JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – South Africans, who have been mining for metals for more than a century, were this week urged to farm for metals.
South African-born Stephen Haggerty, a distinguished research professor of Florida International University in the US who spoke to Mining Weekly Online while in Johannesburg, outlined the work that Australians are doing in agromining and prodded South Africa to do the same. (Also watch attached Creamer Media video).
Agromining involves the use of plants to absorb valuable metals from soils that have high metal concentrations, and then to harvest, dry and incinerate the biomas to deliver metal ore.
Plants have a propensity to suck up metals, Haggerty commented to Mining Weekly Online in recalling that the same species of plant that the Swedes used in the Middle Ages to delineate the presence of copper was used centuries later to outline Central Africa’s rich copperbelt.
Now, the Australians are planting these species in mined out nickel belts to suck up the remaining nickel in the soil that is beyond modern metallurgical capability. “They get nuggets of nickel metal out of it,” said Haggerty – and simultaneously rehabilitate the lands.
For the rest of this article: http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/south-africa-should-consider-agromining-us-professor-2017-10-11/rep_id:4136