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Mining Precinct|Africa|Efficiency|Gold|Health|Innovation|mandela mining precinct|Mining|Platinum|Resources|Safety|Sustainable|Systems|Training|Equipment|Solutions|Environmental|Operations
mining-precinct|africa|efficiency|gold|health|innovation|mandela-mining-precinct|mining|platinum|resources|safety|sustainable|systems|training|equipment|solutions|environmental|operations

Time to fulfil mine modernisation plans optimally to boost mining efficiency, extend mine life, preserve jobs

2nd November 2018

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

     

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Virtually every mining company you talk to has plans to modernise its operations and it would be beneficial for the industry to share information publicly about what is working best.

This is because successful modernisation will be a major boon not only to the mining companies themselves but also to the South African economy.

On the other hand, failure to modernise will curtail wealth creation and put a large number of jobs at risk.

Mining Weekly has put this message out on several occasions. It has generally done so using information and calculations provided by Minerals Council South Africa. These calculations show the potential for modernisation to extend mine life materially.

Simultaneously, mining and mining-related employment can be extended significantly, safety can be improved and health risk can be reduced.

Modernisation also provides the opportunity to mine lower-grade orebodies and to access deeper resources that would otherwise be left unmined.

While much depends on the ruling market prices of the metals and minerals involved, calculations made at times of relative price buoyancy have pointed to modernisation being able to spawn the equivalent of several large new mines within existing mine concessions.

Without modernisation, local gold mining production in particular will begin to drop sharply as early as next year and die out completely by 2033.

Similar considerations apply to South Africa’s platinum mines, although their resources are nowhere near gold’s exhaustion level.

But preserved by modernisation will be 592-million tonnes of gold resources and 360-million tonnes of platinum resources.

It is not about replacing people with machines but about the development of new mining equipment and new mining systems that help people to be more productive and keep them out of the vulnerable areas.

The concomitant skills development will lead to better pay, more opportunities for career growth and, hopefully, more personal fulfilment, along with better sustainable development in the form of improved community development and environmental protection.

If conventional mining continues, the jobs of 200 000 people stand to be affected directly and the lives of two-million people indirectly.

If conventional mining gives way to better methods, more foreign exchange can be earned by South Africa and more tax paid into the fiscus.

The Mandela Mining Precinct and Mining Equipment Manufacturers of South Africa are already taking steps to provide innovative and cost-effective solutions to South Africa’s mining challenges.

Action taken by Minerals Council South Africa has been to declare mining innovation a strategic pursuit as it plays its role in a public–private partnership at the precinct, where universities and technical and vocational education and training colleges are also being drawn in to contribute.

These active organisations have the capacity to bring about much-needed revitalisation and they should be given every assistance.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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