In September 2020 the Mandela Mining Precinct will celebrate two years since its launch on the site of the old CSIR Centre for Mining Innovation. Below are some highlights of our efforts to date to revitalise mining research, development and innovation (RD&I) in South Africa.
Placing people at the heart of technology
The Successful Applications of Technology Centred Around People (SATCAP) research programme gained momentum in 2019. In the 2018/2019 financial year, the SATCAP foundational studies were completed, and stakeholders were consulted on recurring research themes. This guided the review and alignment of the programme’s research agenda with the needs of a modern mining workforce. Through stakeholder consultations, SATCAP was able to shape its research agenda.
The research programme seeks to understand how people relate to each other and with technology in the mining environment. It complements and connects the other five SAMERDI research programmes addressing various aspects of mechanisation and digitalisation.
By working closely with organised labour, SATCAP research will help mine employees and their representatives to understand and support mining innovation, and how they can adapt to changes that affect them.
“SATCAP has people at its heart,” says programme manager Dr Sherin Ramparsad. The SATCAP approach is deeply rooted in two principles: The fundamental dignity and wisdom inherent in every participant in the minerals value chain; and the understanding that nothing will be done “for us, without us”.
Introduction of an industry test mine
The Mandela Mining Precinct is at an advanced stage of establishing a test mine that will serve as a vehicle for the modernisation of the mining industry.
It is being developed in collaboration with industry and will be used for RD&I, industrial training and technology demonstrations.
“The test mine supports the Mandela Mining Precinct’s vision to facilitate healthy, safe, informative, transformative and economically sustainable solutions to advance the South African mining cluster for the benefit of the continent,” says programme manager Jurgens Visser.
Future editions of Mining Minds will contain more detail about this exciting initiative.
Digitalisation of the mining industry
A suite of technologies being developed by the Real-Time Information Management Systems (RTIMS) research programme were demonstrated to stakeholders at the Mandela Mining Precinct in late 2019.
The technologies included a visual position system that incorporates proximity detection, collision avoidance and predictive analyses; and an enterprise architecture framework that incorporates new technologies and people working side-by-side to enhance operational efficiencies.
“The digital mine of the future includes multiple data-gathering and monitoring technologies,” says RTIMS programme manager Jean-Jacques Verhaeghe. “Our research is looking at how to get this data to the surface, and how to use it to drive safe and efficient mining operations.”
Technology Atlas fills a capability gap
The Technology Availability and Readiness Atlas (TARA) enables local OEMs to market their commercially available offerings to industry, enabling mining houses to stay abreast of local capabilities.
TARA is an online platform on which OEMs can profile the specifications and performance of technology and equipment.
The Mandela Mining Precinct, in collaboration with the Mining Equipment Manufacturers of South Africa, is proud to pioneer this exciting new online initiative.