My final year thesis at university was on solvent extraction of uranium.  My first hands-on experience was at West Driefontein Uranium Plant in 1978.

West Driefontein

Development projects at West Driefontein included optimisation of polishing filter precoat, and solving a problem with low conversion efficiency in the pyrite burning sulphuric acid plant. 

Western Areas and Randfontein Estates

I joined JCI in 1980, and after commissioning the CiP gold plant, I moved to the uranium plant project as plant manager designate.  I managed the neighbouring Cooke Uranium Plant at Randfontein Estates temporarily, to select and train new operators for Western Areas. 

The WAGM uranium plant was commissioned safely, on time and within budget, including technology not used previously for uranium in South Africa; high speed disc filters; hopper clarifiers; Davy McKee combined mixer settler.

Olympic Dam

During the 1980s I was a member of BP Minerals Olympic Dam team evaluating proposals for the uranium circuit, and removal of uranium decay products from copper, as part of my responsibilities.

© Ian Townsend 2015