College of Agriculture, Engineering
and Science (CAES)

Mr Litshedzani Mutele.

Geology Masters Candidate Wins Best Poster Award at Earth Sciences Gathering in Cape Town

Part-time Masters student Mr Litshedzani Mutele received the award for presenting the best poster at the 2018 Igneous and Metamorphic Studies Group (IMSG) meeting hosted by the Department of Earth Sciences of the University of the Western Cape.

Mutele, who works for the Council of Geoscience in Pretoria, presented a poster on the topic: Field and Petrographic Characteristics of the Lebowa Granite Suite (LGS), Western Bushveld Complex, South Africa: Insight into their Crystallisation and Magmatic Alteration.

This study is focused on the Western Bushveld Complex (WBC) granitoids, for which Mutele has compiled detailed field and petrographic information on various granitoids and related rocks forming the Ysterkop North Manto in the LGS.

The purpose of Mutele’s study is to provide basic information in order to understand the processes involved in the evolution of the granitic magma and formation of fluorine-iron-rare-earth element (F-Fe-REE) rich mineralisation.

Mutele received his Bachelor of Science degree with triple majors (Geology, Chemistry and Mathematics) and his honours degree in Geology from Rhodes University. His masters topic focuses on the crystallisation history of the granitoids of the LGS and its related polymetallic mineralisation processes in the south-western limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex.

‘Granite related processes are complicated and captivating at the same time, hence I developed an interest to investigate and understand processes associated with granite emplacement and their subsequent crystallisation,’ said Mutele. ‘The Bushveld Igneous Complex is the ideal terrane to decipher such processes.’

Mutele said the study area was one of the mining areas for fluorite resources from the 1970s to late 1980s. Preliminary lithogeochemical and soil geochemical results show that the area also has potential for heavy rare earth elements mineralisation associated with fluorite mineralisation.

Mutele was drawn to the LGS by detailed geochemical studies he did to evaluate the polymetallic mineralisation potential, which led him to the idea that understanding processes of crystallisation and fluid generation history would be important in evaluating the potential of LGS because the area has previously received little attention.

He hopes his research will be useful in establishing or modifying exploration models for the polymetallic mineralisation in the study area. The results could also address ongoing debates on the emplacement, crystallisation and hydrothermal alteration of the LGS.

Mutele, who plans to continue to PhD level, says his masters work has been helpful in gaining experience in research and production of high quality scientific reports and publication as well as in evaluating the possibility of discovering new polymetallic mineralisation related to the LGS.

Mutele’s supervisor, Dr Saumitra Misra, congratulated him on the outstanding quality of his presentation.

Words: Christine Cuénod

Photograph supplied by Litshedzani Mutele