- © 2005 Geological Society of South Africa
Scoon and Mitchell (2004) presented a review of the origin of the dunite pipes of the Bushveld Complex. Within it (pp.507 to 510) they found it necessary to “recap the sequence of events that led to the discovery of the pipes as we find some omissions and inconsistencies with recent reports by . . . Cawthorn (1999)”. On three issues, Scoon and Mitchell challenge my description of events that may have taken place in late 1924 when Merensky and his team of prospectors made one of the most momentous of all economic discoveries.
As a very brief introduction to this sequence of events, it is well established that Mr Andries Lombaard panned platinum from his farm, Maandagshoek in the eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex in June 1924, and took it to Dr Hans Merensky. Merensky raised funds and began exploration on 12th August, and found an economically mineralized body on a hill (kopie) on the adjacent farm, Mooihoek, on 15th August. In the first half of September an outcrop of what was to become known as the Merensky Reef was found on the farm Maandagshoek.
The three points of contention are:
I suggested that Merensky considered the presence of gold along with platinum to be important, whereas, Scoon and Mitchell (p.509) state “Merensky made no reference to the significance of Au”.
I suggested that the Mooihoek pipe was not the main source for the platinum panned by Andries Lombard in a stream bed on the farm Maandagshoek, whereas Scoon and Mitchell (p.509) suggest that “the precious metals from Mooihoek . . . drained to the west . . . would be expected to be disproportionately represented in the alluvium”.
I presented published statements that indicated that the concept that the bodies were pipe-like (i.e. discordant) was not …