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  • SAIMM President 2018/2019 – Alastair Stuart Macfarlane

    SAIMM President 2018/2019 – Alastair Stuart Macfarlane

    On the 16th of August 2018 Alastair Macfarlane was inducted as the SAIMM President for 2018/2019. The students and members attending the AGM welcomed him as president with applause. We look forward to the impact that Alastair Macfarlane will make during his year in office.

    Towards the future: African Mining Vision, Mining Phakisa and the SAIMM

    Recent winds of political change blowing through the African continent have created the hope of a new dawn for the mining industry, and for renewed impetus to support the African Mining Vision.

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  • Conference Review: Copper Cobalt Africa

    Copper Cobalt Africa, hosted by the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM), took place from 10 to 12 July 2018. The conference was held in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia, a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the mighty Victoria Falls. Recent strong rises in the prices of copper and cobalt, coupled with increasing international interest in developments in the African Copperbelt, attracted over 300 delegates, representing 22 countries.

    CuCoAfrica Dignitaries: L-R:
    Mooya Lumamba (Director of Mines and Minerals, Zambia), Jackson Sikamo (Chairperson and Country Manager at Chibuluma Mines Plc, Zambia), Sehliselo Ndlovu (President: SAIMM), Paul Chanda (Permanent Secretary: Zambia Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development), Sokwani Chilembo (CEO Zambian Chamber of Mines), Darius Muma (Zambian Branch Chair: SAIMM), Kathy Sole (Conference Chair: Copper Cobalt Africa 2018).

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  • Obituary - Emeritus Professor Dee Bradshaw

    Obituary - Emeritus Professor Dee Bradshaw

    Dee Bradshaw
    22 Sept 1958 to 7 June 2018

    Emeritus Professor Dee Bradshaw passed away on 7th June 2018 after a courageous battle with cancer, just a few months short of her 60th Birthday. Throughout her illness, Dee remained a leading light and inspiration to students, colleagues and professionals across the globe. A major highlight for her in 2018 was the launch of her book “Green Mining: Beyond the Myth” at the Two Ocean’s Aquarium ahead of the Annual Mining Indaba - attended by senior representatives of the Minister of the Presidency, AngloGold Ashanti and the University of Cape Town (UCT) as well as colleagues, students, friends and family. The book culminates a career of thought leadership, a passion for people and minerals in collectively addressing complex, intractable problems in society.

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From the President's Corner

  • Seeing the value of the SAIMM

    Being the President of a professional organization like the SAIMM can be quite demanding. However, it’s not always stressful because there are quite a few pleasures and privileges that accompany the job. One of the significant pleasures is the interaction with members at all the numerous events that are organized by the Institute. Here you get to talk and listen

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  • Diversity and Inclusion in the Minerals Industry

    A number of studies have confirmed that there is a positive relationship between diversity and business performance, and that diversity in leadership roles is what tends to define the success of a business. This is because knowledge creation and application is enriched by a variety of skills, experience, and cultural diversity. The more diverse a team, the more perspectives, the

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  • Upskilling the heroes of the mining industry

    I recently had the pleasure and opportunity to listen to one of the most well-known and admired person in South Africa; the former Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela. She gave keynote addresses at the International Women’s Day celebration hosted by the Motsepe Foundation and at the pre-AGM dinner for the Chamber of Mines (now known as the Minerals Council South

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From the Journal Comments

  • SOMP Regional Conference

    This edition of the Journal is dedicated to the Society of Mining Professors 6th Regional Conference 2018, which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 12 to 14 March. This Conference was hosted by Mining Engineering Education South Africa (MEESA) and the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM). MEESA is comprised of the School of Mining Engineering at

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  • From the Editorʼs desk

    The range of topics and the locations of the authors in this month’s edition is an indication of the international nature of the Journal, which is confirmed by the fact that of the 141 papers that were published in the Journal in 2017/2018, 58 were from outside South Africa. This is one of the criteria that ensures that the Journal

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Market News

  • KSB Pumps for University of Pretoria laboratory

    Professor Josua Meyer, Chairman of the School of Engineering and Head of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering of the University of Pretoria KSB Pumps and Valves has assisted the University of Pretoria in the construction of a large controlled-temperature test unit, which will form the backbone of ongoing research into heat transfer, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics. The impressive unit will allow

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  • Roadmap to interoperability

    How can the mining industry meet the challenges of interoperability? GMSG is building a path forward. Monday, April 9, 2018. Interoperability is a large, intricate, and complex issue that can inhibit technological advances in the international mining industry. Players hold widely different views and interpretations as to scope, content, application, and end state. Indeed, GMSG has identified interoperability as a

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‘Christmas is coming, the goose is really fat.

Please put some lolly in the poor families’ hat’ Parody on a Christmas chant This is the appropriate time to express the hope that all readers have a joyous festive season and to convey my best wishes for the forthcoming year. But it is also the time to pick out some items that relate to features of the industry in 2007. Very pleasingly, there have been a lot of papers on the mining aspect, many of which relate to mine planning, decision making and the selection of mining methods. It is fitting that in this end-of-year issue there are several papers on this topic including the application of ‘fuzzy logic’ to assist in decision making.

Of course the most important considerations in vital decision making are guidelines based on experience, expertise and familiarity with the theoretical aspects of rock mechanics. But it could be of value to be involved in the statistical approach so that in time a database can be built up to reduce the ‘fuzziness’ in the mathematical approach. One of the dominant topics in mining is the focus on mine safety and the concerns that have been expressed at many levels at the fatalities that have hit both gold and platinum mining operations in the last few months. Fatalities in mining are in the same category as road fatalities in that there is only one way to reach a zero target and that is to ban all humans on roads and in mining underground. I hesitate to join the band of armchair experts who pontificate on these tragic events and pronounce on the steps that have to be taken to expose and punish those deemed to be responsible.

But I must confess that I am surprised at the ‘fuzzy’ logic of the Chamber of Mines in joining hands with the National Union of Mineworkers on an across-theboard strike to protest against the recent accidents. All those involved in industry and government have expressed their distress and determination to allocate highest priority to safety aspects. A work stoppage would achieve nothing. What would be far more effective is not a polarization between management and workers but an affirmation of a determination to collaborate in attacking a frustratingly difficult problem. What a wonderful inspiration it would have been for the COM, NUM and the mining companies to join hands in an alternative approach. Rather than incur the losses of a one-day shutdown, they could allocate an equivalent amount of money to a fund to compensate the families and dependants of those killed or disabled. Another paper in this December issue that attracted my attention is that on the cleaner production (CP) assessment of the fine-coal waste material arising from most mines.

Coal was certainly a major topic during 2007, not so much in terms of papers in this Journal but in hitting the headlines in the media and in public opinion. This was the result of the frantic drive on the part of Escom to increase power production to meet the ever increasing demand. In reaching all-time records in exports, local consumption and prices, coal mining has emerged not as the Cinderella of the mining industry compared with gold and platinum but as a respected member of the billionaire club in terms of economic importance. Regretfully there were not only highlights but also lowlights, in the media focus on the degradation of farming areas and the environmental impact on water resources from the ubiquitous acid mine drainage (AMD).

The paper describes work at the University of Cape Town sponsored by the Water Research Commission, in identifying ways of avoiding the production of utilizing the fine-coal wastes, which seem to be inevitable in South African coal mines. It is claimed that there is a production of over 10 million tons a year of such material, and the energy value of these fines is of the same order as the run-of-mine coal (24 megajoules/kg). The assessment protocol focuses on an evaluation of various options to avoid dumping of these fines, for example by coarser grinding, or using the fines for the production of power or alternative fuels such as briquettes for low cost domestic use. Conversion to methane or liquid fuels is also considered as alternative ways of using these waste materials. Feasibility studies based on net present value calculations are then used to select the best clean production technology to be adopted.
However, like so many environmental assessment protocols and reports, there is little experimental evidence, and often this leads to rather superficial conclusions. For example, in this paper, no mention is made of the sulphur content of the fines which I believe is generally higher than in the coarse coal fractions and the fines are discarded to meet specifications. The sulphur is the crucial factor in the production of AMD, which has caused so much comment. Separation of coal and the sulphides such as in pyrite or organic sulphides in the coal, although not impossible, is not a matter of a simple flotation process, as implied in the CP assessment report. From several previous Journal Comments, readers will know that I rate the AMD problem as one of the ‘majors’ in what should be a national research initiative, particularly if coupled with the potential for utilizing the energy value of these coal fines in this time of power shortages. It seems that the DME feel likewise, and it was pleasing to learn that they have sponsored a chair of Clean Coal Technology in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand. So let us look forward to many research papers appearing in our Journal on coal from this group.  R.E. Robinson December 2007