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CSIR role in advancing the mining cluster

Publication Date: 
Friday, June 10, 2016

The first meeting after the mining component of Operation Phakisa was recently held at the CSIR’s Johannesburg facility, which will soon be known as the Mining hub.

CSIR Group Executive: Operations, Laurens Cloete, opened the meeting by welcoming all participants. “We are open to the institutional model mining will take,” said Cloete addressing representatives from the Presidency, Departments of Science and Technology (DST), Trade and Industry and Mineral Resources, the Chamber of Mines, Sibanye Gold, Anglo Platinum and the University of the Witwatersrand.

Contact Person

Tendani Tsedu

+27 (0) 12 841 3417

mtsedu@csir.co.za

The first meeting after the mining component of Operation Phakisa was recently held at the CSIR’s Johannesburg facility, which will soon be known as the Mining hub.

CSIR Group Executive: Operations, Laurens Cloete, opened the meeting by welcoming all participants. “We are open to the institutional model mining will take,” said Cloete addressing representatives from the Presidency, Departments of Science and Technology (DST), Trade and Industry and Mineral Resources, the Chamber of Mines, Sibanye Gold, Anglo Platinum and the University of the Witwatersrand.

“The CSIR has research impact areas,” explained CSIR Executive Director for Natural Resources and the Environment, Prof May Hermanus, “The impact areas allow us to tap into expertise across the organisation and coordinate it centrally”.

“The fact that we are here at the Carlow Road facility is significant,” remarked the Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation Strategic Projects Advisor, Edwin Ritchken, “Our objective today is to build momentum and look at how we can move from strategy to focusing on certain technologies for development and certain products for localisation”.

The meeting also entailed a tour of the facility, which will be funded by the DST for free rental to participants in the mining hub. The hub will host researchers and mining staff from various organisations. The facility will also be made available for technology demonstrations on site.

“The establishment of a mining precinct creates a space for researchers from various institutions and organisations to collaborate and work together, which means that there will be greater access to researchers and mining staff,” said CSIR Manager for Mining and Mineral Resources, Navin Singh.

Singh expanded, “The Mining Hub is founded on a ‘Hub and Spoke’ model based on a collaborative approach from all stakeholders (government, industry, state-owned enterprises, science councils and universities) such that there is greater return on the investment from each of the research sponsors”. He added, “The model provides for opportunities to have larger research programmes for building research capacity that will allow for development of technological solutions that is critically needed considering the current and future issues facing the mining sector.

The hub also coordinates research activities towards the revitalisation of mining for South Africa’s mining operations through the development of next generation mechanised mining systems. The hub is expected to be fully established by 2017 and operational by 2018.

The Mining R&D Hub will focus on three areas:

a. Current mining operations: The focus is to increase the efficiency of extraction and improve on occupational health and safety and reduce costs
b. Mechanised drill and blasting: To develop fully mechanised mining systems that will allow for the drilling of narrow hard rock mines (gold and platinum operations)
c. 24/7 Non-explosive rock breaking: To develop complete mining systems for extraction that are do not use explosives.

It is envisaged that the Mining Hub will be a public-private partnership and will be based on networks in the R&D, mining manufacturing and skills-development spaces and driven by stakeholder needs.

“The goal is to advance mining R&D and to make the South African mining industry more competitive,” remarked DST Chief Director: Advanced Manufacturing, Beeuwen Gerryts, speaking to the localisation programme. He continued to say, “We also need to improve the technological capabilities of local firms”.

Engagements are ongoing with stakeholders to finalise the quick-win projects for mining R&D, as well as the development of mechanised mining solutions. The CSIR will coordinate these activities. The opportunities, presented by the Mining Hub and the quick-win projects, from a CSIR perspective, will be the inputs into the CSIR mining strategy, which will be rolled out once internal processes are completed.