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Providing new solutions for mining research and development (R&D) and improving both the research and mining equipment manufacturing capabilities in South Africa is vital to drive the modernisation of the sector. The need for open innovation with collaboration between multiple parties will reconstitute the industry, enabling it to operate at its former peak.

The central theme of the symposium is Beneficiating three years’ of research, development and innovation, illustrating how research across the five research programmes enriches the value of the South African Mining Extraction RDI (SAMERDI) strategy to industry.

The Mandela Mining Precinct is a public-private partnership between the Department of Science and Innovation and the Minerals Council South Africa. The Precinct is jointly hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Minerals Council. The initiative is aimed at materially improving the technological base of mining in South Africa.

The symposium content has been meticulously curated for the two targeted audiences:

  • Industry, academia and science councils on the first day, 21 June; and
  • Learners, students, interns and young professionals in the industry on the second day, 22 June; with student-specific topics, thus tying in with June being Youth Month.

The content for the symposium will be strongly aligned to the overarching theme, as well as illustrating the relevance of the research to the DSI’s white paper on Science, Innovation and Technology. Other important sub-themes include the centrality of people in the modernising mining industry; and the digitalisation of the mining industry.

Topics will be covered in plenary and parallel sessions and include, inter alia: Research dissemination with a focus on solutions, as well as on trial and error problem solving; illustrating industry-focused research as well as the collaborative nature of research with transdisciplinary teams; the role of universities in SAMERDI, and the contribution of SAMERDI to the readiness of the mining industry to embrace IR4.0.

Confirmed speakers include Roger Baxter, CEO Minerals Council South Africa, Dr Thulani Dlamini, CEO CSIR, and Dr Thuthula Balfour, Head of Health, Minerals Council South Africa. International expert Ulrich Graf, IIC, Chairman of the Mining Vertical Group will speak on 4IR and digital transformation in mining.

The target audience includes relevant government departments including the Minerals Council, CSIR, universities and other higher education institutions, various science councils, equipment and services cluster and organised labour.

A draft programme will shortly be made available.

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