The Bushveld Igneous Complex is situated in South Africa and is host to the world’s largest reserves of Platinum Group Metals (“PGM”) (platinum, palladium, osmium, iridium, rhodium, and ruthenium) as well as other minerals such as iron, tin, chromium, titanium and vanadium. The main PGM-bearing reefs are known as Merensky Reef, the Upper Group 2 (“UG2”) and Platreef (see Figure 1).
The Merensky Reef is a layer of igneous rock in the Bushveld Igneous Complex (BIC) in the North West, Limpopo, Gauteng and Mpumalanga provinces of South Africa which together with an underlying layer, the Upper Group 2 Reef (UG2), contains most of the world’s known reserves of platinum group metals (PGMs) or platinum group elements (PGEs) – platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium.
The UG2 Reef, the composition of which is relatively consistent throughout the BIC, is rich in chromite, but lacks the Merensky’s gold, copper and nickel by-products, though its PGM reserves may be almost twice those of the Merensky Reef.
Mining companies operating within the Bushveld Igneous Complex
Today many large mining companies operate within the Bushveld Igneous Complex, such as:
- Platifelds Limited,
- Bushveld Minerals,
- VM Invement Company,
- NKWE Platinum,
- Northam Platinum Ltd,
- Atlatsa Resources,
- Platinum Group Metals,
- Lonmin plc,
- Anglo American – Platinum, and
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