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The mining modernisation industry study tours hosted by the SAMERDI Successful Application of Technologies Centred Around People (SATCAP) programme provided a welcome opportunity for industry participants to get a glimpse of cutting-edge research and technologies, to engage around the opportunities and challenges of skills development for modernisation, and to network and engage in creative conversation on modern skills development and training methodologies to support modern mining.

Under the direction of the SATCAP Programme manager Dr Sherin Ramparsad, immersive events have been held at the Wits Mining Institute’s Digimine facility and the University of Pretoria’s VR centre, with a third event held at the University of Johannesburg on 27 May. Participants in the two events had the opportunity to experience advanced technologies in action, including simulated blasts, remote sensing applications, and the use of drone technologies of the Wits Mining Institute, as well as virtual truck inspections at UP’s virtual reality centre, amongst others.

The study tour at University of Johannesburg (UJ) immersed stakeholders in a simulated mine. The UJ ‘mock mine’ study tour allowed for stakeholders to experience (touch, feel, see, smell) modern mining innovations.

The immersive study tours designed through the SATCAP Programme allows for creating an environment for stakeholders awareness, understanding and more acceptance of mining modernisation. In addition, capacity building, networking and collaboration was a focus.

Change management activities are included in the programme as an ongoing reminder of what it takes to make the adoption of advanced technologies work in practice, and sessions are concluded with the opportunity to reflect on learning and debate all aspects of skills development for modernisation.

Mining modernisation study tours have been well attended by industry stakeholders and research partners, including organised labour, MHSC, MEMSA, education authorities (merSETA and MQA) the Mandela Mining Precinct team, CSIR, universities and research partners. While adherence to COVID-19 protocols are limiting the number of attendees at the study tours, this does not detract from the participation, learning, collaborating, capacity building and working towards the development of modern workforces for modern mines.

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