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


09 March 2015 – Johannesburg: A life-size mining stope panel was handed over by New Concept Mining (NCM) to the Wits School of Mining Engineering on 6 March 2015, to help students learn about stoping activities through a better visualization of how a real mine looks.

The stope panel – sponsored to the tune of R250 000 by NCM – is part of a range of simulated facilities sponsored and developed at the School’s premises on West Campus, in partnership with companies active in the mining sector such as Aveng, Gold Fields, and Sibanye. These include a mine tunnel, mine shaft steel work, and a lamp room.

Professor Cuthbert Musingwini, newly appointed Head of the School of Mining Engineering at Wits, said: ’We are delighted to add this new facility to our School’s resources and grateful to be partnering with far-sighted stakeholders like NCM who share our dedication to skills and technology development.’

NCM marketing director Brendan Crompton said the sponsorship of the model stope panel was driven by NCM’s commitment to safety, efficiency, and productivity in South African mines. The SA-based company is a market leader in narr0w-reef stope support products, and has expanded into a number of countries worldwide.

’As a quality-focused company rooted in South Africa, we recognize that the future of our mining sector is built on the calibre and skills of graduates from institutions like Wits University,’ said Crompton. ’Partnering with the School of Mining Engineering at Wits is one of the ways that we contribute to sustainability and safety in mining, especially as we both prioritize technological innovation as a key factor in the success of the sector.’

Measuring some seven metres in length, the model stope was constructed from a metal framework, mesh, and concrete. Sculptor Russell Scott used various materials and techniques, including hand-packed cement and layers of paint, to achieve the realistic effect of a working stope face in an underground platinum mine.

The panel dips at 10 degrees, has a stoping width of one metre, and extends some three metres on strike. It has been equipped with various items of support infrastructure to demonstrate to students the variety of technologies employed underground. These include timber props, timber packs, rockbolts, and safety nets suspended near the working face.

NCM has contributed roof support equipment both from its own range of products and from other sources. It is also making available some of its electronic monitoring and warning devices in the stope, augmenting the School’s focus on digital remote monitoring technologies to enhance safety on mines.

Like the recently completed model mine tunnel, the stope panel is situated in the basement of the School of Mines premises, where it incorporates one of the building’s beams as a geological feature.

Professor Fred Cawood, former Head of the School, initiated construction of the stope panel as part of his digital mine research at Wits Mining. These simulated facilities form part of the ‘digital mine’ environment which is providing invaluable tools for learning and research, bringing a real mine experience to mining engineering students at Wits.

’Most of the 200 first-year students we welcome each year are straight from school and have never been in a mine before,’ said newly appointed Head of School Professor Cuthbert Musingwini. ’Although mine visits are arranged from time to time, this facility gives easy access to students – so that they can visualize and test what they are studying theoretically.’

’While the facility is invaluable for our teaching work, it will also be made available to our research students as they push the boundaries of productivity with digital and other technology in mining,’ said Professor Cawood. ’Now more than ever, South Africa needs to encourage and facilitate research that can stimulate our mining sector; through facilities like these, Wits School of Mines is showing its commitment to doing that.’

SAIMM Advert button072017inner

SAIMM on twitter

Other mining news

Mining Weekly | Africa

The latest mining world news and project information from Africa.
  • NUM declares dispute with MCSA, Solidarity to continue gold wage negotiations
    The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Tuesday declared a wage dispute with the Minerals Council South Africa (MCSA), after the MCSA on Tuesday presented a conditional revised offer, subject to trade unions removing the other claims from the table. The dispute comes amid the gold producers having tabled increase offers ranging from R675 for category four to eight, as well as for surface and underground workers, and 5% for artisans, miners and officials.
  • South Africa's new coal-fired plants must have emissions technology
    South Africa's first privately built coal-fired power plants must have the latest technology to reduce harmful emissions, the energy minister said on Tuesday, as a wave of court challenges threaten to derail the projects. Environmental activists have taken legal action against the new Thabametsi and Khanyisa coal-fired projects and are also lobbying banks and developers against investing in them.
  • Seriti’s Teke awarded Brigadier Stokes Memorial Award
    The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy has awarded coal producer Seriti Resources CEO Mike Teke with a Brigadier Stokes Memorial Award for his contribution to the mining industry and his leadership role in society. The platinum medal presented to Teke last week by Seriti’s outgoing president Professor Sehliselo Ndlovu is considered the highest honour to be bestowed by the mining and metallurgical sector.