National mineral research organisation, Mintek, has partnered with Difeme Holdings Group to develop process technologies that will be appropriate to beneficiate quartz. Difeme has a permit to mine quartz in the Riemvasmaak area and Mintek will provide technical services to the black owned company. According to a company search conducted by Solomon Star, the sole director of Difeme Holdings Group, as listed on the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) website is Dennis George. George is the incumbent General Secretary of trade union federation FEDUSA and the company’s registered address with CPIC is Northcliff – Johannesburg.
The partnership between Mintek and Difeme follows a memorandum of understanding which was signed in 2016. The memorandum stipulated various aspects, chief of which was the commissioning of Mintek to investigate the quality of the Riemvasmaak quartz deposit. The tests have discovered that the silica content is as high as 99.98% in some incidents. According to Mintek the tests comprised of field evaluation, chemical, and mineralogical test work and commination test analysis.
A bankable feasibility study will commence soon, the objective is to produce approximately 5000 tons of quartz per annum. The study will be funded by The Lancaster Foundation with a R1.6m grant through the foundation’s enterprise development initiative, which is aimed at stimulating economic development.
Deputy Mineral Resources Minister, Godfrey Oliphant said at a media briefing that despite the fact that quartz is one of the earth’s most abundant minerals, few deposits can be classified as high-purity quartz, which is defined as having 99.99% silicon dioxide content. Fused quartz is a material of primary importance, since it improves the efficiency of solar powered devices.
Quartz is utilised in solar panel manufacturing, with additional uses in the semiconductor industry, the optoelectronic industry, the LED industry, the cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) industry, in electric heating and for electric light sources amongst many others.