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Frequently Asked Questions

Terms and abbreviations used regularly in

three elements: platinum, palladium and gold

four elements: platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold




the most abundant metal element in the Earth’s crust, sourced mainly from bauxite. Guinea and Australia have about half the world’s reserves, others with major reserves include Brazil, Jamaica, and India

Anthracite Coal:
“hard coal” has the highest energy content of all coals and is used for space heating and generating electricity

native element extracted from stibnite and other minerals, used as a hardening alloy for lead, especially storage batteries and cable sheaths

silicate minerals readily separable into thin, strong fibres that are flexible, heat resistant and chemically inert

qualitative or quantitative analysis of a metal or ore to determine its components

laboratory test conducted to determine the proportion of a mineral within a rock or other material


Gold Equivalent

a heavy additive in oilwell drilling mud, paper and rubber industries, also used to make an expensive white pigment

general term for a rock composed of hydrated aluminum oxides, the main ore of alumina to make aluminum and also used in the production of synthetic corundum and aluminous refractories

beneficiate before shipping ore

beryllium alloys used in aerospace, automobiles, computers, oil and gas drilling equipment and telecommunications. Beryl is the source of emerald and aquamarine

bankable feasibility study, a study of the economic viability of the mining and production of base or precious metals or other minerals in such form and containing such detail as is customarily required by a bank or other financial institution engaged in mining project finance to enable it to determine whether to finance the development of a commercial mining operation

Banded Iron Formation

Bituminous Coal:
“soft” coal most commonly used for electric power generation, also used to make coke

rock composed of cemented fragments of minerals or rock

calcined iron, Fe content as a percentage of the total mass minus water and organics (which are burnt off in the blast furnace), calculated using the formula CaFe = Fe%/(100-LOI) x 100

Capital intensity:
capital cost of the project divided by the tonnage of product produced per annum


Chromite (chromium):
99% of the world's chromite is found in southern Africa and Zimbabwe

Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum Standards on Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves, adopted by CIM Council

CIM Code:
Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) Standards on Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves as required by NI 43-101. The CIM Code is an internationally recognised reporting code as defined by the Combined Reserves International Reporting Standards Committee


a very complex and diverse energy resource that can vary greatly, even within the same deposit. Four basic varieties of coal are lignite, subbituminous, bituminous and anthracite

used in superalloys for jet engines, chemicals (paint driers, catalysts, magnetic coatings, pigments, rechargeable batteries), magnets, and cemented carbides for cutting tools. Principal cobalt producing countries include Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Canada, Cuba, Australia and Russia

Columbite-tantalite group:
a natural oxide of niobium, tantalum, ferrous iron and manganese used mostly in the form of ferrocolumbium as an additive in steelmaking and in superalloys for heat-resisting and combustion equipment. Brazil and Canada are the world’s leading producers

used in electric cables and wires, switches, plumbing, heating, roofing and building construction, chemical and pharmaceutical machinery, alloys (brass, bronze etc), alloy castings, electroplated protective coatings and undercoats for nickel, chromium, zinc etc.. Leading producer is Chile, followed by the US and Indonesia

carats per 100 tonnes

common reddish metallic element that is ductile and malleable, one of the best conductors of heat and electricity

Copper Equivalent

Cut-off grade:
grade used to separate ore and waste such that only material classified as ore will be treated in order to recover the economic metal or mineral of interest

Calorific value (coal)

Davis Tube Test:
test where iron ore is crushed to ~0.15mm, immersed in water and passed over a magnet. At the end of the test, the iron ore sticking to the magnet is weighed and the non-magnetic material weighed and the percentage calculated

Diamond core drilling:
drilling method utilising abrasive cutting by rotation of a diamond-encrusted drill bit, enabling collection of intact rock core for description, sampling and analysis of an orebody or mineralised structure

a line directed down the steepest axis of a planar structure including a planar ore body or zone of mineralisation. The dip has a measurable direction and inclination from horizontal

towards the deepest parts of an orebody or zone of mineralisation

direct shipping ore, that is simply crushed and sized prior to sale

earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, an indicator of a company’s financial performance that compares companies because it eliminates the effects of financing and accounting decisions


the plane along which two rock masses have moved or slid against each other

Fault breccia:
rock made up of angular rock fragments cemented together by a finer grained matrix formed by the mechanical grinding of rock along the fault plane during movement of the fault

Fault gouge:
clay filling a fault that was formed by the mechanical grinding of rock along the fault plane during movement of the fault


rock-forming mineral industrially important in glass and ceramic industries, abrasives, bond for abrasive wheels, cements and concretes, insulating compositions and as a sizing (or filler) in textiles and paper

Fluorite (fluorspar):
used in production of hydrofluoric acid in electroplating, stainless steel, refrigerant and plastics industries, aluminum smelting, a flux in ceramics and glass and in steel furnaces and welding rods

rock adjacent to and below an ore or mineralised body or geological fault


grams per tonne or ton (when applicable)

lead sulfide, the commonest ore of lead


used in dentistry and medicine, jewellery and arts, coins, ingots as a store of value, scientific and electronic instruments and electrolyte in electro-plating. Significant resources in South Africa, US, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China and Russia

ground penetrating radar, a geophysical method that uses radar pulses to image the subsurface using electromagnetic radiation in the microwave band (UHF/VHF frequencies) of the radio spectrum, and detects the reflected signals from subsurface structures. GPR can be used in a variety of media, including rock, soil, ice, fresh water, pavements and structures. It can detect objects, changes in material, and voids and cracks

proportion of a mineral within a rock or other material

used as prefabricated wallboard or as building plaster in cement manufacture, agriculture and other uses

Halite (Sodium chloride: salt):
used in food seasoning and food preservation, soda ash, caustic soda, hydrochloric acid, chlorine, etc

Hanging wall:
rock adjacent to and above an ore or mineralised body or geological fault. Note that on steeply-dipping tabular ore or mineralised bodies the hanging wall will be inclined nearer to the vertical than horizontal

Highly weathered material:
portion of an orebody often located at surface that has been broken down in situ by environmental processes. This may result in the enrichment of iron and removal of gangue minerals. It typically requires less processing than unweathered material

Indicated Mineral Resource:
that part of a mineral resource for which quantity, grade or quality, densities, shape and physical characteristics can be estimated with a level of confidence sufficient to allow the appropriate application of technical and economic parameters, to support mine planning and evaluation of the economic viability of the deposit. The estimate is based on detailed and reliable exploration and testing information gathered through appropriate techniques from locations, such as outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes that are spaced closely enough for geological and grade continuity to be reasonably assumed

Inferred Mineral Resource:
that part of a mineral resource for which quantity and grade or quality can be estimated on the basis of geological evidence and limited sampling and reasonably assumed, but not verified, geological and grade continuity. The estimate is based on limited information and sampling gathered through appropriate techniques from locations such as outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes

sample or sequence of samples taken across the entire width of an orebody or mineralised zone. The intercept is described by the entire thickness and the average grade of mineralisation

Iron Ore:
about 98% of iron ore is used to make steel, other uses are powdered iron in metallurgy products, radioactive iron in medicine, iron blue in paints, plastics and cosmetics, black iron oxide as pigment, in polishing compounds and metallurgy. Major producers of iron ore include Australia, Brazil, China, Russia and India

Joint Ore Reserves Committee Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves (the JORC Code), set up by the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) and Minerals Council of Australia, sets minimum standards for public reporting in Australia and New Zealand of exploration results, mineral resources and ore reserves, provides a mandatory system for classification of tonnage/grade estimates according to geological confidence and technical/economic considerations, requires public reports to be based upon work undertaken by a competent person and sets out qualifications and type of experience required to be a competent person, provides guidelines on the criteria to be considered when preparing reports on exploration results, mineral resources and ore reserves

also known as china clay, is a white aluminosilicate widely used in paints, refractories, plastics, fiberglass, adhesives, ceramics, and rubber products

statistical technique used with variograms, or two-point statistical functions that describe the increasing difference or decreasing correlation between sample values as separation between them increases, to determine the value of a point in a heterogeneous grid from known values nearby


strongly leached, iron and aluminium rich rock, formed at the surface by weathering in tropical conditions

used in lead batteries, solders, seals or bearings, electrical and electronic applications. US is the world's largest producer and consumer of refined lead metal, others include Australia, Canada, China, Peru and Kazakhstan

a brownish-black coal with generally high moisture and ash content and lower heating value, important form of energy for generating electricity

sedimentary rock composed mostly of calcite, about 15% of the Earth's sedimentary crust. A basic building block of construction and chief material for aggregate, cement, lime and building stone. Used to make paper, plastics, glass, paint, steel, cement, carpets, used in water treatment and purification

amorphous, hydrated iron oxide, dark brown to black, occurring in earthy masses of various forms

compounds used in ceramics and glass, primary aluminum production, lubricants and greases, etc

essential to iron and steel production. South Africa and Ukraine have over 80% of the world's reserves

Measured Resource:
that part of a mineral resource for which quantity, grade or quality, densities, shape and physical characteristics are so well established that that they can be estimated with confidence sufficient to allow the appropriate application of technical and economic parameters, to support production planning and evaluation of the economic viability of the deposit. The estimate is based on detailed and reliable exploration, sampling and testing information gathered through appropriate techniques from locations such as outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes that are spaced closely enough to confirm both geological and grade continuity

Metal Equivalence:
calculation of polymetallic deposits in terms of a single equivalent grade of one major metal such as gold or copper, usually obtained by taking the in situ value (grade times price) of each individual metal, adding the values and calculating the grade of the same value of the primary reported metal, assuming 100% recovery


Magnesium Oxide

commonly occurs as flakes, books or sheets. Sheet muscovite (white) mica is used in electronic insulators, ground mica in paint, joint cement, drilling muds, in plastics, roofing, rubber and welding rods

Mineral Reserve:
distinguished from resources as all technical and economic parameters have been applied and the estimated grade and tonnage should closely approximate the actual results of mining

Mineral Resource:
concentration or occurrence of material of economic interest in such a form, quality and quantity that there are reasonable and realistic prospects for eventual economic extraction. The location, quantity, grade, continuity and other geological characteristics of a mineral resource are known, estimated from specific geological knowledge, or interpreted from a well constrained and portrayed geological model

accumulations of economic or related minerals

used as an alloy in stainless steels and in alloy steels, chemical and lubricant industries. As a pure metal, molybdenum is used because of its high melting temperatures in light bulbs, metal-working dies and furnace parts. Major producing countries are China, Chile and the US

million ounces

million tonnes (tons when applicable)

million tonnes per annum (tons when applicable)

metric tonne units

oxide of niobium, uses include alloying and coatings to improve welding properties (stainless steel), resistance to chemical attack (zirconium, molten lithium and sodium) and corrosion resistance



NI 43-101:
National Instrument 43-101 for the Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects, a codified set of rules and guidelines for reporting and displaying information related to mineral properties owned by, or explored by, companies which report these results on stock exchanges within Canada. This includes foreign-owned mining entities trading on stock exchanges overseen by the Canadian Securities Administrators

an alloying constituent of stainless steel, plays key role in the chemical and aerospace industries. Leading producers include Australia, Canada, Norway and Russia

Openpit Mining:
extracting minerals by excavating downwards from the surface such that the ore is extracted in the open air (as opposed to underground mining)

natural aggregate of one or more minerals which, at a specified time and place, may be mined and sold at a profit, or from which some part may be profitably separated

troy ounce (31.103477 grams)

oxide of phosphorus

Platinum Group Metals:
platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, osmium and ruthenium, among the most scarce of the metallic elements. Russia and South Africa have nearly all the world’s reserves

usually chloride of potassium, used as a fertiliser, in medicine and the chemical industry


Probable Mineral Reserve:
the economically mineable part of an indicated and in some circumstances a measured mineral resource demonstrated by at least a preliminary feasibility study

Proven Mineral Reserve:
the economically mineable part of a measured mineral resource demonstrated by at least a preliminary feasibility study

used in the manufacture of sulfuric acid and sulfur dioxide, to recover iron, gold, copper, cobalt, nickel etc

Quartz (silica):
semiprecious gemstone, used for pressure gauges, oscillators, resonators and wave stabilisers, manufacture of glass, paints, abrasives, refractories and precision instruments

Quartz veins:
deposit of quartz rock that develop in fractures and fissures in the surrounding rock

Rare Earth Elements:
primarily used in petroleum fluid cracking catalysts, metallurgical additives, ceramics and polishing compounds, permanent magnets and phosphors. Rare earth elements are lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium and lutetium

rare earth oxide

Resource block:
3-dimensional model of the ore/mineralised body containing a mineral resource estimation

Rutile (Titanium Dioxide):
Used in alloys, for electrodes in arc lights

South African Code for the Reporting of Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves:
SEC Guide 7:
US Securities and Exchange Commission Industry Guide 7 standard of measurement for proven and probable reserves. Inferred material is treated as waste and not included in the measurement of reserves


Silicon or Silica:
quartz, used in manufacture of special steels and cast iron, aluminum alloys, glass and refractory materials, ceramics, abrasives, water filtration, hydraulic cements, etc

used in photography, jewellery, electronics, lining vats and other equipment for chemical reaction vessels, water distillation, etc. Largest silver reserves are in the US, Canada, Mexico, Peru and China



Sodium Carbonate (Soda Ash or Trona):
used in glass container manufacture, in fibreglass and specialty glass, cleaning and boiler compounds, pH control of water

the main ore of Antimony, used for metal anti-friction alloys, metal type, shot, batteries, in the manufacture of fireworks. Antimony salts are used in rubber and textile industries, medicine and glassmaking

Strike length:
the longest horizontal dimension of an orebody or zone of mineralisation

Subbituminous Coal:
dull black coal with a higher heating value than lignite used primarily for generating electricity and space heating

used in the manufacture of sulfuric acid, fertilisers, chemicals, explosives, dyestuffs, petroleum refining, vulcanisation of rubber, fungicides

Solvent Extraction, Electro-Winning

tonnes or tons (when applicable)

refractory metal used mostly in the production of electronic components, mainly tantalum capacitors. Leading producers are Australia, Brazil, Canada, Congo (Kinshasa), Ethiopia and Rwanda

a strong lightweight metal often used in airplanes, combines with oxygen to form a brilliant white pigment used in paint, paper and plastics. Major deposits are in Australia, Canada, India, Norway, South Africa, Ukraine and the US

excavation of a horizontally elongated pit (trench), typically up to 2m deep and up to 1.5m wide, to access fresh or weathered bedrock and take channel samples across a mineralised structure

total rare earth oxides

True width:
the shortest axis of a 3D object (ie, ore/mineralised body), usually perpendicular to the longest plane. This often has to be calculated where channel or drill sampling was not exactly perpendicular to the long axis. The true width will always be less than the apparent width of an obliquely intersect sample

used in metalworking, construction and electrical machinery and equipment, transportation equipment, a carbide in drilling equipment. Major producers are China, Korea and Russia

used in metal alloys, in production of aerospace titanium alloys,  a catalyst for production of maleic anhydride and sulfuric acid. Russia and South Africa are the world’s largest producers of vanadium

two-point statistical function that describes the increasing difference or decreasing correlation or continuity between sample values as separation between them increases

volume weighted average price

rock adjacent to an ore or mineralised body or geological fault

using triangulation to produce an isometric projection of a rock type, mineralisation envelope or an underground stope to determine volumes of each solid


used in aquaculture, water softeners, catalysts etc

used as protective coating on steel, die casting, alloying with copper to make brass, chemical compounds in rubber and paints, galvanising iron, electroplating etc. China is the leading producer followed by Australia, Peru, Canada and US

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