Precious Metals

All the known pgm resources in Zimbabwe occur along the 550 kilometre long Great Dyke of Zimbabwe. Within the Great Dyke, four geological complexes are known to contain pgm and base metal deposits. These are namely: Wedza Complex (mined by Mimosa Mining); Selukwe Complex (Unki – Anglo American); Hartley Geological Complex ( Zimplats); and Musengezi Complex. Studies suggest a huge resource of several million tones of pgm on the Great Dyke. The pgm grades and thickness are persistent over large areas, and metallurgical recoveries are higher than those of South African mines. The Hartley Geological Complex is the largest of the pgm bearing complexes containing 85% of known pgm resources in Zimbabwe.

The valuable base metals (nickel, copper & cobalt) occur largely in sulphide minerals maily as pentlantile, chalcopyrite and pyrrhotile. A significant proportion of the precious metals (platinum, palladium, rhodium, & gold) are associated with the sulphides while a portion occurs as arsenides or tellurides.

Rhodium is technically a precious metal. It is used to make auto catalysts but increasingly can be found in the machinery that is used to manufacture flat panel displays (just like indium, rhodium is used in the flat screen TV sector).

Platinum is used in the automobile sector, manufacturing of computer disks and LCD glass panels.

Platinum and Palladium have similar physical and chemical characteristics and the two metals are partially interchangeable in some of their end uses, notably in automotive emission-control catalysts.

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