Abstract

The Red Syenite deposit on the farm Zandrivierspoort 210 JP, located on the periphery of the Pilanesberg Alkaline Complex, is considered here as a potential source of nepheline syenite, a material that is used as a flux in the manufacturing of glass and ceramics. Glass and ceramics manufacturers have different specifications as far as the quality and the product form is concerned. Local glass manufacturers generally require beneficiated material with a low Fe content, depending on the kind of glass being manufactured. Ceramics manufactures also require material with a low Fe content, but the material may be unbeneficiated as most of these factories already have facilities to remove Fe and other materials considered deleterious to the product or manufacturing process. The minimum requirement is that the material must be crushed and milled to a specific size fraction (< 10 mm). A common concern expressed by the industry is the requirement for continuity of production, and an assurance of consistent quality from the supplying deposit. The availability of feldspar as an alternative starting material, at a lower cost than nepheline syenite, is responsible for an unwillingness of potential users to switch to nepheline syenite, despite its proven advantages.

Extensive additional geological confirmation is required to estimate the sized and quality of the resource of the nepheline syenite in the Pilanesberg Alkaline Complex. To demonstrate its viability, a preliminary investigation has been undertaken on one such a deposit to show that the deposit will probably be able to sustain production over a considerable period and display internal homogeneity that would ensure the consistent quality of the material produced. Given the uncertainties in all parameter considered at this stage it must be stressed that the financial study is merely used to highlight the projects potential viability and to identify its risks. For this purpose a hypothetical project was designed which shows that such an operation would be most sensitive to the production rate, capital required, and the selling price of the product. Transport and operating costs show a less significant influence on the viability of the project.

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