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Since the dawn of civilisation, the development of the human race has depended on the discovery, processing, development and use of materials. So significant were certain materials that stages in technological progress are marked by the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages.

When gold was first discovered on the Witwatersrand in 1886, few people, even in their wildest dreams, believed that reserves could last over a hundred years and become the mainstay of South Africa’s mineral industry. It has been the anchor of these value-adding activities which also produce coal, steel, platinum, chromium, ferrochrome, manganese, vanadium, titanium, diamonds and other minerals. The minerals industry continues to dominate South Africa’s foreign exchange earnings.

The exploitation of minerals sparked off the development of an industrial society unequalled on the African continent and attracted investment capital from abroad, stimulated agriculture, industrial development, and extensive transport and financial infrastructure. In recent years there have been several large ventures based on minerals such as aluminium, stainless steel, titanium projects steel production, besides a huge number of small scale mining operations.

South Africa possesses huge reserves of chromium, iron, uranium, platinum, vanadium, titanium, lead, zinc, manganese and many other metals required by many countries as the basis for the production of goods. Most of these reserves consist of ores that are complex in character and research is necessary before effective processes for their beneficiation can be put into operation.

The minerals and metals industry has created many opportunities for employment and career development – “Build through education”. The University of the Witwatersrand, University of Pretoria, and the University of Johannesburg have their roots in the School of Mines established in 1896 in Kimberley. Strong minerals and metals departments exist at these institutions, and other ‘minerals and metals-related’ courses are now also established at several other institutions of higher learning in South Africa.

The minerals and metals industry directly employs many of the economically active population of South Africa, and is a major contributor to the South African economy. While the number of persons employed in the mining industry has declined over the past decade, the employment in associated materials technology has increased. This follows the trends in the developed countries of the world, all of which continue to rely on the raw products from developing nations like South Africa.

South Africa is a major world producer of platinum, gold, coal, chrome, iron ore, diamonds and many other minerals, and has developed the skills and technology to add value to minerals by producing steel, copper, stainless steel, and more recently, aluminium for the world market.

The success of the South African minerals and metals industry in the past has been due to its people. There is no doubt that the future holds challenges and rewards for new generations choosing one of the many careers that the minerals and metals industries offer.

The major mining companies have become international role players with operations on nearly every continent, providing new opportunities to their employees. The experience gained in South Africa can be applied in the rest of Africa, Australia, or North America making you truly a citizen of the world.

Scholarship Fund

The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy established a Scholarship Trust Fund for students in Mining and Metallurgy at South African tertiary educational Institutions in 2003. The fund holds some reserves for future years in order to smooth the flow of monies to the Institutions. Considerable funding has come from the SAIMM itself as it has contributed R150000 each year; but significant funds have been donated by individuals in the minerals and metals industry or by the smaller companies operating in the industry.
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GRADUATE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES:
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Places to study

  • University of the Wiwatersrand -Chemical & Metallurgocal Engineering

    The School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering was formed in 1995. It is the first of its kind in South Africa. It is the combination of the former Departments of Chemical Engineering and Metallurgy and Materials Engineering. At present, the School has about 400 undergraduate students, and about 80 post-graduate students. About half of the post-graduate students are employed in industry, and their research work is of interest to their employers.

  • University of the Witwatersrand -Geosciences

    The Wits Faculty of Science is one of the leading Science Faculties in the country and has an excellent track record in both teaching and research. Staff are highly competent scientists and educators who are committed to providing quality learning environments. Our courses and qualifications are on par with the best in the world as evidenced by their recognition by prestigious major institutions abroad. The aim of the Bachelor of Science degree is to develop graduates with a sound training in core scientific disciplines. On graduating our students have acquired the basic academic skills of scientific problem solving and an appreciation of the scientific method. An additional year of study leads to a teaching qualification, or a more specialized Honours degree.

  • University of the Witwatersrand - Engineering

    The Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment is at the forefront of creating wealth by providing society with well-educated, entrepreneurial graduates in engineering and built environment programmes. The Faculty's seven schools of * Architecture and Planning * Civil & Environmental Engineering * Chemical & Metallurgical Engineering * Construction Economics & Management * Electrical & Information Engineering * Mechanical, Industrial & Aeronautical Engineering * Mining Engineering

  • UNISA - Science

    Apart from the many fascinating phenomena waiting to be discovered and explained, studying the natural sciences fosters the important skills of analytical and creative thinking. Unisa science qualifications are internationally recognised and open the door to a variety of exciting and worthwhile careers in industry, education, and basic or applied research. In this site, we shall introduce Unisa and in particular our Science Faculty, and describe the special ways by which students study science at Unisa. This site will also explain how to select the qualification and subjects most suited to your needs.

  • UNISA - Engineering

    Department of Civil and Chemical Engineering Unisa (Florida Campus) Private Bag X6 Florida 1710 Phone: 011 670 9000 Department of Electrical and Mining Engineering Unisa (Florida Campus) Private bag X 6 Florida 1710 Phone: 011 670 9000 Department of Mechanical and industrial Engineering Unisa (Florida Campus) Private bag X 6 Florida 1710 Phone 011 670 9000

  • University of Stellenbosch - Process Engineering

    As engineers, we play pivotal roles in the chemical processes used to convert raw materials into valuable products, as well as optimising the processes used to extract minerals from the ore in which it is found. By using our science and engineering theory, we are able to develop various industrial manufacturing processes and to make them more efficient. In this way, we contribute to the development of globally competitive industries in South Africa.

  • University of Stellenbosch - Geology

    This Department will provide the best possible environment within which both staff and students can maximise their potential, for the benefit of South Africa, through sound and practical training in our disciplines, research and scholarship.

  • Univerity of Limpopo

    The School of Physical and Mineral Sciences is run at both Campuses of the University of Limpopo , i.e., Medunsa and Turfloop Campuses. The School comprises of three departments, namely, Chemistry, Geology, and Physics; three centres, namely, Materials Modeling Centre, centre for Micro-Analysis and Microscopy, and the Science Centre; and Water and Sanitation Institute. Geology and Water and Sanitation are presented at the Turfloop Campus. Details of the offerings by the School are in the School calendar, as well as in the web page.

  • University of Pretoria - Geology

    Welcome to the home of Bushveld Geology, Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, Geodynamics, and Natural Hazards research in South Africa. Essentially everything of geological consequence north of the Jukskei River belongs to us. The Department of Geology at the University of Pretoria teaches two major undergraduate and honours study programmes, in (1) Geology and (2) Environmental and Engineering Geology (encompassing also Hydrogeology at honours level).

  • University of Pretoria - Mining

    Our Department ensures the supply of engineers and knowledge to industry by being the preferred African source of mining engineers and knowledge, through the optimal use of skills. We offer opportunities to the maximum number of students and use positive competition to guarantee continual improvement.

  • University of Pretoria - Metallurgy

    Metallurgical engineers change the world around them – by extracting metals from ores, by producing and shaping alloys, and by contributing to economic development. This Department similarly helps to shape and refine the people we work with. We have much to offer in terms of degree programmes, research opportunities and continuing education. We pride ourselves on the quality of our teaching, research and industrial contacts and laboratory facilities.

  • NorthWest University

    Chemical engineering entails the research, development, construction, industry and management of industrial processes, by which elements are converted either chemically or physically into products of higher economic value. The modern chemical engineer makes use of mathematical and chemical ingenuity to develop, optimise and maintain industrial processes.

  • University of KZN

    In 2005 the Faculty of Science and Agriculture will offer programmes at the Howard College, Pietermaritzburg and Westville campuses. However, not all programmes or majors are offered at all campuses. In particular, Agriculture is offered only on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

  • University of Johannesburg

    The Department of Mine Surveying is one of 16 Departments located in UJ’s Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment. It enjoys strong links with the mining industry, including the Department of Minerals and Energy Affairs and the Institute of Mine Surveyors South Africa. The Mine Surveying Department at UJ is the only one in South Africa offering a full-time contact programme in Mine Surveying, equipping graduates to competently carry out the duties of a mine surveyor.

  • Univeristy of Cape Town- Geology

    The department was initially founded in 1895 as the School of Mines at the South African College which later became the University of Cape Town.