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University of Johannesburg (2018)

Mining concepts in artisanal mining and small scale processing of sandstone in QwaQwa (Free State – South Africa

Fontama, Ewembe Y.

Titre : Mining concepts in artisanal mining and small scale processing of sandstone in QwaQwa (Free State – South Africa

Auteur : Fontama, Ewembe Y.

Université de soutenance : University of Johannesburg

Grade : Master of Technology 2018

Résumé
Sandstone is a medium-hard sedimentary rock consisting largely of quartz grains. The cementing property between the grains varies, and can be siliceous (composed of silica), calcareous (compose of carbonates), or ferruginous (compose of iron oxides). Sandstone exists in many colours, from reddish, greyish to yellowish. Time and the elements of nature have given sandstones unique characteristics and qualities such as, colour, strength and beauty, which makes sandstone a commodity in high demand around the world, particularly in the construction industry, where it is used for cladding of building, artefact, tombstone, diverse decorations, grindstone for grains, and the sharpening of tools. A preliminary assessment indicates there is an urgent need to promote and protect the artisanal mining and small-scale processing of sandstones in QwaQwa (Free State, South Africa). In recent years, this small industry has gone through instability, due to technical and socio-economic difficulties. Research on the mining concepts in artisanal mining and small-scale processing of sandstone could also be partially or fully applicable to some artisanal mining activities of other commodities such as marble, granite, limestone and other related minerals. Due to the economic opportunity sandstone presents, it is important to understand the mining concepets and related challenges when mining sandstone. The research work was done through the investigation of different sandstone mining sites within QwaQwa, and multiple mining sites in other rural communities of Cameroon and Lesotho. Studies carried out on the sites will help support technical and other human factors being researched in QwaQwa, which is the main research location. The research on mining concepts involved interaction with miners, data collection, observations of mining and processing techniques, and a discussion on technical and social problems faced by miners and stakeholders. As a mining consultant, the focus was on two major core principles involved, namely technical and human aspects, respectively. The technical aspects examined are the mining techniques applicable to the artisanal mining and small-scale processing of sandstone, the handling and transportation of the mineral. A cash flow model was established to confirm a profitable mining operation. As the technical and human aspects were addressed, the researcher generated guidelines and best practices applicable to the artisanal mining and small scale processing of sandstone in QwaQwa. The comparison of different mining activities in multiple mining sites helped reinforce guidelines and best mining practices of mining activities...

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