Another year, filled with unprecedented challenges and changes, is rapidly drawing to an end. Inevitably, it is that time of year when we reflect on what has been, and what the last year means to us. Some days it still seems as though what we’ve been through over the past two years belongs in a Hollywood movie, not in our backyards. The SAIMM as a living institute has not been untouched by the impact of the global pandemic either. Since March 2020, no face-to-face conferences have been hosted, and major events have been cancelled or postponed. In response, we embarked on embracing digital content, including regular webinars and digital technical events across many themes. In October and November alone, over 600 delegates logged into SAIMM events to participate in technical workshops, conferences, and webinars across a broad range of themes. The SAIMM continues to develop its digital platform, and forthcoming hybrid, offerings to reach its membership as well as the broader mining and metals community. Via the Global Mineral Professionals Alliance (GMPA) the Institute collaborates with like-minded member associations around the world, and the future of such associations increasingly relies on closer collaboration as digital content removes geographical boundaries.
While everyone is longing to attend physical events, to network with colleagues, to see old friends –the digital era has presented opportunities for broader participation. Digital and hybrid events have provided new ways to capture know-how like never before, and we can be proud of the efforts of the SAIMM team during the past year or so in this regard. Members can access the library of recorded webinars via the membership portal.
Not only did the team adapt with grace to the new digital formats, but they also had to physically move out of the Marshalltown offices. The Minerals Council decided to give up the large office capacity we’ve come to associate with the home of SAIMM. The team, under the leadership of Sam Moolla, has packed up the SAIMM offices over the past few months, and had to adapt to working full-time from home offices while alternatives are being investigated. With the uncertainties associated with the future of work, and the future of office space, the team will continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future. The SAIMM had to adapt, like many of us, to permanent and accelerated changes over the past year, all of which required exceptional creativity and commitment from individuals. The SAIMM team’s perseverance in tough times has been an inspirational journey. In the meantime, the team will be meeting regularly at venues kindly made available by generous company affiliates in our network, and if you find them at your offices, take the opportunity to share a cuppa with them, an ideal opportunity for us to engage and share experiences and ideas for events.
Anyone who’s ever moved after staying in one home or office for an extended time knows that in the inevitable packing process you realize you have excess stuff, especially if you downsize. Over many years of publishing, the SAIMM has accumulated a great number of high-quality books and conference proceedings. As part of our downsizing efforts, a book sale is being held, and members can view a list of the books available via the following link: (Books for Sale) or contact Sam Moolla at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about collection and delivery options.
In the year ahead, the SAIMM will be officially launching a new committee focussing on ESG-related matters. We will be reaching out to our members to participate and establish this important pillar as a dedicated focus area: for our members, by our members. The SAIMM motto Capaci occasio means ’To the capable the opportunity’, and this truly remains the cornerstone of our value proposition as an Institute – namely, to support the development of capable professionals. The brilliant painter Vincent van Gogh expressed in a letter to his brother Theo in October 1882 the following sentiment:
’Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.’
The SAIMM as an entity exists because of many contributions by past and current members, and through their efforts we have created a great organization. My hope for all our members is that we all continue to contribute to an opportunity-rich year, individually and as a community in Southern Africa and beyond. As we head into the summer holiday season in the southern hemisphere: may the roads of opportunity in 2022 rise to meet you.