature has to offer, it conveys a lot of information when it comes to things that it holds in it, within it and on it. With need for minerals and its wide spread application getting widened each day, the stint of its very existence is getting blink and its depreciation in its source which is its over usage is on the high.
literally means extraction .Our Mother Earth has lots of resources deep within her and mining is the method of extracting all these valuable resources from the earth through different means.There are different methods to extract these resources which are found in different forms beneath the earth's surface.
The metal mining was one of the traditions that have been passed on meritoriously over the past years so that we meet our day-to-day needs of the desired material usage starting from the equipments that are ornamental as well as purposeful coordination of information's.
Jadeite is a pyroxene mineral and is one of the two types of pure jade. The other is known as nephrite jade. Jadeite is the rarer of the two jades, and as a result, it is considered to be more precious and valuable. Due to its striking and emerald green color it is also known as "imperial jadeite".
Surface mining is basically employed when deposits of commercially viable minerals or rock are found closer to the surface; that is, where overstrain (surface material covering the valuable deposit) is relatively very less or the material of interest is structurally unsuitable for heavy handling or tunneling.
Underground mining is carried out when the rocks, minerals, or precious stones are located at a distance far beneath the ground to be extracted with surface mining. To facilitate the minerals to be taken out of the mine, the miners construct underground rooms to work in.
Gold is a chemical component with the symbol Au that springs up from the Latin derivative aurum that means shining dawn and with the atomic number 79. It is a very sought-after valuable metal which, for many centuries, has been utilized as wealth. The metal resembles as nuggets or grain like structures in rocks, subversive "veins" and in alluvial deposits. It is one of the currency metals.
Platinum, is a heavy, malleable,ductile, highly inactive, silverish-white transition metal. Platinum is a member of group 10 elements of the periodic table.It is one among the scarce elements found in Earth's crust and has six naturally occurring isotopes. It is also achemical element.
Diamonds and supplementary valuable and semi-precious gemstones are excavated from the earth level via 4 main types on mining. These diamond withdrawal methods vary depending on how the minerals are situated within the earth, the steadiness of the material neighboring the preferred mineral, and the nonessential damage done to the surrounding environment.
The iDredge commissioned by diamond explorer Africa Resources AB and designed and fabricated by proudly South African company Imilingo Mineral Processing has produced 14.1 carats from 1 200 kg of alluvial/gravel deposits in the Kasai River of the DRC during the dredges first test run.
Over many years, traditional river-based alluvial diamond mining has seen divers scouring the riverbed with heavy suction pipes coupled to centrifugal pumps. Thomas Hggkvist, the CEO of Africa Resources, approached Imilingo Mineral Processing in October 2016 for a possible solution to the cumbersome and hazardous diving conditions involved in alluvial diamond recovery. Modern mining techniques and sorting technology has been severely lacking in alluvial diamond mining and the iDredge has certainly delivered in injecting some much needed technological advancement in the industry, says Hggkvist.
Imilingo Mineral Processing MD Jaco Prinsloo, who has extensive knowledge of diamond processing through his experience when working as the lead engineer for DRA on several large diamond mining projects, worked with an innovative team of engineers to design and fabricate the iDredge.
The vessel consists of a floating platform connected to two pontoons. A Dragflow 60 Kw submersible pump with high-depth compensators provides suction and allows particles up to 60 mm in size to be pumped through the 150 NB pipe. An onboard rotatable crane submerges the pump and is there to make the pump accessible for maintenance purposes. A 150 KVA diesel generator supplies power for the iDredge and the mined material is fed onto a double-deck vibrating screen. Both generator and screen remain on the riverbank.
The iDredge began the long journey from Imilingos Centurion fabrication facility in December 2017. Road transport to the port at Durban took a week and after 17 days at sea, the two 40 ft and two 20 ft containers arrived at the port of Matadi on the West Coast of the DRC. The contents of the 40 ft containers were unloaded in the port and loaded onto trucks while the 20 ft containers were loaded onto the trucks as-is. From there the trucks hauled the modular components to Kinshasa and onwards to the Kasai River.
Much of the infrastructure in the DRC, especially the road network, is extremely eroded and this necessitated a change in the site where the iDredge would be used, Prinsloo says. Originally the machine was destined for the Tshikapa river, but this had to be changed to the Kasai as the latter is more accessible for the large interlinked trucks and their precious cargo.
A technical team from Imilingo Mineral Processing accompanied the mining team on their journey to help assemble the iDredge. The machine was assembled in an excavation made by an excavator, next to the river and the same excavator did duty as a crane for some of the heavier components.When assembled, the excavation was flooded and the iDredge entered the river. Cables were linked to the opposite shore to winch the vessel into position in the centre of the river. Rivers in the DRC flow very fast and we had made sure that two very sturdy trees on either side of the river acted as anchors for the iDredge cables, Prinsloo explains. Our client also requested that two outboard motors be fitted on the back of the iDredge as an extra precaution to counter the initial measurement of around 1.7 m/s for the flow of the river.
Local villagers keen for employment and training assembled the 150 mm pipes using wooden dugout canoes to attach the HDPE floaters to support the pipes in carrying the dredged material to the shore. Once the pump was started, it effectively pumped sand to reach the river-bottom bedrock.The dredged sand was sized on a vibrating screen and the material was then sifted by hand in what the local people term a tammy that is French for sieve, says Prinsloo.
After the Imilingo commissioning team left, the local site team continued operations and cleared the river bed of sand overburden before reaching the diamond gravel. The first diamond gravel was pumped on 29 August 2018 and then washed by tammy to recover the companys first diamonds.
The test run shows great potential for Africa Resources operations in Tshikapa and all parties are optimistic at the prospect of diamond recovery in the area. We are really excited about the yield this project could potentially generate and know the extensive efforts to unlock the mineral wealth will definitely pay off, concludes Hggkvist.
MONROVIA, LIBERIA--(Marketwired - Mar 25, 2014) - Sunergy, Inc. (the "Company") (OTCQB: SNEY) is pleased to provide this update for our Liberian diamond and gold mining operations. Dredgemaster Price is now in Liberia with his crew to commence dredging operations in Bomi Hills on the first licenses we have that will eventually cover the 1,000 acres that we have under agreement. Our local geologist has completed the initial reconnaissance of this area, taken samples and is preparing an initial report from which operations will be controlled. Our first 6" dredge is awaiting movement to Bomi Hills from Monrovia this coming weekend and will commence operations early next week. Dredge #2 will move into location once #1 settles in and is operating smoothly. Early results will begin to be reported as soon as the overburden is removed and we are able to process alluvial gold and diamond bearing gravels. This should take less than 2 weeks.
Dredgemaster Price says; " I am very excited about this area, especially since when operations took place here before the conflict, local hand miners extracted millions of dollars of gold and diamonds operating by hand in shallow conditions. This area has not been touched since the conflict ended and still houses several productive kimberlites bearing diamonds. We are considering moving our 3rd Sierra Leone dredge, currently in Bo, Sierra Leone to Bomi Hills as we expand our planned year round operations. Bo is only 175 miles from Monrovia, Liberia and Bomi Hills is on the road from Sierra Leone to Liberia. I just drove over with my crew and it's a rough road, but quite workable. Going back and forth from Liberia to Sierra Leone is very straight forward. Our Sierra Leone operations are under supervision by David Garnett and are ongoing. I will return there in a couple weeks and we will give a report on progress."
Garrett Hale, President and CEO said: "I am pleased that we now are getting both our Sierra Leone and Liberia operations going. While Dredgemaster Price is able to set up and oversee these operations in different countries, we have also put together good teams of competent and trusted supervisors that remain onsite at all operating times to insure the integrity of our projects. Our new Advisory Board member, Prince Kai Saquee is also able to assist us in the purchasing, export and marketing our gold and diamonds from either country. Given the simplicity of our operations and the competency of our team members, I am very confident in the future success of our operations. We have managed to accomplish solid infrastructure in both countries with limited funds to work with and now that we will be earning regular cash flow we are going to be able to grow operations from within and as needed without the need for major dilutive additional capital raises. Having Dredgemaster and Prince as our team leaders excites me very much and we all look forward to very prosperous operations."
Hale continued: "Our non-mining based activities are ready to bear fruit as well, without any major capital required from us. These are essentially agency agreements that offer possible 20-25 year long term income streams which will support our rapid growth plans. Proposals in The Gambia and Senegal are moving forward. More on these as information is available."
Operating results will be available shortly after the end of first quarter so as to not delay the 10K filing. Please visit our website: www.sunergygold.com Update on Sierra Leone operations will be forthcoming soon.
SUNERGY, Inc., a Nevada corporation (OTCQB: SNEY) is a publicly listed and traded, production oriented, junior mining company headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA that is production oriented at the earliest possible profitable opportunity and has an appetite to grow by profitable acquisition. As its core business, the Company has made a transition from an exploration only company to a company now focused on production and cash flow. We now have four dredges operating, 2 in Sierra Leone and 2 in Liberia. A 5th dredge sits between the two countries awaiting the most favorable deployment opportunity for fast cash flow. In addition to our core mining activities, the Company has used its considerable contacts earned over the past 4 years to develop non-mining partnerships and agency agreements with major international businesses representing Airport Security and Affordable Housing projects and Solar energy projects up to 250 megawatts, in the five West Africa Countries of Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia and Senegal.
This current report contains "forward-looking statements," as that term is defined in Section 27A of the United States Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Statements in this press release which are not purely historical are forward-looking statements and include any statements regarding beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future, including but not limited to, any mineralization, development or exploration on mining concessions or cash flow from any mining operations.
Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors. Such factors include, among others, the inherent uncertainties associated with mineral exploration and difficulties associated with obtaining financing on acceptable terms. We are not in control of metals prices and these could vary to make development uneconomic. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this news release, and we assume no obligation to update the forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Although we believe that the beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are reasonable, there can be no assurance that such beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions will prove to be accurate. Investors should consult all of the information set forth herein and should also refer to the risk factors disclosure outlined in our most recent annual report for our last fiscal year, our quarterly reports, and other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Shares of SGOCO Group(NASDAQ: SGOC) were up over 500% on Friday on heavy trading volume. The penny stock didn't release any news to trigger this price movement. SGOCO Group is a penny stock that manufactures phase change storage systems, among other items.
Elizabeth Warren has sharp words for Wells Fargo. The bankis discontinuing personal lines of credit and will shut down existing ones in the coming weeks,CNBC reported,citing customer letters it has reviewed. In a frequently asked questions section of a letter sent by the back, Wells Fargo warned that the discontinuation of such bank accounts may impact customers credit scores.
The good news: That pension and your savings are and will be great assets for you in retirement, so congratulations on that! There are many factors that go into knowing how much youll need for retirement, and a few ways to break down these annual estimates. For example, if you were to use the 4% rule, which is a traditional rule of thumb that suggests you take out 4% of your retirement savings every year to live on, youd generate about $30,000 to $35,000 a year, said Morgan Hill, chief executive officer of Hill and Hill Financial.
My husband had just had his salary cut by 50%, and we were living with my parents in Westchester County, New York, because we could no longer afford the rent on our apartment in Brooklyn. Now, our monthly mortgage payment is $1,500 less than our rent in Brooklyn. In New York City, some parking spaces go for what we bought an entire house for in Savannah.
Strategy Analytics estimates that 5G smartphone shipments could hit 624 million units this year from just 269 million in 2020. There were almost 136 million 5G smartphones shipped in the first quarter of 2021, according to the research firm, and sales are likely to get stronger as the year progresses. As such, now is a good time to load up on key beneficiaries of the growth in 5G smartphones.
Not every sound stock choice makes waves and headlines in the markets. That should be obvious one reason the markets giants draw so many investors is a combination of social pressure, fear of missing out, reinforced by the news dominance those very giants generate. But historys most successful investors kept their portfolios diversified, and that includes investments in lesser-known stocks. These are stocks that for whatever reason have slipped under the radar they havent picked u
A woman has been accused of punching a 6-year-old Asian boy while hurling racial slurs at him and his mother in Las Vegas this week. What you need to know: The incident occurred at The Shops at Crystals, an upscale shopping mall located in the CityCenter complex. Tiktok user @uhmmajo managed to film part of the alleged attack, which shows the woman having an unhinged meltdown.
The stock market put in a strong showing on Friday, sending the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) and Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX: ^IXIC) to new record levels. Earlier this year, the investing thesis for many fast-growing companies got called into question by changing macroeconomic conditions. For many investors, Snowflake has been a colossal disappointment.
While the stocks that pay dividends generally do so on a quarterly basis, there is a select group of companies that pay them out monthly. Here are two REITs that income investors might appreciate knowing about, that pay monthly dividends, and that have above-market yields. Realty Income (NYSE: O) is a Dividend Aristocrat that calls itself The Monthly Dividend Company.
In this article, we discuss the 20 Chinese companies listed on NYSE/NASDAQ/AMEX. If you want to skip our detailed analysis of these companies, go directly to the 5 Chinese Companies Listed on NYSE/NASDAQ/AMEX. The trade tension between the United States and China over the past few years has dominated headlines around the world, fueling speculation 
Signs of panic buying emerged Friday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange amid a powerful stock-market rally in the final minutes of trade, a day after one of the worst selloffs for equities since mid June. Market internals suggest that investors are buying mightily headed into the weekend. The NYSE Arms Index, a volume-weighted breadth measure, fell to 0.413, with many on Wall Street see declines below 0.500 as suggesting panic buying. The Arms Index is calculated by dividing the ratio of t
Focusing on providing engineered solutions and equipment for the mining and mineral processing industries. Savana Mining will continue to provide a competitive range of innovative niche technologies, process engineering services, and complete mineral processing plants.
Savana Mining incorporates full engineering and manufacturing of mineral recovery machinery. With a series of strategic alliances formed, Savana offers a diversified range of products and services including personalized engineering design, plant installation, and mine management services.
Savana Mining works with governments, companies, and NGOs to reduce poverty and boost prosperity by supporting the sustainable development of communities involved in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in developing countries.
Many novice real estate investors soon quit the profession and invest. When you invest in real estate, you often see a side of humanity that stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and saving money shelter you from.
The tributaries of some of the main rivers and lakes drain mineral rich areas such as the diamond fields of Kono and Tongo, the gold rich greenstone belts, the Kasila group of rocks - which are the main source of mineral sands (rutile, ilmenite and zircon) - and the Freetown complex, which is believed to contain platinum group elements (PGE).
Depth of weathering is considerable in the flat-lying western half of the country, which contains mineral sands and bauxites, while the eastern and central areas are hilly and rugged. This topography along with deep weathering and erosion of bedrocks has provided suitable conditions for the production and deposition of placers.
The drainage systems of the diamond fields have been targets for dredging since diamonds were first discovered in the Gbogbora stream, Kono District, in the 1930s. The main rivers draining the diamond fields are the Sewa, Moa, Bafi and Mano rivers, while the greenstone belts are mainly drained by the Pampana, Teye, Taia/Jong and Mabole rivers.
In some rivers, such as the Bafi and Teye, many of the diamond gravels and sands contain gold and both are mined with gold being the by-product. Getting gold from diamond mining is quite common in diamond mining areas close to the greenstone belts, and these rivers have been dredged for both.
The predecessor of Iluka Resources/Sierra Rutile started using dredges to mine mineral sands in 1967 and the Sierra Rutile concessions still host one of the world's largest natural rutile deposits. The deposits are derived from weathering of gneisses and amphibolites of the Kasila group, which remains largely under explored. This means there is potential for discoveries other than in Sierra Rutile's concessions.
The coastal plains that connect known mineralisation stretching from Liberia to Guinea are also a target for exploration, not only for rutile but also PGE. Other ore minerals present in Sierra Leone with the propensity of forming placers are cassiterite (tin), chromite and coltan.
Locally made dredges are common among artisanal miners, but a moratorium has recently been imposed on such practices by the National Minerals Agency as it goes against the Mines and Minerals act of 2009.
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There is no single, universally applicable method of target selection for alluvial diamond deposits. Climatic and geomorphic history, stratigraphy, structure and tectonic history are important factors that require study and need to be understood for each alluvial diamond province prior to target selection. What is appropriate in one part of the world may be entirely inappropriate in another, but there are some basic principles which must be followed in planning and executing any alluvial diamond exploration program.
The general principles that govern any search for alluvial diamonds, the processes involved in alluvial diamond deposition and the methods and technology used in exploring for and evaluating such deposits are also discussed. The principles are illustrated, where possible, by reference to a case history of exploration for alluvial diamonds in the south-western Transvaal, South Africa.
Before starting field exploration, it is important to have a comprehensive knowledge of (i) the regional geology of the drainage basin under revue; (ii) the constituent lithologies of the gravel being prospected for; (iii) the geomorphic and climatic factors which have affected the exploration area; (iv) the type of deposit to be sought; and (v) any post-depositional processes which may have affected the alluvial deposits being considered for exploration. This overall information is necessary to construct a concise, yet comprehensive regional model upon which to base any alluvial diamond exploration program. Remote sensing methods are useful, but there is no substitute for an observant, well-trained field geologist expert in mapping and air-photo interpretation. Sampling of drainages for indicator minerals has limited application in alluvial exploration. A brief review of the evaluation methods recommended for an alluvial deposit is included.
Gibb River Diamonds Limited (GIB or the Company) operates the Blina Alluvial Prospect in the Ellendale Diamond Province of WA's Kimberley Region. The project consists of three granted mining leases and various exploration leases (Figure 1) situated 110km east of Derby and adjacent to the currently-closed GIB controlled Ellendale 9 diamond mine.
A diamond bearing alluvial palaeochannel named Terrace 5 extends over some 40km of the GIB project area, with channel widths of 200m to 500m. The largest diamond recovered to date from Terrace 5 weighed 8.43 carats, with stones larger than two carats common. A significant number of the diamonds are Fancy Yellows.
The key to exploring the Terrace 5 diamondiferous channel is to find the best alluvial trap sites which are most likely to host the highest diamond grades, these trap sites usually occur around the sediment/bedrock contact.
GIB Minerals has completed a ground geophysics survey using the latest in Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) technology and the Company believes we now have a fast and inexpensive breakthrough technique which can discover these trap sites and their highly prospective diamondiferous gravels. Company trenching programs have also discovered extensive areas of unsampled, shallow and highly prospective alluvial gravels3 which also require testing.
GIB has merged historic drilling, trenching, bulk sampling, trial mining, indicator mineral sampling and geophysical data with the latest state of the art GPR data to generate high grade alluvial diamond trap site targets on the proven diamondiferous channels.
GIB is pursuing a GPR-driven systematic bulk sampling program of these prospective gravel targets which will define the extent and grade of the diamondiferous gravels. The best grades will be trial mined; see field video.
An independent appraisal (Nov 2017) on the data from a 1,497.57 carat parcel of diamonds previously mined from Terrace 5 was conducted. This gave a price of US$389 per carat (A$505 per carat). This is a 63% increase on the previous valuation of US$238 per carat made in April 2006.
This substantial price increase is mainly due to the greatly increased pricing of the fancy yellow component of the parcel which has gone up by 131% to US$3,391 per carat (A$4,403 per carat). The previous valuation of the Fancy Yellows in 2006 was US$1,466 per carat. The Fancy Yellow component now constitutes 62% of the value of the whole parcel (up from 50% in 2006).
The JORC (2012) Exploration Target for the Terrace 5 alluvials is from 700,000 to 1,000,000 cubic metres at a grade of 2.3 to 4.1 carats per cubic metre, for contained diamonds of 1.6 to 4.1 million carats.
This Exploration Target is based on estimating the amount of Missing Diamonds which have been eroded from the E9 pipe (Figure 2) and have ended up in the Terrace 5 palaeochannel (Figure 1). A full technical summary is detailed in the recent GIB ASX Release.
This maiden JORC Exploration Target demonstrates the potential of Terrace 5 to deliver very high grades on what would be a relatively simple, shallow, low capital cost and low operating cost alluvial mining process.
Previous explorers lacked a method of indirectly mapping the prospective bedrock-cover contact. The highly successful recent GIB geophysical survey using Ground Penetrating Radar may well prove to be a gamechanger for this project by quickly and inexpensively defining the highest quality diamond targets at this contact. The potential for discovering bonanza grades within these newly defined trap site targets presents an exciting and significant upside.
The bonanza grades and returns that can be found within high grade alluvial diamond trap sites make these systems a highly desirable target for alluvial diamond miners. An example of the type of high grade pothole trap sites GIB is looking for at Blina is shown in the photo below taken at the Auchas Diamond Mine on the Orange River in Namibia.
By combining GPR and historic pitting and trenching data, GIB has identified two discrete channels within Terrace 5. These have been named Channel 1 and Channel 2 (Figure 2). Previous testing on Channel 1 indicates it is strongly diamondiferous, Channel 2 is untested.
Channels 1 and 2 are deeper, and presumably older, than the other defined Terrace 5 gravels in the area. The historic bulk sampling which took place over the newly defined Channel 1 gave some of the best results within the Terrace 5 system, with grades up 10.5 carats per hundred cubic metres (cphm3), see Table 2.
Within Channels 1 and 2, GIB has identified 139 GPR targets, which the Company believes are the most prospective areas within the entire Terrace 5 system. These 139 targets have minimal overburden (2 to 8 metres), lie within proven diamondiferous channels and show up on the GPR as excellent potential alluvial trap sites.
The company has conducted various trenching programs over the Blina Prospect and has discovered numerous shallow, untested gravel target areas which conform our geological interpretations of Channels 1 & 2 containing highly prospective gravel, including areas of trap sites.
GIB is pursuing a GPR-driven systematic bulk sampling program of these prospective gravel targets which will define the extent and grade of the diamondiferous gravels. The best grades will be trial mined
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We do not think we have all the answers, but we believe that by working together, the private sector and government, we can save this industry, South African Diamond Producers Organisation (Sadpo) national executive committee member Amo Marengwa told Mining Weekly in a Zoom interview. Also taking part in the interview were Sadpo chairperson Gert van Niekerk and Sadpo deputy chairperson Lyndon De Meillon, who outlined the rewards South Africa could potentially harvest with the right regulations and a lowercost of doing business. (Also watch attached Creamer Media video.)
In South Africa, getting a right to mine is not an easy process. Its very complicated, time-consuming and expensive, said Marengwa, an alluvial diamond entrepreneur, who is the CEO and co-founder of Blue Banjo 3.
In our case, my brothers and I applied for a right to mine using our own money and even put up some infrastructure to get going. Given our financial backgrounds, we do not have the financial muscle to grow the company. Were unable to buy more machinery. Unfortunately, in our country, this is the reality.
Emerging entrepreneurs do not have the resources to build sustainable companies, especially those that are based in the rural areas. The lack of finance and support forces many entrepreneursto look for external help, meaning, for example, in my case, I had to look for partnerships, investors or any kind of help that could push he project along, said Marengwa, adding that he had made unsuccessful approaches to the State-owned Industrial Development Corporation and a number of other developmental agencies.
Unfortunately, in our country, exploration projects, especially alluvial diamond projects, are deemed too risky. Theres a lack of data and technical support from government institutions such as Mintek and the Council of Geoscience. Therefore, most of us cannot secure any investment.
Much of these problems are the result of a poorly considered policy. In other words, were governed by the same mineral policy and regulations that were designed with only the large mining companies in mind. Our recommendations are based on developing a fit-for-purpose, policy and regulation framework, meaning changing the approach from a one-size-fits-all to a more inclusive approach, said Marengwa, in presenting Sadpos eight-slide position paper on a South African artisanal and small-scale diamond mining policy framework.
Our first recommendation is that to encourage new investment and particularly foreign investment into the industry and to also fast-track transformation, the process of applying for a mining right should be simplified and made cheaper. Our proposal is an adaptation of a tick-box application procedure, which will also help the department in granting licences quicker and more efficiently. To further simplify the process, a one-stop-shop system needs to be established, meaning I should be able to receive my mining right and water usage licence at the same place, at the same time.
Our second recommendation is that, to encourage small miners to do business with black diamond dealers, we need to change the current requirement. Currently, dealers have to present proof that they have offered 15% of their total production to a beneficiation licence holder, before they are allowed to export their production these are mostly the black diamond dealers. We propose that this should be decreased to 5%, as junior diamond miners cannot afford to beneficiate 15% of their production, as their cash flows are too tight. This implies that they selltheir production locally, where they do not always get the best price. At 5%, they will make an effort to make stones available for local beneficiation as it is a much more achievable target in terms of their cash flows. Besides, this is something that Ive always asked myself, where is government expecting the black dealers to get the money from to buy the diamonds. Yes, transformation is needed in this country, but for it to happen, resources must be committed for its implementation.
Our third recommendation of making the policy and regulations more inclusive aims to decrease illegal mining. Our only option is to include these illegal operators into the legal and regulatory framework. To do this, we propose the introduction of three new types of licences. This includes a 5 ha licence, which, we expect, will create about ten jobs; a licence that covers up to 45 ha and employs no more than 25 people per shift; and finally, a licence that covers more than 45 ha, employing no more than 50 people per shift.
Our fourth recommendation aims to enable the development of a sustainable model that will allow a continuous income stream from all the alluvial mining companies. In other words, we propose that a mine development fund should be created. The idea here is that the alluvial mining companies will then contribute a percentage of their sales into the fund rather than just focusing on the Triple BBBEE requirements. The contribution will then be used to fund the projects such as a mine, or investing in local projects to support communal needs that will increase jobs, said Marengwa, who emphasised that in presenting recommendations to government officials, Sadpo is hoping for a constructive and collaborative engagement.
Sadpos contention is that itsproposals will ensure the sustainability of social labour plan projects, make funds available for previously disadvantaged mining entrepreneurs, empower local communities, support growth in the industry, grow the beneficiation industry and encourage investment through overall transparency.
First and foremost, I want to emphasise that Sadpo doesnt profess to have all the answers and solutions but at the same time we are convinced that if we carry on the way things are, this side of the mining industry will ultimately implode and it is therefore our intention to come up with suggestions that we believe will prevent such an implosion and reverse the current tendency and become a vibrant, growing industry again, said Van Niekerk.
We also acknowledge the challenges that government is facing, mainly due to the wrongs of the past, but also, in my opinion, in the process of trying to right the wrongs, I think they made some honest mistakes in trying to achieve what is so necessary and what is so not negotiable.
What Sadpo is doing will eventually lead to something that is practically implementable and which can enable us to return our industry to being a vibrant and growing industry. I talk specifically about the smaller side of the diamond industry. We are of the opinion that whatever we suggest must be commodity specific and therefore it is going to be a little bit of an issue for government to come up with specifically diamond regulations and therefore we also feel comfortable in asking for that in the sense that in the past there has been a separate diamond Act, whilst there is no other mineral in South Africa with that, said Van Niekerk.
Sadpo fully supports the aims of the Mining Charter, said De Meillon. However, due to the unique nature of especially the alluvial diamond deposits, we are proposing changes to the legislation specifically for the small and junior alluvial diamond mining companies that will allow us to still achieve, and in fact exceed, the goals of the Mining Charter, but at the same time grow and expand the industry.
Due to the erratic, marginal and nomadic nature of the alluvial diamond mining industry, you cannot apply the same legislation that you would, for example, apply to a listed gold, iron-ore or, for that matter, kimberlite mine, to a small or junior alluvial diamond mine.
We still have an enormous alluvial diamond resource in South Africa probably for another 100 years. This is not for large corporate companies as the risks are too high. Exploration and junior mining are the future of mining in South Africa.It is no use for the policy makers of our country to make sweeping statements of how mining must benefit local communities, empower local entrepreneurs, grow local suppliers et cetera, if the rules within which we have to operate as junior miners makes it impossible to achieve these goals and, in the process, destroys the very companies that have to do the upliftment.
Regulation and legislation should be written from the bottom upwards.We, as Sadpo, are making recommendations based on detailed studies of the industry that will allow the alluvial mining industry to thrive, drive local beneficiation, attract investment and ensure that local communities benefit sustainably, and that the industry will transform.
None of this has happened in the past 20 years with the current legislation and it is time that we recognise this and change to a model that will achieve the aims and goals of the Charter in a sustainable way, added De Meillon, an independent diamond producer and owner of Paleostone Mining, which has two operating alluvial diamond mines.
De Meillon is a geologist with an honours degree in geology and a masters degree in oceanography. He has been in the diamond business for nearly three decades and assures Mining Weekly that South Africas globally unique and exceptional deposits can be successfully exploited with robust geological modelling, experience, low-cost operations and technology advances. But the red tape must be removed and legislation introduced to open the way for the countrys small and junior mining sector to create wealth and jobs.
The discovery of alluvial diamonds in the unique secondary deposits of the Middle Orange river downstream of Hopetown, in South Africa, in 1867, was the catalyst that initiated the development of the mining industry in Southern Africa. But compared with its heyday between the 1990s and early 2000s, todays junior diamond mining sector is but a shadow of its former self, even though that need not be the case.
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In our examination of the mining side of the diamond industry, we have looked at mining demographics, both in terms of the companies in operation, as well as the countries where diamonds are being mined. Now, I would like to take a look at the diamond mines themselves.
Diamond mines can take several different forms, depending on the location and the geology of where the mine is located. The type of mining employed can have a significant impact on the economic viability of the mine, and can ultimately determine if a diamond deposit can be developed or not. Mining, however, must take into account more than just economic considerations.
A series of laws and regulations govern mining, all designed to benefit the local economy, protect lives, and conserve the environment. Among these laws, which differ from country to country, are requirements for employment of local residents, royalty payments to the host country, and at times to the local state and even to the local community.
There are also a series of environmental laws that ensure water resources are protected and developed, laws that require restoring mining areas to their pre-mining state, laws designed to protect wildlife, and laws designed to improve and protect quality of life for local residents. For example, mines are often required to develop infrastructures such as roads, build housing, or supply water treatment facilities to the local population.
The most common form of diamond mining takes place in what is known as an open pit, which is generally the most cost-effective alternative for large kimberlite deposits. In open-pit mining, a large carrot-shaped hole is dug in the ground, starting from its widest point at the surface and getting gradually narrower at depth. This type of digging exposes the entire extent of the diamond-bearing kimberlite so that no ore is missed during processing. The digging is done in such a way that the outside walls of the pit form roadways that allow hauling machinery to travel down to depth safely.
In a typical open pit mine, the rock is dug up using excavators and loaded onto large dump trucks, to be hauled to the appropriate location for processing or storage. In some cases, surface rock can be dug easily without any explosives required. However, in most cases, the rock must first be broken up before it can be lifted onto dump trucks and transported. This is done using explosives, which are dug into the rock and detonated. The smaller pieces of broken rock can then be moved.
A critical part of the feasibility of open pit mining is the strip ratio, which is the ratio of waste material that must be mined relative to the diamond-bearing ore within. The amount of surrounding host rock and/or the amount of material on top of the kimberlite which must be extracted first, known as over-burden, can sometimes determine if a mine is feasible or not. There are examples in the world of large diamond-bearing mines that have not yet profitably been mined because of the significant amount of over-burden that would first need to be extracted. In most cases, some degree of waste rock is essential to building a mine, as this excess rock can be used to build roadways and access ramps for machinery.
The worlds largest open-pit diamond mine is the now-inactive Mirny pit in Russia. The Mirny mine is the second largest excavated hole in the world after the Bingham Canyon Copper Mine in Utah, U.S. The hole is 525 meters deep and 1,200 meters wide at surface. Helicopters have been banned from travelling over the pit because of incidents where they were sucked in by the downward air draft!
Most underground mining takes place after an open pit mine reaches the point where it is no longer economically viable to extend the pit walls outward to support digging to lower depths, such as the Mirny mine. However there are some examples of diamond mines that are exclusively underground mines from inception.
There are several different types of underground mining but the most common variant is called block caving. This type of mining for diamonds was first introduced at the Kimberley mine in 1951. It relies on the kimberlite rock being weaker than the surrounding host rock material. A large tunnel is dug at a shallow angle until the tunnel reaches the ore body. A large chasm or void is extracted using blasting and digging. This void underneath the target kimberlite allows the rock above it to collapse into the void, where it can be safely hauled away through the tunnels and back to the surface.
Underground mining can extend the life of a mine significantly, sometimes by 10-20 years. It often requires a significant capital investment to transition from open pit to underground, but once completed, underground mining is a cost-effective option to mining at lower depths.
But underground mines also have unforeseen risks. The De Beers Snap Lake mine in Northern Canada is a good example. Snap Lake was Canadas first purely underground diamond mine. Once mining commenced, challenges with large amounts of ground water seepage created significant cost pressures and environmental concerns that ultimately made the mine unprofitable to operate. As a result, the mine has been placed on care and maintenance after just seven years of mining. The Ghaghoo mine in Botswana is an example of a mine that was developed strictly as an underground operation, owing to the large volume of over-burden on top of the ore body that would be uneconomical to mine in an open pit.
Alluvial mines occur where natural erosion, mostly from river systems and tidal washbasins, has eroded the surface of diamond-bearing kimberlite rock and has transported the sediment to other locations. These diamonds tend to be easier to access, and are usually found in surface gravel or existing river systems. This makes them much easier to extract and process without the need for explosives or large crushing operations.
Alluvial deposits can be challenging, owing to the expansive geography over which the diamonds have been transported over millions of years. As a result, they dont often lend themselves well to large-scale mining operations and are frequently mined by the informal artisanal sector in small rural communities, principally in Africa. Historically, this sector of the diamond industry has been under a great deal of international scrutiny due to the lack of legislation and protection for workers or the environment in these remote mining locations.
The Marange diamond fields in Zimbabwe are a good example of some of the challenges faced in mining alluvial deposits. The Marange fields are thought to contain massive deposits of diamonds, which are located both at surface and at depth. However, nature has spread the diamonds over a huge region, estimated to be in excess of 750 sq. km, which makes it economically unbeneficial to recover any of the diamonds below the ground level. The diamonds near the surface, in contrast, can be recovered using simple techniques and inexpensive machinery.
Unfortunately, diamonds rarely present themselves on the outskirts of developed cities and are frequently located in inhospitable regions of the world. This is no more evident as when diamonds were first found in the Atlantic Ocean, primarily off the coastline of Namibia. These diamonds were transported over 90 million years through a process of erosion, as drainage basins in Southern Africa flowed from east to west and emptied into the Atlantic Ocean. Strong currents travelling north along the West African coast transported the diamonds, and they concentrated in certain areas both on and off the coastline of Namibia and South Africa.
German oil and gas companies were the pioneers of this technique. Today, marine mining is done using ships that essentially vacuum the seabed through long hoses at depths up to 500 feet, at a rate of up to 460,000 cubic feet per hour. The mixture of water and gravel is sifted and packed and then transported via helicopter to land-based recovery faculties to extract the diamonds within.
Marine operations are noted for the high quality of the diamonds recovered. Due to the intense natural processes that occur over millions of years as these stones are transported, many of the diamonds are of the highest quality, while the stones with many inclusions tend to break apart. As a result, marine mining operations have some of the highest average values in the world.
Beyond the extraction of diamonds from any particular region, companies must also look at the recovery of diamonds from the ore that they mine. This area has seen significant improvements in recent years due to advances in technology for diamond recovery. Next week I will examine some of these recovery techniques and how they are advancing the diamond industry.
Diamond industrialist Ehud Arye Laniado is a man passionate about diamonds. From his early 20s in Africa and later in Belgium honing his expertise in forecasting the value of polished diamonds by examining rough diamonds by hand, till today four decades later, as chairman of his international diamond businesses spanning mining, exploration, rough and polished diamond valuation, trading, manufacturing, retail and consultancy services, Laniado has mastered both the miniscule details of evaluating and pricing individual rough diamonds and the entire structure of the diamond industry. Today, his global operations are at the forefront of the industry, recognised in diamond capitals from Mumbai to Tel Aviv and Hong Kong to New York.
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