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The looming skills crunch in mining and the need to join hands

Mining schools in South Africa have taken advantage of the global slowdown to significantly roll back skills shortages in the mineral sector, but academia and business need to boost their educational partnerships to avoid being caught short by the next recovery.

The output of graduates in mineral-related disciplines rose substantially in recent years – driven in part by increased involvement of the private sector in university course offerings. The Mining Qualifications Authority reported in 2011, for instance, that graduations in chemical engineering had risen 13.5 per cent annually, followed by geology at 13.3 per cent, metallurgical engineering at 12.9 per cent, mechanical engineering at 9.9 per cent, and electrical engineering at 7.8 per cent. While this is by no means enough to eradicate the shortages our industry faces, it is an encouraging trend that demonstrates what can be achieved by effective partnerships.

SANCOT and the International Tunnelling Association (ITA)

The South African National Committee on Tunnelling (SANCOT) was formed in 1973 during a phase of extensive infrastructure
development in South Africa, in particular the construction of the km long Orange-Fish tunnel. This followed the success of the 1970 TUNCON conference in Durban, after which it was decided that it would be useful to form a body covering the interests of owners, designers, contractors, researchers, and suppliers in the underground construction industry. SANCOT has been active since this time, promoting the use of underground space, exchanging information, and arranging conferences and seminars.

Introduction to our new President...

MAREK DWORZANOWSKI: Marek was born and educated in the United Kingdom. He attended the University of Leeds where he studied Mineral Processing, graduating in July 1980 with a BSc Honours. During 1979 he worked as a vacation student at Hartebeestfontein gold mine in South Africa and decided that on graduation he would start his mining career in South Africa. As it turned out he has spent his entire mining career to date in South Africa. Marek was recruited by Union Corporation, just before it became Gencor, in 1980. He decided that he would not start his career at a gold or coal mine but instead started at Impala Platinum in Rustenburg. His first job was as a concentrator metallurgist at the central mineral processing plant, where he underwent a graduate training programme followed by project work on cyclone classification and flotation reagents.

Report for ITA World Tunnel Congress 2013, February 2013

The South African National Committee on Tunnelling (SANCOT) remains active in promoting tunnelling and the use of underground space. SANCOT functions as a committee within the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM).

On 3 December 2012 SANCOT held a one day seminar entitled ’South African Tunnelling 2012 – Lessons Learnt on Major Projects’ followed by a half day visit to the Ingula Pumped Storage Project the following day.

PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS 2013

The role of metallurgy in enhancing beneficiation in the South African mining industry M. Dworzanowski

Beneficiation, in the context of this paper, has two distinct definitions. From an economic perspective beneficiation relates to adding value to a mined raw material as opposed to simply exporting the raw material, in which case other countries will benefit from the value add potential. From a metallurgy perspective beneficiation relates to processes used to upgrade the mined raw material. Clearly then, 'economic beneficiation' is dependent on 'metallurgical beneficiation'. South Africa possesses the world's largest mineral resources by value and is the world's largest producer of many mined commodities.

Brigadier Stokes Memorial Award Winner 2013

   30531 resized_huw_phillips1_04-07duane1             Congratulations to

Prof Huw Phillips
 on receiving the 
Brigadier Stokes Memorial Award   

Download the citation
by Huw Ronald Phillips.
(PDF 199KB)
                                                                         

Diamonds - Source to Use 2013

Re-reading the foreword in the 2010 Diamonds Source to Use Conference proceedings reminded me of the turmoil that the industry was in at that time. Since then, the survivors have dusted themselves off, new allegiances have been forged, and junior mining companies have made significant acquisitions and elevated themselves to the ranks of the majors.

Obituary Ben Alberts

Barend Christaan Alberts suffered a stroke and passed away on Tuesday 8 April, 2013. The mining industry mourns his passing at the age of 74. Known by his younger colleagues as ‘Baas Ben’, he left deep footprints in the development of the South African mining industry, as well as internationally. He was a devout Christian and family man, and together with his wife Ansie and his family we are all blessed to have had the privilege of his life with us.

Obituary Danie Krige - South Africa’s Giant of Geostatistics

Danie Krige - an international household name to anyone who studied or practised the science of evaluating mineral resources for mining purposes, died recently in
Johannesburg.

While his name may not be familiar to many people outside the field, so new and revolutionary were his ideas – applying mathematical statistics to the spatial evaluation of orebodies – that the processes he developed were named after him, becoming known in the industry as ‘kriging’. This technique has helped improve ore evaluation methods and reduce the financial risk of investing in mining projects.

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Other mining news

Mining Weekly | Africa

The latest mining world news and project information from Africa.
  • Walkabout granted lithium licence in Namibia
    Australian junior Walkabout Resources, which is developing the Lindi Jumbo graphite project in Tanzania, is to explore for lithium in southern Namibia. Walkabout was granted a second exclusive prospecting licence (EPL 6308), giving the company a footprint of more than 1 500 km2 in the Orange River Pegmatite Belt in the Karas region.
  • Eskom rejects call for inflation-capped hike, as Nersa gears up for Dec 7 decision
    State-owned power utility Eskom has rejected calls for its 2018/19 tariff to be capped at the level of inflation, arguing that such a move would be financially unsustainable as it would result in a revenue reduction, which would further squeeze its liquidity and could place the country’s credit rating at further risk. Several business organisations, individual companies and civil society groups called on the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) to restrict the hike to consumer price inflation, or lower, arguing that Eskom should improve its sustainability by embarking an aggressive cost cutting and by addressing serious allegations of corruption and wasteful expenditure.
  • Shanta reaches cost-reduction goal
    In keeping with its previously announced strategy of optimising the financial performance of its operations, Aim-listed Shanta Gold has reduced annualised costs by $5.1-million, the company said in a statement on Monday. The company noted that the full benefit of this reduction would be achieved by the end of the first quarter of 2018. “The cost reductions are mostly comprised of renegotiated contracts with suppliers, lower headcount and eliminating non-essential spending,” said CEO Eric Zurrin.