Participating at this year’s Mining Indaba, Mandela Mining Precinct’s (MMP) Research Programme Manager, Jean-Jacques Verhaeghe, encouraged attendees to apply design practices and thinking with the future in mind. He was speaking at Huawei’s ‘Dive into Digital Mining, Create New Value Together’ colloquium, which was also attended by MMP Director, Johan Le Roux. This year’s Mining Indaba took place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 9 to 12 May, under the theme ‘Evolution of African Mining: Investing in the Energy Transition; Environmental, Social, and Governance; and the Economies’.
“Digital transformation, hyper-technology and the enhanced use of data should be deemed enablers in the mining industry and occur within standards and frameworks that subscribe to broader sustainability and solutioning objectives,” said Verhaeghe.
“The MMP prides itself in being the vehicle that facilitates healthy, safe, innovative, transformative and economically viable and sustainable solutions to advance the South African mining industry,” said Le Roux
Speaking as a panellist at the Canada Trade Commission’s panel discussion on “Digital transformation in mining”, Verhaeghe shared insights on the South African mining industry’s unique challenges and the opportunities that exists within the MMP to lead the global stage in meeting those challenges. “The MMP’s Real-Time Information Management System’s Research Programme goes beyond just technology and focuses on mining companies’ state of readiness for digital transformation and fourth industrial revolution technologies,” he said. “We deal with issues such as leadership, innovation, world-class reference standards, guidelines and models, functional convergence, social responsibilities and other contextual nuances, while also being people-centric in our modernisation objectives,” he added.
Addressing delegates at the Indaba, His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa emphasised the importance of prioritising the wellbeing of mineworkers and mining communities. “The growth and development of mining in South Africa will not be possible unless the working and living conditions of mineworkers and mining communities are improved,” he said.
“It is vital that mine safety and the health of workers become the industry’s foremost concern. On this there can be no compromise,” he added.
Through its Successful Application of Technologies Centred Around People (SATCAP) Research Programme, the MMP undertakes research aimed at understanding specific and general challenges relating to people in the mining modernisation process. “The SATCAP research agenda addresses modernisation and the impact on jobs (creation and displacement) and skills requirement (both reskilling and upskilling), with the aim of developing the framework for a modern workforce for a modern mine,” says Le Roux
The research programme has put together guidelines to assist industry on a number of issues that affect the mining industry, such as including employees in equipment design and development.