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General News    H3'ed 4/25/12

Pie in the Sky Platinum Idea. Let's mine near earth asteroids say Planetary Resouces, Inc.

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Pie in the Sky Platinum Idea. Let's mine near earth asteroids say Planetary Resouces, Inc.

By Chris Landau (Geologist)

Does Bruce Cameron wish to mine Vesta or only near Earth Asteroids?

 Does Mr. Eric Anderson of Planetary Resources have a clue about platinum in asteroids?

This letter criticizes the comments reported to have been made by Mr. Eric Anderson and "other officials" according to an article published yesterday the 23rd of April 2012 in Yahoo news.

Asteroid Mining Venture Backed by Google Execs, James Cameron Unveiled written by

By   Mike Wall , Senior Writer   |  --  Mon, Apr 23, 2012


The Bushveld Complex in South Africa is where the platinum is at. It beats asteroids for platinum group metal enrichment by magmatic differentiation and sheer volume. Small asteroids will probably not be differentially enriched in platinum group metals, as with mineral enriched veins or layers. The Bushveld Complex is also a larger ore body in absolute volume (cubic miles) size for platinum group metals (PGM) compared with a 500 meter size asteroid as spoken about in this article. Please check your facts, before you talk absolute rubbish, Mr. Eric Anderson of Planetary Resources . I know this is all about marketing "mining asteroids in the sky", but let's stick to the known facts and have a little less hot air.

I am all for mining the asteroids as opposed to destroying the Earth, but there are far greater resources of platinum in layered igneous complexes right here on Earth that have been mined for the last 60 years. Only the giant asteroid-planets like Vesta will surpass the Bushveld Complex, if and when similar layered complexes are found on them. Vesta appears to be composed of ultramafic minerals, but we will have to wait for confirmation from spectroscopic analysis to see if there are platinum group metals there. There should hopefully be abundant mineralization on Vesta. Igneous dykes and massive planetary wide volcanic flows are clearly evident from spacecraft Dawn's images as the whole asteroid has melted.

Mr. Eric Anderson, you also have no idea whether these nickel iron asteroids or stony irons, have been enriched in layers or whether the metals are evenly disseminated throughout the asteroids. If they are evenly disseminated, this raises the cost of platinum extraction.

Asteroids are not the only source of platinum group metals on Earth and you do not have to go into the mantle to get them. The mantle brings them to the surface through deep volcanic pipe like bodies, similar to the Kimberlite pipes that brought us diamonds from 200 miles down below us. We do not have to go into the mantle to get the diamonds either. The kimberlite igneous pipes bring the diamonds to the surface.

The Bushveld Complex in South Africa is a massive layered igneous complex that contains 80% of the world's platinum group metals. It is over 2 billion years old. It is 300 miles from east to west and 200 miles from north to south. The Great dike/dyke of Zimbabwe (300 miles by 5 miles wide), is another layered complex of peridotites, pyroxenites and norites that contain another 10 percent of the world's platinum group metals. There is a small layered complex in Montana, USA called the Stillwater Complex that also has some platinum group metals. This Bushveld Complex was discovered by the great Dr. Hans Merensky, a South African and German geologist in September 1924, who also discovered the diamond fields of Namibia and South Africa on the Atlantic Skeleton coast in the early 1900's . The Bushveld Complex has been mined, since 1952, for 60 years and will probably be mined for the next 100 years. It is made of mantle rocks that crystallized over a period of about 100 million years in a gigantic underground chamber. Magmatic differentiation has resulted in a layered complex, starting with olivine rich dunites and pyroxenites at the base up to granites and felsites at the top of this 5 mile thick layered complex. It is rich in platinum group metals, chrome, vanadium and titanium and iron ore magnetite. The chromite and magnetite layers can be over a meter thick and run for hundreds of miles. This layered dunite-norite-pyroxenite-gabro-granite complex of ultramafic mantle rocks is on the surface of the Earth just 70 miles north of Johannesburg in South Africa. Believe it or not, here are the heavy melanocratic minerals that are common in the mantle. You can walk over the outcrops covering tens of thousands of square miles. I know, because I have done so. Ask any geologist on the Earth about The Bushveld Igneous complex. The platinum or palladium in your car's exhaust or any jewelry that contains platinum probably came from that complex of South Africa or The Great Dike of Zimbabwe.

Chromatite and Anorthosite Layering in the Bushveld Complex
Chromatite and Anorthosite Layering in the Bushveld Complex
(Image by M. E Patterson)
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So your wording stating " In fact, Anderson said, they don't occur naturally in earth's crust, having been deposited on our planet over the eons by   asteroid impacts ."  ANSWER: OUR EARTH'S CORE IS MADE OF THE SAME MATERIAL AS NICKEL  IRON METEORITES. PLATINUM GROUP METALS CERTAINLY DO OCCUR IN THE EARTHS SURFACE IN LARGE LAYERED COMPLEXES LIKE THE BUSHVELD COMPLEX AND GREAT ZIMBABWE DYKE.

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Chris Landau Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I was born in South Africa in 1958. I came to the USA with my wife and three daughters in 2003. We became US citizens in 2009 and 2010. My wife Susan is a Special Education English Teacher. She has a bachelor's degree in Micro anatomy and (more...)

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