Ayear may be a long time in politics, but for me it has passed in a flash. For all that the Office Bearers Committee and I set out to do, there is always so much more still to be done. Nevertheless, I do feel that, by building on the hard work of my predecessors, we have maintained your Institute in a good situation, despite the chaos and uncertainty in the world we live in.
Mining and its associated technologies continues to be of great economic importance in southern Africa, so it is gratifying to see the increasing diversity—both geographically and demographically—of our membership. The establishment of new branches in Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, with more coming, is testament to our growing influence.
As we expand our membership so we should more frequently become a recognized voice in other fora, but in particular in those government departments concerned with the future of mining. We should, for example, be among the acknowledged leaders in the debate on nationalization, being able to offer a balanced view of how best to leverage the opportunity of mineral extraction for the benefit of entire populations. Indeed, with the advent of the BRICS we are taking the opportunity to further strengthen our ties with those countries as
Equally, our ability to attract record numbers of delegates to the various events organized both by ourselves and in partnership with other bodies, is not only satisfying but indicative of our broader reach. It is also appropriate to acknowledge the enormous and generous support that the SAIMM receives from the industry, both in sponsorship and participation.
Much is said in many different organizations about the need for effective communication. The redesign of our website to provide a more modern and user friendly experience has been well received. The ability to access the international OneMine database is I believe a great step towards upgrading the knowledge and hence the performance of our members. In addition, the revised Journal seeks to reinforce the image of the SAIMM as a modern forwardlooking organization of which our membership can rightly be proud.
What has been achieved and to what we aspire as an organization has been mentioned in the Annual Report. What I would say is that an Institute such as ours is only as good as its membership. We need more of the younger members to join the working committees and ensure that we fulfil the needs of our future leaders. As an organization we cannot ignore the real politik around us. The balance of power is moving east, a new order and set of rules is coming into play. The next generation needs to be aware of the likely consequences and to
help your Institute wise up to the new reality so that our membership and the organizations within which they operate can maximize value from the opportunities presented.
As I depart, I reflect that a single year does not in itself enable great change to take place; rather that as President one leads, with the guidance of the committee and the membership, the future direction of the Institute to enable it to flourish and be ever more relevant. I wish Professor van der Merwe all the best in carrying on the honourable traditions of President of the SAIMM, and to thank my colleagues on the committee and the membership at large for their support during the past twelve months.
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