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Adelaide Ruiters Mining and Exploration (ARME) appointed VBKOM in 2019 to conduct and manage the entire bankable feasibility study of the Zandheuvel Phosphate Project close to Saldanha in the Western Cape.  The appointment included all aspects of project management for the integration of all technical disciplines to ensure that work packages are delivered in time and that sufficient knowledge of the processes is gained to be able to do a reserve sign-off in accordance to the SAMREC Code.  Engineering support to submit a revised Mine Works Programme (‘MWP’) and Environmental Impact Assessment (‘EIA’) was also given.

A fair amount of historical, as well as recent, test work was conducted by Maelgwyn. Despite the aforementioned, and after much deliberation of the beneficiation properties, a decision was made to also conduct pilot plant test work to finalise the process flow diagram for the beneficiation plant.  It was calculated that a 5-tonne sample will be required to enable pilot-scale test work to confirm the bench scale milling and flotation characteristics of the phosphate ore.

As a result a drilling campaign was planned and successfully executed in July 2020 to a acquire a bulk sample for the aforementioned pilot test work.  Five wet rotary core drill holes were planned and drilled at a 30 centimeter outer hole diameter. The samples were collected in lined sumps, from where it was transferred into bins for transport to Johannesburg.

ARME Edited-1 - Copy

George Olivier (VBKOM Director), Paul Obermeyer (VBKOM Principal Geologist) and Adelaide Ruiters (CEO and Founder ARME) at the drilling site.

The Value to the Client

The campaign was executed on time during the Cape winter amid COVID control protocols and highly erratic weather conditions. Despite all these challenges 165 meters were drilled in total, of which 72 meters were within the ore zones.  The value to client was that the final estimated bulk sample size equalled roughly 4.9 tonnes: sufficient to enable pilot scale test work.



Metallurgy, Geometallurgy, EIA, Environmental Impact Assessment, MWP, Mine Works Programme, Bulk Sample, Drilling Campaign, COVID, Phosphate Drilling, ARME, Adelaide Ruiters Mining and Exploration, Zandheuvel Phosphate Project, Pilot Plant Test Work


Geology, Project Support, Metallurgical Engineering, Base Metals, Southern Africa


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