The mining industry, modernised

The Mandela Mining Precinct seeks to revitalise mining research, development and innovation. Here’s what it’s doing to ensure the mining industry’s sustainability.

21 April 2022

The MMP is also tasked with identifying what the industry needs to prepare mines of today for the future.

Currently, the country’s very deep mines (like gold and platinum) are getting deeper and deeper. This increases costs, complexity (more infrastructure is needed in very deep mining conditions) and safety risks. In addition, the orebodies (a connected mass of ore in a mine) being mined are quite narrow, which means that conventional mining equipment is not as effective as it could be. According to Beeuwen Gerryts, chief director for technology localisation, beneficiation and advanced manufacturing at the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), couple these challenges and complexity with the fact that commodity prices haven’t increased in recent years, and you have a highly unsustainable industry.

Unless something changes. Innovation, modern mining equipment, mechanisation and digital technologies can create entirely new mining techniques, which, in turn, open opportunities to ensure the future of the sector.

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