South Africa's annual production of gold is to receive a boost from a revolutionary plant just opened near Johannesburg.
South Africa's annual production of gold is to receive a boost from a revolutionary plant just opened near Johannesburg. The hundred and eighty million dollar plant is reclaiming gold, uranium and sulphuric acid by processing slag heaps from old mines.
SYNOPSIS: Located at Boksburg, the Ergo plant has been mainly financed by the Anglo-American Corporation. The company has laid about eighty miles (110 kilometres) of large diameter pipeline to carry slurry to the site. In officially opening the plant the Minister of Mines, Mr. S.P. Botha, paid tribute to the corporation for the impressive size and sophistication of the project. He also thanked the major industrialised countries for the assistance they have given to South Africa's mineral processing industry and hinted the new technology learnt from processing uranium may be made available to companies planning similar operations in the United States and Canada.
Initial output of gold will be four thousand ounces per month, a mere drop in the bucket of the country's overall production. But this gold will be obtained relatively cheaply and the plant will also turn out sixteen tons of uranium and forty thousand tons of sulphuric acid monthly. to date nearly four hundred million tons of slimes from nineteen slagheaps have been earmarked for production during the next twenty years. Unlike conventional mines Ergo has no expensive shaft systems or underground development and with mechanisation needs only a modest workforce.
South Africa has nearly half of the world's gold reserves and nearly twenty per cent of uranium reserves. It's a wealth that the South African government wants to preserve and it sees the mineral production from new plants such as Ergo as becoming increasingly important if it is to retain one of the world's strongest economies.