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Platinum-Group Element Exploration

Platinum-Group Element Exploration

D.L. Buchanan


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The platinum-group elements (PGE) include platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium. They are currently receiving world-wide attention as an attractive exploration target because they offer the dual attraction of rare, high value precious metals as well as major industrial applications. Platinum has aesthetic qualities, combined with a permanent lustre, which encourage its use in the manufacture of jewellery and, like gold, it also finds an investment role. Platinum, rhodium and palladium have important applications as catalysts, enabling petroleum and other fuels and chemicals to be produced efficiently from crude oil.
This book gives a practical set of guidelines for implementing a programme of PGE exploration, detecting subtle indications of mineralization and assessing the economic potential of a group of mafic or ultramafic rocks. Background material is given on the economic and geological framework of the PGE in the first chapter, while theoretical aspects of magma chemistry are covered in the next three. Chapters 5 and 6 review current world-wide exploration activity within the context of available reserves of PGE, and in Chapter 7 factors which need to be considered in exploration for new deposits are outlined. The last chapter discusses evaluation guidelines.
As the PGE are both costly and almost indestructible they are normally recycled; nevertheless, a substantial annual input of new metal is needed to replace process losses, to permit increases in capacity in the dependent industries and to provide for new uses. For example, a major new market for platinum will be created if the European Community countries are required to fit catalytic converters to new cars. At present, South Africa and the USSR are the sources of most of the western world's newly mined PGE, with virtually all the South African production derived from the Bushveld Complex. Much of the material presented in this book is based on the author's experience of these rocks, and emphasis is given to the dominant role played by magmatic sulphides as potent collectors of PGE. Consumers of minerals and metals, however, prefer to have a diversity of supply and a new PGE producer is therefore likely to attract a ready market.
Not only does the book provide a wealth of practical information for mining geologists, it also contains much of interest to those in natural resource management and investment.
... particularly useful to mining geologists and those involved in natural resource management.
Mining Magazine
...Professor Buchanan is one of the world's leading experts in the geology and occurrence of the Platinum Group Elements. In this text he has set down the fruits of his labours over the past few years. This is a timeous book as the PGEs are currently of great interest to the explorationist.
Mineral Resources Engineering, 1988
E.H. Carlson
D.L. Buchanan is an expert on the subject, with many years of practical experience in the platinum fields of South Africa.... Because the text addresses problems unique to the search for and deveopment of PGE deposits, it is a welcome addition to the literature of exploration geochemistry.
W. Pohl
The bibliography concentrates on the last ten years and is very up to date. A detailed subject index allows rapid access to the book's contents. Overall, this volume is a model of scientific methods applied to practical ends. It is not a treatise, however, but rather the product of the author's personal choice of what he considers important for the practicing mining geologist in planning and implementing exploration for PGE's. In this respect, it is undoubtedly very useful, and the book is an absolute must for individuals and companies involved with PGE geology. It may slo be recommended to earth science libraries in general as an introduction into the economic geology of platinum.
Ore Geology Reviews
E.F. Stumpfl
The book underlines the dominant role which the concept of mineralization in layered igneous complexes has played so far.... it will be of interest to all companies and geologists concerned with platinum exploration.
Mineralium Deposita