The Geological Occurrence, Mineralogy, and Processing by Flotation of Platinum Group Minerals (PGMs) in South Africa and Russia

Russia and South Africa are the world’s leading producers of platinum group elements (PGEs). This places them in a unique position regarding the supply of these two key industrial commodities. The purpose of this paper is to provide a comparative high-level overview of aspects of the geological occurrence, mineralogy, and processing by flotation of the platinum group minerals (PGMs) found in each country. A summary of some of the major challenges faced in each country in terms of the concentration of the ores by flotation is presented alongside the opportunities that exist to increase the production of the respective metals. These include the more efficient recovery of minerals such as arsenides and tellurides, the management of siliceous gangue and chromite in the processing of these ores, and, especially in Russia, the development of novel processing routes to recover PGEs from relatively low grade ores occurring in dunites, black shale ores and in vanadium-iron-titanium-sulphide oxide formations.