Speaking at the official opening of a permanent mining exhibition at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg, in April, Marek Dworzanowski, President of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM) said that ‘the mining industry in South Africa still has a bright future ahead of it’, and pointed out that part of the SAIMM’s role was to encourage learners to consider a career in the mining industry.

To ensure continuity within the mining industry, the Institute aims to establish a pipeline of mining and metallurgy graduates, and Dworzanowski believes that the exhibition is one of the ways people can be made aware of the opportunities offered by the industry.

At the opening ceremony which attracted 35 attendees, Sci-Bono CEO David Kramer stressed that the SAIMM-sponsored mining exhibition aims not only to provide learners with new insights into the mining industry, but also to educate the general public on the role of mining and the way in which it influenced their daily lives.

The role of the exhibition, while improving people’s understanding, is also to encourage enthusiasm about mining. ‘We need to attract talented young men and women into mining by helping them understand the opportunities that the mining industry offers,’ he said.

Kramer used the occasion to appeal to educators in the mining industry to provide their input on how to expand the exhibition and create a mobile mining exhibition that could, in future, be taken into Gauteng’s schools. Dworzanowski says SAIMM’s involvement in the establishment of the exhibition was in line with its commitment to ensure that the industry is able to assist and guide learners interested in entering, and those who have already entered the miningsector.

The exhibits, which are interactive and were built in-house by Sci-Bono, include a 4-ton tyre from an off-highway earthmoving vehicle; an interactive periodic table with images and descriptions; a map of the mining regions in South Africa highlighting where specific metals and minerals are found; and an display featuring mineral and metal manufactured products with descriptions of the mineral or metal.

There is an interactive wall with touch-screen televisions that show videos covering the entire mining process, from ore extraction to beneficiation. Mannequins clad in personal protective equipment and a re-creation of an underground mining environment are also on display, along with a core table that features drill cores from various mineral and metal deposit, as well as a percussion drill.

Sponsors of the exhibition include the Chamber of Mines of South Africa, the Council for Geoscience, the Gold Reef City theme park, computer equipment manufacturer Dell, information technology infra structure consulting firm Smart Computer Solutions, earthmoving equipment dealer Barloworld Equipment, mine support systems company New Concept Mining, resource and infrastructure-focused engineering project house TWP Projects, electrical contractor Dow’s Electrical & Lighting Supplies, mining equipment manufacturer Joy Global, and miners Impala Platinum, AngloGold Ashanti, Kumba Iron Ore, and Zincor.

Kramer says the exhibit is not yet complete, as further displays will be added over the next few years with the aim of turning the mining exhibition into a visitor attraction for Sci-Bono and the City of Johannesburg. This contribution was written by Chantelle Kotze of Creamer Media's Mining Weekly, and first printed in Mining Weekly on 18 April 2014.