2. Confirmation of minutes
4. Honorary Life Fellowship
5. Brigadier Stokes Memorial Award
6. Announcement of awards, medals, and certificates
7. Announcement of student prizes
8. SAIMM 5 Star Incentive Programme and Top Advertiser in the Journal
9. Annual report of the Council and accounts for the year ended 30 June 2021
10. Declaration of election of Office Bearers, members of Council and other positions for the year 2021/2022
11. Election of auditors and honorary legal advisors for the year 2020/2021
12. Outgoing Presidential Award
13. Induction of President—I.J. Geldenhuys
14. Presidential address
15. Vote of thanks
South Africa’s mining and metals industries have an illustrious and complex history dating back to the Late Iron Age. We live in a complex and data-intensive world that has already fundamentally changed how we work and live. In 2020, the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic resulted in immeasurable suffering worldwide, but the crisis also accelerated many technological developments and the way we think about, and experience, technology and work.
We already know there will be more changes to how we work, how we think, and how we build things. We may not yet understand what these changes will be, but we know that technology and the workforce will evolve. Moreover, this also applies to how we mine, extract, and produce metals. In our selected fields in the minerals industry, we transform data into applied solutions through creativity, insight, and skills. Problem-solving requires new and rapidly changing skills to manage the data tsunami, to name but one megatrend. At the rock face or on the processing plant, fundamentals have not changed, although how we interact with the minerals and their properties has changed dramatically—sustainable processing and design are non-negotiable if we genuinely want to achieve the cradle-to-cradle principle.
The famous paragraph by Charles Dickens reads: ’It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.’ It almost seems like Dickens time-travelled to 2020 and wrote these words about our experiences, about our history. But, unfortunately, amid overwhelming events and changes, the idea of looking to our scientific history to broaden our ability to problem-solve is often forgotten. So as we venture forth into the season of light and the age of wisdom, what can scientists, engineers, technologists, and mathematicians learn from history?
Is there, then, still value in the body of knowledge that the SAIMM has curated for more than 125 years of existence? History is just data presented in a context; sometimes, the context is also important. We exist in an age of data, with most of the world’s data created in only the past two years (as indicated by data growth statistics), and machine-generated data will reportedly account for 40% of internet data in 2021. History can enhance our understanding of the present and enhance our future outcomes. History can be valuable in teaching ethics as it provides strong evidence of how the context in which things happened was equally important in shaping the engineers and scientist working to solve problems. Lessons from history can help provide insights into making ethical and sustainable choices related to technology or engineering in the mining and metallurgical industry.
Shifting the perspective of mining and metallurgy professionals from a narrow focus on complex technical solutions towards a broader context for problem-solving and designs that include the entire ecosystem is crucial. In other words, using or reflecting on historical process development is, at its core, systems thinking.
ISABEL GELDENHUYS BIOGRAPHY
Isabel Geldenhuys was born in 1970 in Pretoria and spent most of her childhood in Clayville, a suburb of Olifantsfontein. Her formative schooling years started at Olifantsfontein Primary School, and she completed her high school career in Centurion in 1988. Isabel holds a BEng degree in chemical engineering from the University of Pretoria and has completed an MEng degree in metallurgical engineering (cum laude) from the University of Stellenbosch. She is a registered professional engineer and a Fellow of the SAIMM.
During her final school year, Isabel was selected from many applicants to spend a gap year at the South African Women's Army College as part of the 1989 intake. She joined 220 young women in George for a year of military training, mainly focused on leadership development. The year in George, away from family and school friends, laid the foundation for her lifelong passion for leadership development. After completing the gap year, she was fortunate enough to qualify for the chemical engineering programme at the University of Pretoria, where she was active in charity and community-based projects throughout her studies.
As a fresh graduate, her career almost took a direction into polymer research, but fortunately, the CSIR opted to release her from her bursary obligations, which led to her appointment in March 1996 in Mintek's Pyrometallurgy Division. At Mintek, as an engineer-in-training, Isabel discovered her passion for pyrometallurgy. Entranced by the subtle science and exact art of pyrometallurgy, she was privileged to work with many leading experts. Mintek's pyrometallurgy group supported her technical development and an in-depth understanding of the engineering and business principles of the metallurgical industry. At Mintek she developed expertise across various commodities, specializing in open-bath smelting processes for ferrochromium, titaniferous magnetite, ilmenite, precious metals, ferronickel, and various waste materials, among many others. In 2021 she started a new career as an independent consultant but continues her association with Mintek as a consulting pyrometallurgist.
Isabel represented Mintek at numerous conferences as a seasoned presenter with a passion for telling a story. She is the author and co-author of 19 conference and journal papers, over 80 technical reports, the inventor of processes, and frequently presents at technical conferences and events. Her involvement in the SAIMM stems from her passion for her community. She believes that the SAIMM offers professionals a unique opportunity to give back to the community and the country.
In her early 40s she tackled and completed three Comrades Marathons and ran the Great Wall of China marathon – she believes in regularly challenging herself, both personally and professionally. In the last few years, Isabel has combined her love of running and the environment with plastic litter activism via 'plogging' (picking up litter while jogging). She never leaves for a run or a walk without a bag (and sanitizer) to pick up litter. She shares her life with her soulmate, Carl Bergmann, also a metallurgist. Together they adore their brood of rescue cats and two German Shepherds, and love spending time in their garden or hiking in their local nature reserve.