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The Great Dyke / Regional geological settings / Mineral resource and mineral reserve statement
 

The Great Dyke

The Great Dyke is a long and narrow 2.5 billion year-old layered mafic-ultramafic body intruded into Archaean granites and greenstone belts. The Dyke is highly elongated, slightly sinuous, 550km long, north-northeast trending with a maximum width of 12km. The Great Dyke bisects Zimbabwe in a north-northeasterly trend and is divided vertically into a lower ultramafic sequence, comprising cyclic repetitions of dunite, harzburgite, pyroxenite and chromitite, and an upper mafic sequence consisting mainly of olivinegabbro, gabbronorite and norite. A diagrammatic section is shown opposite. It is U- toY-shaped in sections with layers dipping and flattening towards the axis of the intrusion. Much of the mafic sequence has been removed by erosion and at the present plane of erosion the Dyke is exposed as a series of narrow, contiguous layered complexes or chambers. These are, from north to south, Musengezi, Hartley (comprising the Darwendele and Sebakwe sub-chambers) and a southern chamber comprising the Selukwe and Wedza sub-chambers.

The Main Sulphide Zone (MSZ), host to economically exploitable PGMs and associated base metal mineralisation, is located 10m to 50m below the ultramafic/mafic contact in the P1 pyroxenite. The PGMs along with gold, copper and nickel, occur in the MSZ. A detailed description of the MSZ and the value distributions is provided in the relevant operations sections. The examples below comparing different areas indicate that the grade profiles vary between areas and that the platinum and palladium peaks are somewhat offset. Typically, the MSZ consists of a 2m to 10m-thick zone containing 2% to 8% of iron-nickel-copper sulphides disseminated in pyroxenite. The base of this nickel-copper-rich layer is straddled by a 1 to 5m-thick zone of elevated precious metals (Pt, Pd, AuandRh). The base metal zone contains up to 5% sulphides, while the sulphide content of the PGM zone is less than 0.5%. This change in sulphide content is related to the metal distribution in a consistent manner and is used as a mining marker. It can normally be located visually in drill core and with careful observation it can also be located underground, therefore careful monitoring supported bychannel sampling is required to guide mining.

Chromitite layers present below the MSZ contain little to no PGM mineralisation and are mined by other operators for their chromite content only. Implats’ operations on the Great Dyke comprise Zimplats’ Ngezi Mine south-west of Harare and the Mimosa Mine, a joint venture between Implats and Aquarius Platinum Limited (Aquarius) situated east of Bulawayo.


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