The end of 2007 marks the close of one of the most exciting years in the history of the Southern African mining industry. I have been involved with the industry only since 1969. The nearest I have been to the rocketing growth that is currently being experienced was when the United States dropped the gold standard, and in a few years the price of gold escalated from $32 per ounce to nearly $850 per ounce. We experienced a massive growth in gold mining. In the current high demand for commodities we have seen prices of nearly all the minerals mined in Southern Africa reach new highs, with a corresponding increase in capital investment and major brownfield and greenfield expansion.
This, in turn, has resulted in many job opportunities in mining and a realization that the lean years have left us with a substantial skills shortage, plus an age gap where we have a few grey heads and many youngsters, but are short of the in-betweens. The SAIMM now has established, or is in the process of consolidating, new branches in Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe where, with the help of our members, we plan to carry out the key objectives of our Institute. These can be summarized as: to disseminate scientific and technological knowledge and to identify, represent and promote the interests and needs of our members and other professionals in the mining and metallurgical industries. I am sure 2008 is going to be just as hectic as 2007 has been. So please take this opportunity at the year end to relax and recharge your batteries. Follow the mining emphasis on safety, and take care while travelling. Have a blessed Christmas and a joyful New Year. R.G.B. Pickering President December 2007
- Written by R.G.B. Pickering