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Mandela Mining Precinct Celebrates 5 Years of Mining Research, Development, and Innovation

By March 14, 2024No Comments

In a dazzling event held at the CSIR International Convention Centre on 9 November 2023, the Mandela Mining Precinct (MMP) marked a significant milestone, with a host of stakeholders as it celebrated five years of groundbreaking contributions to mining Research, Development, and Innovation (RDI). The event, attended by government, science councils, academia, other collaborators, and industry representatives, highlighted the impact of the public-private partnership.

Co-hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Minerals Council South Africa (Minerals Council), the MMP is instrumental in revitalising mining RDI in South Africa, ensuring the industry’s sustainability.

MMP Director, Julie Courtnage, commenced the celebration with a poignant moment of silence for those who lost their lives in the mining industry. In her welcome speech, she highlighted a symbolic journey from a seed planted in 2015 to the flourishing tree that is the Mandela Mining Precinct today—a testament to determination and commitment.

Courtnage underscored the importance of the Precinct’s growth, not just in technological advancements but also in addressing the social and job impacts of its work. “Trees do what they do best: quietly and without fanfare, they grow. And that is the path of the MMP: growth,” while highlighting the MMP’s commitment to fostering long-term viability in the sector through catalysing high-quality collaborative research.

The event included a showcase of research outputs from MMP research collaborators including messages of support from stakeholders such as co-hosts of the initiative, the Department of Science and Innovation, organised labour and the SAMERDI university research centres.

Delivering a message of support, CSIR CEO, Dr Thulani Dlamini emphasized three key aspects crucial for the South African mining sector:

  1. Accelerated adoption of new technologies for improved sector performance, such as energy technologies, augmented reality, sensor systems, and data analytics.
  2. Capitalising on the catalytic role of mining to spur development in adjacent industries, contributing to the diversification of the South African manufacturing sector.
  3. Reducing the environmental, health, and social impact of mining through initiatives like the Impact Catalyst, focusing on creating socio-economic opportunities for communities in mining towns.

Dlamini called for increased efforts in innovation and investment, expressing confidence in the Mandela Mining Precinct’s ability to make a substantial impact.

“My view is that as a country we need an equivalent of the Mandela Mining Precinct for all sectors in the South African Economy – where government, research institutions, labour and private sector work together to improve the performance of the sector.”

Mzila Mthenjane, CEO of the Minerals Council South Africa stressed the industry’s commitment to delivering a modern, safe, healthy, and inclusive mining sector.

“We must consider the impact of mining and the positive outcomes it can have, while we work hard to minimise what has been our tarnished legacy for employees, communities, society at large and the environment. A key way to do this is through the South African Mining Extraction, Research, Development and Innovation (SAMERDI) strategy,” Mthenjane commented. The MMP facilitates the implementation of the SAMERDI strategy.

Deputy Director-General of Research Development and Support at the Department of Science and Technology, Imraan Patel, reflected on the early days of the MMP and reaffirmed government’s support for the precinct, while emphasizing the need for similar collaborative initiatives across various sectors in the South African economy.

“Despite the current fiscally constrained climate, we must have a ‘growth’ mindset and focus on growing the MMP partnerships,” asserted the Deputy Director-General. “The mining equipment sub-sector was an important aspect of the SAMERDI strategy at the Mining Phakisa, and we need to retain and expand this focus,” he added.

“As we look to the future, we will continue to live a culture of creativity, learning, growth, and exploration while we nurture our woodlands of knowledge and discovery, knowing that every branch, every leaf, and collaborator contributes to the whole,” stated Courtnage.

For media queries:

Ntombenkosi Dyosop

MMP Communications Manager


Mobile: 078 174 8518

About the MMP

The Mandela Mining Precinct is the largest Public-Private Partnership of its kind in South Africa. It is a partnership between the Department of Science and Innovation, and the Minerals Council South Africa. The initiative is jointly hosted and managed by the Minerals Council and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. For more information visit

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