The SAIMM is a professional institute with local and international links aimed at assisting members source information about technological developments in the mining, metallurgical and related sectors.
twitter1 facebook1 linkedin logo


Mike Deats graduated from Wits in 1954 with a degree in mining engineering and began his career with De Beers. A move to Iscor saw him rise to a position where he was responsible for all of Iscorʼs mining activities. He joined BP Southern Africa as Managing Director, BP Coal SA, in 1981 before moving to Eskom in 1988, where he reached the position of Executive Director, Generation, prior to his retirement in 2000.

Contribution to the 114th Annual General Meeting
I was unable to attend the proceedings of the 114th Annual General Meeting last year and noticed with some pleasure and pride Ben Albertsʼ award of the Brigadier Stokes Memorial Award.

I worked for Iscor Mining for nearly 25 years and was his late fatherʼs protégé, and Ben ended up being seconded to me by Hans Coetzee in 1975 as I was then in charge of the opening up of the Waterberg Coalfield Project. He came from Samancor and was exposed to my rather unique style of management/mentorship. Hans indicated to me that he wished the Ben Alberts dynasty to be perpetuated in Iscor, but not for young Ben to be spared the whip. I didnʼt need any encouragement along these lines ...

However, not to damn Benʼs achievements with faint praise, I must add to his list of commendees a whole host of people and institutions that led to the successful accomplishments in the Waterberg. Press-ganging, shanghai-ing, dragging under protest of numerous cabinet ministers and, senior officials to site where they were brainwashed into the importance of establishing a mine and power station, were the order of the day. Not least among these was Water Affairs, who did not have the slightest intention of building a dam on the Mogol River when first approached.

Similarly, the late Hendrik Schoeman and Braam le Roux, when pushed into building a railway line between Thabazimbi and Ellisras ... thought we were nuts! We also hauled a 600 ton P&H electric shovel along the railway servitude from Grooteluk to Thabazimbi to cut the costs of dismantling the shovel when Thabazimbi was in dire straits regarding shovel capacity.

The top brass of Eskom did not have a power station up north in their planning in the 1970s but the coking coal mine could not have been mooted without a major power station offtake – this took some extensive persuasion.

We also ran out of money, and Dr Conrad Strauss from the Standard Bank came to our rescue with a massive loan. The Iscor mining team – headed up by myself and Ben during the period 1975 to 1981 – need to be recognized for their herculean efforts in establishing the Grootegeluk/Matimba project.
Contribution from Mike Deatsa

SAIMM Advert button072017inner

SAIMM on twitter

Other mining news

Mining Weekly | Africa

The latest mining world news and project information from Africa.
  • PTM’s continued listing plan accepted by the NYSE
    The NYSE has accepted Platinum Group Metals’ (PTM’s) plan to regain compliance with the continued listing requirements of the stock exchange. The company is not currently in compliance with NYSE listing standards, but its listing is being continued pursuant to an exception.
  • Ghana approves Gold Fields, Asanko JV
    The Ghanaian government has granted regulatory approval for the completion of Gold Fields’ joint venture (JV) with Canada-based Asanko Gold. Gold Fields and Asanko announced in March that the JSE-listed major would buy a 45% interest in the Asanko gold mine (AGM), in Ghana, for $185-million.
  • BlueRock resumes production at Kareevlei
    Aim-listed BlueRock Diamonds has resumed production at its Kareevlei mine, in Kimberley. The company had reported earlier this month that a fault had been identified in the cone crusher within the crushing circuit at the mine, which was negatively affecting throughput.