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The Mandela Mining Precinct (MMP), the largest public-private partnership of its kind, signed a ground-breaking agreement with five unions representing the majority of 450 000 mineworkers to ensure that all direct stakeholders can participate at a strategic and policy level in its research and development planning for a modernised mining industry. The MMP-Organised Labour Consultative (OLC) Forum was formally established on 26 October 2021 with the signing of a Terms of Reference at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) International Conference Centre, in Pretoria, giving effect to its formation.

The founding of the forum is another milestone in the Precinct’s history, one that ensures that all industry stakeholders have a say in mine modernisation. A public-private partnership between the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and the Minerals Council South Africa (MCSA) to establish the MMP was launched in 2018, with the aim of revitalising mining research, development and innovation (RDI) in South Africa to ensure the sustainability of the industry.

Hosted jointly by the MCSA and the CSIR, the MMP seeks to revitalise mining RDI in South Africa to ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry.

The trade unions included are the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, the National Union of Mineworkers, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, Solidarity and the United Association of South Africa.

The Precinct regards organised labour’s participation and input in the programmes to modernise mining to make it safe and sustainable as critical to the success of this work.

As a model for greater collaboration in an innovation ecosystem, the Precinct has already brought together industry players – from companies to original equipment manufacturers, as well as academics and academic institutions to find implementable, game-changing solutions to some of the industry’s toughest challenges.

The inclusion of organised labour has been long anticipated and was initiated through the South African Mining, Extraction, Research, Development, and Innovation (SAMERDI) Successful Applications of Technology Centred Around People (SATCAP) research programme, and it goes towards ensuring meaningful involvement of organised labour in the modernisation agenda.

The OLC Forum will engage regularly with MMP management on current research, deliverables and future projects.

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