JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Independent consultant Dr Paul Jourdan on Thursday called on South Africa to cease sending people down dangerous deep-level mines and introduce remote machinery to mine at depth.
He was speaking at the Southern African Mining Supply Chain Conference and Strategy Workshop, which was hosted by the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and the Mandela Mining Precinct, in partnership with mining supply chain clusters, alongside the Local Southern African Manufacturing Expo at Nasrec’s Johannesburg Expo Centre.
Jourdan, who is the former CEO and a current board member of Mining Equipment Manufacturers of South Africa (Memsa), said that South Africa needed to devise systems of using remote equipment to mine ultra-deep mines and that people should no longer be put at risk in these mines.
He made these comments against the background of research, development and innovation (RDI) taking place at the Mandela Mining Precinct in Carlow Road, Johannesburg, to provide the know-how necessary to modernise and mechanise mining equipment. The Mandela Mining Precinct has been successful in coordinating collaboration among government departments, the mining industry and researchers to improve mining.
RDI is taking place there as programmes proceed to position South African mining capital goods, components, product manufacturers and service providers as a cost competitive, innovative and transformative industrial cluster, which is targeting the mining equipment market of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. Calculated as a single economy, two-thirds of SADC exports are mined minerals.
“Mining Charter III is really a move forward from a local manufacturing point of view. Mining Charter III recognises that we have to create jobs in the supply chain,” was Jourdan’s comment to Mining Weekly Online.
In the offing in the SADC region are more than 300 mining projects worth $100-billion and Jourdan would like to see development taking place that keeps as much of that $100-billion as possible in SADC itself.
“That’s the challenge and the opportunity, and our companies are ready to take that up,” he said.
Memsa, which was formally established in 2016, has more than 30 member companies that are supported by both government and private sector bodies.
“It’s just a matter of how we ramp up,” he said.
Memsa CEO Ossie Carstens described the potential scope, role and value of the South African mining services cluster as a current “hot topic where local content truly lies”.
The Southern African Mining Supply Chain Conference and Strategy Workshop, which has initiated conversations, collaboration and shared strategic thinking in the development of South Africa’s local mining supply chain, is capitalising on the opportunities supported by Mining Charter III.
The presentations and the workshop focused on practical strategies towards the development of existing capacity and capability in South Africa to meet the needs of local and regional markets.
“We need to hone our skills here and prepare ourselves to export into the Southern African Development Community and the rest of Africa, and that will give us enough experience to export in the global market,” Carstens told the conference covered by Creamer Media's Engineering News Online and Mining Weekly Online.
The intention is to meet the needs of regional markets for capital goods, consumables and services.
Thursday's workshop was facilitated by Gary Lane and Anthony Mello of Vuuma Collaborations, which is also located at the Mandela Mining Precinct. Vuuma helped the workshop to come up with practical solutions. SiMINE, another of their initiatives, is promulgating experiential simulation to help the development of systems and digital skills.
“We’re creating a test bed for the mine of the future,” said Mello. SiMINE has built most of the digital aspects at the Mandela Mining Precinct and communicates through a sharing programme.
Systems capability is being driven through globally spread physical mining simulation.