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Effective engagement eases WULAs in South Africa

SRK – media release on navigating complexity of WULAs

Effective engagement eases WULAs in South Africa

As South Africa pays closer attention to managing its scarce water resources, it has inevitably become more complex to apply for water use licences; however, there are experts providing support through this process.

“For the best results, the water use licence application (WULA) process really needs close and constant engagement with the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), as well as the various technical specialists who conduct studies for the application,” said Avril Owens, principal environmental scientist and associate partner at SRK Consulting. “Specialised consultants can help applicants to streamline this process.”

For instance, there is often insufficient information at the early stages of a project to meet application requirements, but the process is generally initiated early because it can be lengthy. To deal with this challenge, environmental experts can be consulted in the concept phase, and can start the WULA process with detailed information gathering and review. This assessment of available data helps determine the best way forward, including detailed schedules with clear permitting milestones, roles and responsibilities and action plans to close identified information gaps.

Owens noted that the DWS Electronic Water Use Licence Application and Authorisation System (e-WULAAS) has been a significant step forward in streamlining the application process.

“This online system allows for uploading of documentation and assists DWS with tracking and reviewing the application,” she said. “It also allows vital communication to be conveyed to and from applicants.”

She highlights that structured communication protocols with DWS officials are important throughout the application process. These protocols may vary between the different case officers and therefore agreed upon channels of communication at the beginning of the process is vital. The officials manage multiple applications, which may impact on their availability to address ad hoc queries regarding specific project requirements. There may also be slightly different technical requirements between the various DWS regional offices, making it crucial for these to be outlined early on.

It can happen that the DWS case officer changes during the application, pointed out Giulia Barr, senior environmental scientist at SRK Consulting, therefore communication is key to bring the new case officer up to speed.

“This provides context to assist with the application review – facilitating decision making within the timeframe,” said Barr. “It is also a good idea to select one person per project or site to engage with DWS – so that there is continuity in communication.”

A WULA hinges on scientific specialist assessments and/or engineering designs. A consultants’ assistance is invaluable in terms of integrating and sharing this information with the project team. Integration and sharing information takes considerable time and effort, often requiring technical integration workshops at key stages of the project where the needs and challenges of specific disciplines can be addressed to meet the DWS WULA requirements

Owens noted that a common complication in WULAs is when there are project changes, after the application process has commenced, affecting water uses and associated mitigation measures –.

“These changes can affect the specialist assessments, incur extra cost and cause schedule delays,” she said. “It is advisable that a scope freeze be agreed upon upfront and signed off as the impact of scope changes may be challenging to mitigate.”

Words in article: 662

FUCHS LUBRICANTS SOUTH AFRICA introduces latest calcium sulphonate grease for mining

FUCHS LUBRICANTS SOUTH AFRICA introduces latest calcium sulphonate grease for mining

22 April 2024: One of the world’s largest global diversified natural resource companies has standardised on FUCHS’ RENOLIT CSX ULTRA across all its heavy mobile equipment, following extensive testing. The calcium sulphonate complex grease is now being blended locally by FUCHS LUBRICANTS SOUTH AFRICA for its extensive mining customer base, reveals Dave Gons, Mining Export Technical Export.

“RENOLIT CSX ULTRA rom FUCHS is a grease capable of meeting and exceeding all major mining OEM grease performance criteria at a sustainable cost,” says Gons. It is in line with changing maintenance practices as mining operations push to reduce the number of products used on-site.

A simple lithium grease has a typical dropping point of about 190°C, which is the temperature at which it transitions from a semi-solid to a liquid. However, a lithium complex grease can withstand even higher temperatures, with a dropping point of up to 260°C.

“Calcium sulphonate greases have superior high-temperature performance,” notes Gons. Their dropping point and high-temperature life are superior to that of lithium greases, allowing them to operate at elevated temperatures.

They also perform better than lithium grease in terms of oxidation resistance, making them much more stable under challenging conditions. Another benefit is higher mechanical stability compared to lithium greases.

Thus, they are less prone to leakage and runout during operation. They also act as a natural rust inhibitor, whereas lithium complex greases often require additional rust-inhibiting additives. The ongoing shortage of lithium also makes them much more expensive to produce.

“RENOLIT CSX ULTRArom FUCHS offers several advantages, particularly in the context of sustainability and rising lithium prices,” notes Gons. It performs well even at elevated temperatures, making it idea for arduous applications such as mining.

It maintains its consistency even in the presence of water, which is crucial for mining equipment that is often exposed to chemically treated water or other process fluids. In addition, RENOLIT CSX ULTRA resists breakdown or shear and retains its consistency under operating conditions with high water contamination.

It provides robust protection against wear and extreme pressure for enhanced equipment longevity. The optimised base oil viscosity ensures a thicker lubricant film to protect against shock loading, heavy loads, and boundary lubrication. It also guards against corrosion, especially in harsh environments.

“In mining applications in particular, RENOLIT CSX ULTRA provides excellent extreme pressure protection by forming a durable lubricating film. It reduces wear and extends the life of critical components such as pins, bushes, slew gears, and slew bearings,” explains Gons.

Other applications are heavily loaded roller bearings and plain bearings in rotating, oscillating, and sliding contact pins on excavators, rope shovels, loaders, dozers, and haul trucks – all which require a multipurpose grease, whether in mining or construction, which means a single product can be used effectively to cover an entire fleet.

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Connect with FUCHS LUBRICANTS SOUTH AFRICA on Social Media to receive the company’s latest news
Facebook: @FuchsLubricantsSouthAfrica https://www.facebook.com/FuchsLubricantsSouthAfrica

LinkedIn: Fuchs Lubricants SA https://www.linkedin.com/company/fuchslubricantssa/?viewAsMember=true

Notes to the Editor
To download hi-res images for this news article, please visit http://media.ngage.co.za and click the FUCHS LUBRICANTS SOUTH AFRICA link to view its press office.

About FUCHS
FUCHS develops, produces, and markets high-grade lubricants and related specialties for virtually all industries Founded in 1931 as a family business in Mannheim, FUCHS is now the world's largest independent supplier of innovative lubricant solutions, covering almost every industry and application. Today, the company’s 6 000 employees in over 50 countries still share the same goal: To keep the world moving both sustainably and efficiently.

To live up to this claim, we think in terms of perfection, not merely standards. When developing individual solutions, we enter into an intensive customer dialogue – acting as an experienced consultant, innovative problem solver and reliable team partner. The results we provide meet not only the highest technological requirements, but also help customers save on operating costs and emissions. Because at FUCHS, sustainability is not simply an empty phrase, but a mindset – and thus the basis and aspiration of all our business activity.

FUCHS LUBRICANTS SOUTH AFRICA Contact

Kayla Van Vught
Marketing Specialist
Phone: (011) 565 9738
Email: kayla.vanvught@fuchs.com
Web: www.fuchs.com/za

Media Contact

Rachel Mekgwe
Senior Account Executive
NGAGE Public Relations
Phone: (011) 867 7763
Cell: 074 212 1422
Email: rachel@ngage.co.za

Web: www.ngage.co.za

Browse the NGAGE Media Zone for more client news articles and photographs at http://media.ngage.co.za

Empowering workers by incentivising responsible workplace behaviour and financial discipline

Empowering workers by incentivising responsible workplace behaviour and financial discipline

By Steve Mallaby, CEO, adumo Payouts

In the ever-changing landscape of workforce management, adumo Payouts recognises the importance of encouraging responsible workplace behaviour and financial discipline, especially considering the growing challenges employees encounter in managing their finances. Introducing the versatile adumo incentive card as a dependable backup fund not only enhances the overall advantages of incentivisation for both employees and their respective companies, but also addresses the pressing need for financial stability.

For many workers, the cycle of receiving a salary and quickly spending it is a common financial struggle. This hasty spending often leaves individuals with little to no savings, making it challenging to build a secure financial future.

adumo Payouts understands the profound impact this immediate spending has on workers’ ability to save. Without a buffer for emergencies or future planning, financial stability becomes an elusive goal for many employees.

Enter the adumo incentive card, a gamechanger in the quest for financial discipline. Unlike regular salaries, the funds on the adumo incentive card cannot be garnisheed, providing workers with a secure financial backup that empowers them to manage their finances responsibly. In a legal context, a garnishee involves taking an amount from someone’s wages or bank account to pay back money owed.

More than just a financial tool, the physical adumo card becomes a proud symbol for workers, representing their financial independence and the ability to control their financial destiny. It symbolises a shift from mere earners to being responsible financial managers in charge of their own future.

For those questioning the necessity for incentives when workers are already receiving a salary, adumo Payouts provides a strategic insight. Incentivisation goes beyond regular pay. It serves as a powerful motivator to achieve production and safety targets, boosting productivity, and cultivating a positive workplace culture.

Moreover, incentivisation is not just about benefiting employees. It significantly enhances a company’s credibility and standing as a responsible corporate citizen. Investing in the well-being and financial security of their workforce, companies not only enhance their reputation, but also nuture positive relationships with employees, trade unions, and the community at large.

Incentivisation is a key tool to maintain a good standing with trade unions. Highlighting a commitment to the financial health of workers, companies can build positive relations with unions, fostering a collaborative and mutually beneficial work environment.

Incentivisation has a ripple effect beyond the individual worker. By boosting spending power, it stimulates economic activity within the broader community, contributing to a positive cycle of growth.

adumo Payouts’ innovative approach to incentivising responsible workplace behaviour and financial discipline goes beyond traditional payroll systems. The adumo incentive card not only addresses immediate spending challenges but also empowers workers to take control of their financial future. By embracing incentivisation, companies not only boost productivity, they strengthen their credibility as responsible corporate citizens committed to the well-being of their workforce.

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Connect with adumo Payouts on Social Media to receive the company’s latest news
Facebook
: https://www.facebook.com/adumogroup

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/adumo/

Notes to the Editor
To download hi-res images for this release, please visit http://media.ngage.co.za and click the adumo Payouts link to view the company’s press office.

About adumo Payouts

Physical and digital prepaid, secure payout solutions for South African businesses.

Trusted by over 500 corporates and backed by Mastercard, our transactional card products empower you to recognise and reward positive workplace behaviours.

adumo Payouts Contact

Steve Mallaby
CEO
Phone: (011) 290 9931
Email: steve@adumo.com
Website: www.adumo.com/payouts

Media Contact

Andile Mbethe

Account Executive
NGAGE Public Relations
Phone: (011) 867-7763
Cell: 073 565 6536
Email: andile@ngage.co.za
Web: www.ngage.co.za

Browse the NGAGE Media Zone for more client news articles and photographs at http://media.ngage.co.za

End-of-life planning for mines requires careful planning and assessment

PRESS RELEASE

End-of-life planning for mines requires careful planning and assessment

13 March 2024: Due to the nature of mining, the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (No. 28 of 2002) requires mines to have an environmental management programme in place, with the necessary funds allocated to it for closure before a mining permit is issued.

Mining and heavy industry are always evolving as new technology results in new methods and optimised operations. As such, consultation may occur in multiple stages during a facility’s lifespan, most notably after major upgrades or changes to on-site infrastructure.

“Wherever there is industry, there is a need for end-of-life planning. Africa’s rich and diverse mineral reserves are perfect for continuous improvement in systems and processes, in turn leading to more challenging and exciting planning opportunities,” comments Kate Bester, Project and Contracts Manager at Jet Demolition.

The company provides professional on-site demolition assessments to large mining houses and industrial clients whereby experienced staff conduct on-site investigations of existing infrastructure. The main aim is to determine the cost, resources, and schedule details relating to the demolition aspects of future closures.

More crucially, however, it is an opportunity for early involvement in final closure planning, which may ultimately result in an optimised closure approach. Such an assessment extends beyond measuring and quantifying what is present.

It affords the opportunity to identify, record and plan for heritage on-site conditions that may require special attention, allows for the identification of assets that may be transferred or sold prior to closure, and also considers options with regard to the timing, sequencing, and execution of closure.

The highly experienced members of the engineering and operations department at Jet Demolition who carry out these assessments possess various qualifications such as MSc degrees and engineering diplomas, combined with extensive practical experience.

The safety and environmental teams also contribute to these studies, enabling full turnkey consultation with clients. This process ensures that all major items are carefully considered during pre-closure planning, aligning budgetary provisions with the final adopted approach.

While on-site assessments do not necessarily translate into additional scope of work, they do build on existing client relationships. “We have always focused on providing comprehensive, turnkey services to our clients. Demolition assessments are part and parcel of our turnkey demolition solutions,” highlights Bester.

“There have been many projects throughout Africa where on-site assessments have been carried out successfully at large mining houses and heavy industrial plants. We provide practical, cost-effective and safety-centric solutions to technically demanding projects. Our reputation and experience in industry is well-suited to assist clients with preparatory works and detailed planning in order to best plan for end-of-life of large facilities,” she concludes.

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Connect with Jet Demolition on Social Media to receive the company’s latest news
Facebook
: https://www.facebook.com/JetDemolition/?ref=br_rs
LinkedIn
: https://www.linkedin.com/company/jet-demolition-pty-ltd/

Notes to the Editor
To download hi-res images for this release, please visit http://media.ngage.co.za and click the Jet Demolition link to view the company’s press office.

About Jet Demolition

Jet Demolition has been undertaking industrial demolition works since 1994, and is the leading, largest, and most technically-advanced demolition company in Africa. It offers in-house, full-range demolition services, including advanced mechanical solutions and controlled implosions. It actively pursues ongoing development of skills and equipment suited to the changing needs of the industry.

Jet Demolition is a technically-based company, with various staff members holding MSc, BSc, and BTech Degrees, as well as National Diplomas, in various engineering fields. This expertise gives it the technical foundation to successfully engineer solutions for large and complex demolition projects, and furthermore fuels its drive to deliver quality projects safely. Jet Demolition strives to offer its clients innovative and technical solutions to demanding demolition challenges.

Jet Demolition Contact

Kate Bester (NDip Civil Engineering - PMP)

Project and Contracts Manager

Phone: (011) 495 3800

Cell: 072 811 5310

Email: kate@jetdemolition.co.za

Web: www.jetdemolition.co.za

Media Contact

Rachel Mekgwe

NGAGE Public Relations

Phone: (011) 867 7763

Fax: 086 512 3352

Cell: 074 212 1422

Email: rachel@ngage.co.za

Web: www.ngage.co.za

Browse the NGAGE Media Zone for more client press releases and photographs at http://media.ngage.co.za

Proudly SA designed and manufactured solution to clean compressed air effectively

NEWS ARTICLE

Proudly SA designed and manufactured solution to clean compressed air effectively

(Date) 2024: ISO-Reliability Partners has taken another step in bringing to market highly effective solutions to combat contamination in all its forms. The locally designed and patented Air Wizard inline water trap is proudly manufactured in South Africa. It has been SABS tested for the separation of water, oily fluids, rust and solid particulates from pneumatic compressed air or gas lines.

“Anyone operating a compressor understands the ongoing problems associated with water and contaminants in compressed air lines,” comments ISO-Reliability Partners CEO Craig Fitzgerald. Air Wizard is a solution for compressed air treatment that efficiently removes water and solid particulate matter without any need for servicing, maintenance or consumable costs.

It is fitted with a unique patented condensate drain mechanism that allows for the collection and removal of condensate, oil, rust and any other foreign particle from the flow path, without unnecessary air loss during the automated purge and discharge cycle.

“Our homegrown solution to clean compressed air is highly efficient, effective and consumable free,” points out FitzGerald. The Air Wizard extracts about 97% of free water in the system which, in turn, reduces corrosion and protects tools, air motors, instruments and other equipment being driven by compressed air.

The product has been SABS pressure tested to over 12 Bar or 1200 kpA. The pneumatic water trap passed SABS efficiency tests with an average 96.85%. “This makes Air Wizard the most effective solution available to industry – and, the best of all, it incurs zero operational or maintenance costs,” highlights FitzGerald.

Water condensation is a by-product of compressing air. The quantity of water collected by an air compressor depends mainly on the ambient air quality, humidity levels, operating pressure and inlet condition.

In simple terms, air temperature, humidity, compressor size and operating pressure determine the amount of water that will collect in the air tank. This moisture affects the entire system, including piping and connections. Considering that hot, humid air has a higher moisture content than cold air, water vapour is created within the compressor.

To counteract this, numerous high maintenance accessories exist in the market, including condensation separators, aftercoolers, refrigerant dryers and adsorption dryers. These known accessories have varying degrees of efficiencies and associated continuous maintenance and high service costs.

As water is the predominant contaminant found in compressed air systems, the focus has always been on water removal. However, many other contaminants are found in air systems that are not removed by these accessories. These include micro-organisms, oil vapour, atmospheric particulates, dust, rust and pipe scale. “Air Wizard stands apart not only due to its affordability, but through the removal of all foreign particulate matter,” adds FitzGerald.

Water moisture is known to be highly problematic to pneumatic systems, instruments, air motors, actuators and valves and air powered tools. In addition, any components or machines connected to the pneumatic system are impacted, resulting in potential contamination or quality variances of the end product.

Adverse effects of pneumatic system contamination results in excessive maintenance and shorter equipment life, corrosion and rust within the piping system and equipment, damage to pneumatic controls and quality concerns. Freezing can result in cold weather conditions, damaging control lines.

“To avoid unnecessary and excessive maintenance costs and potential downtime, it is always recommended to be proactive,” stresses FitzGerald. Implementing the necessary steps to keep compressed air dry, clean and suitable for your application is highly recommended.

“ISO-Reliability has just made that process so much easier with its innovative Air Wizard automated pneumatic water trap,” says FitzGerald. The solution is a simple addition into existing lines to immediately reduce load on existing accessories, lowering maintenance costs and mean-time-between servicing.

Moisture circulating within an air system can have various undesirable implications, such as increased risk of corrosion, machinery lubricants being washed away and accelerating the rate at which metal parts rust. “The undesirable effects of retained moisture translate into a higher total cost of maintenance as compressor parts require replacement more often than usual,” explains FitzGerald.

Industrial manufacturing processes require particulate-free and moisture-free air to function properly. The presence of water in compressed air lines, combined with corrosion, can block circulating tubing and reduce process efficiency. Precision instruments are particularly affected by system contaminants, resulting in regular unnecessary replacement.

Various industrial processes incorporate pneumatic control systems to regulate critical production equipment. The presence of water within these air regulated systems significantly reduces productivity as malfunctioning controls lead to costly maintenance and downtime.

Condensation and particulate matter in a compressed air reservoir causes debris to accumulate within the air circulation system. This water coalesces with other solid impurities like dirt and oils and damages cylinder and valve systems.

These mixtures can narrow airflow tracts and dry out lubrication on machinery parts, slowing down production speeds. Further, compressed air contamination can damage rubber components of equipment valves, causing them to stiffen or even rupture.

Quality defects of finished products becomes a key concern in the food manufacturing industry in particular. The presence of condensation in a compressed air system has dire consequences. Pneumatic systems are used to manufacture, dry and seal packaging for perishable foods, making end-product quality an essential requirement.

If impurities from the compressed air enters packaged food items, there will be a significant alteration in the quality, potential bacterial contamination and reduced shelf life of the finished products.

ISO-Reliability Partners is a Level 2 accredited B-BBEE contributor that owns the iconic Filter Focus brand and provides lubrication products and services with a foundation in tribology and hydrocarbon ISO cleanliness.

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About ISO-Reliability Partners

ISO-Reliability Partners has consolidated knowledge and expertise and provides industry with substantial and quantifiable improvements to plant and asset protection. We combine expertise in the fields of filtration, lubrication, and tribology, offering an advanced and comprehensive service to our customers.

The well-being of the environment is of key concern but is often overshadowed by business needs. Through the more efficient use and handling of commodities such as fuel and lubricants, we reduce pollution through lower usage and disposal of lubricants, conserve electricity usage while achieving higher production output and provide greater asset protection and an overall lowest cost of ownership.

ISO-Reliability Partners is a Level 2 accredited B-BBEE contributor that owns the iconic Filter Focus brand and provides lubrication products and services with a foundation in tribology and hydrocarbon ISO cleanliness. Unlock the hidden and lost value in your business operations with world-class technology provided by ISO-Reliability Partners, your partner in improved efficiencies.

ISO-Reliability Partners Contact

Craig FitzGerald

Phone: +27 10 449 6414

Email: craig@iiso.co.za

Website: www.iso-reliability.com

Media Contact

Andile Mbethe

Account Executive
NGAGE Public Relations
Phone: (011) 867-7763
Cell: 073 565 6536
Email: andile@ngage.co.za
Web: www.ngage.co.za

Browse the NGAGE Media Zone for more client news articles and photographs at http://media.ngage.co.za

R943bn mooted govt infrastructure spend is good news for zinc sector

NEWS ARTICLE

R943bn mooted govt infrastructure spend is good news for zinc sector

19 March 2024: In his budget speech on 21 February, the South African Finance Minister outlined the government’s plans to invest over R943 billion in public infrastructure over the next three years to support the refurbishment and maintenance of existing assets and build new infrastructure. The government’s mooted Infrastructure Investment Plan will promote projects in six key sectors, namely energy, water and sanitation, transport, digital infrastructure, human settlements, and agriculture and agro-processing.

The Finance Minister also outlined reforms aimed to streamline the supply chain, improve efficiency, and ultimately attract greater private sector participation. “Supporting public infrastructure investment, I am proud to announce that as part of this budget, we are introducing fundamental and far-reaching reforms to infrastructure financing and delivery,” he said. Through these reforms, greater efficiency gains and infrastructure delivery will be fast-tracked. This will benefit all sectors, social infrastructure, PPPs, and projects with other finance mechanisms.

“If the South African government actually means what it says, and from past experience we are gravely doubtful, then this is good news for the zinc and galvanizing sectors,” acknowledges Simon Norton, Director of the International Zinc Association (IZA) Africa. “To restore our position as a strong, thriving economy, we must grow our employment base and rebuild our deteriorating waterworks, wastewater works and infrastructure.”

As South Africa grapples with infrastructure challenges and the need to resolve these quickly and effective, zinc galvanizing of steel remains a vital tool to protect and extend the life of critical steel structures. Corrosion, the deterioration of steel due to its interaction with the environment, poses a significant threat to the longevity and safety of steel structures particularly at the coast and in corrosive environments such as wastewater treatment plants.

Hot dip galvanizing using zinc effectively prevents corrosion by creating a protective barrier between the steel and the surrounding environment. Composed of iron-zinc alloys, this barrier acts as a sacrificial anode, preferentially corroding in place of the steel. In rail infrastructure, railway lines are galvanized as are electric power line poles. Galvanizing safeguards steel components from the corrosive effects of moisture and other contaminants.

Power infrastructure, including transmission pylons, substations, and other steel structures also rely heavily on galvanizing using zinc to maintain its integrity. Corrosion of these components can lead to power outages, disruptions in electricity supply, and even catastrophic failures when pylons collapse as a result of rusting. Zinc galvanizing safeguards these critical structures, ensuring the reliable delivery of electricity.

Beyond its protective benefits, zinc galvanizing offers significant economic advantages. By extending the lifespan of steel components, zinc galvanizing reduces the need for frequent replacements, saving on material and labour costs. “If engineers hot dip galvanize steel, the capital expenditure is well spent and in the long run much cheaper than repair. Moreover, it minimises the risk of structural failures, which can lead to costly repairs and disruptions to operations,” concludes Norton.

Ends

Connect with the International Zinc Association on Social Media to receive its latest news

Facebook: https://bit.ly/3uNP5w7

LinkedIn: https://bit.ly/3uNSAmb

Notes to the Editor
To download hi-res images for this news article, please visit http://media.ngage.co.za and click the International Zinc Association link to view the company’s press office.

About the International Zinc Association (IZA)

The IZA is the only global industry association dedicated exclusively to the interests of zinc and its users. Operating internationally and locally in Africa through the IZA Africa Desk, the IZA helps sustain the long-term global demand for zinc and its markets by promoting such key end uses as corrosion protection for steel and zinc as essential in human health and crop nutrition. IZA’s main programmes are Sustainability & Environment, Technology & Market Development and Communications.

In South Africa, the IZA plays a vital role in establishing the basis for the successful growth of the zinc industry by increasing awareness of zinc and its applications and benefits in key sectors and markets.

International Zinc Association Contact
Simon Norton
Director

IZA Africa
Phone: (021) 788 9980

Cell: 082 831 2924
Email: zinc@iafrica.com
Web: www.zinc.org

Media Contact
Rachel Mekgwe

Senior Account Executive
NGAGE Public Relations
Phone: (011) 867-7763
Cell: 074 212 1422
Email: rachel@ngage.co.za
Web: www.ngage.co.za

Embracing diversity, equity and inclusion at Zutari #InspiresInclusion on International Women’s Day

04 March 2024: A global celebration that recognises the achievements, contributions, and challenges women worldwide face, this year’s theme for International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March is #InspireInclusion. It is based on the idea that when we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we forge a better world.

“At Zutari, we are committed to fostering diversity and inclusion, recognising the invaluable contributions that individuals from diverse backgrounds bring to our organisation,” comments Senzekile Mdluli, Head: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & CSI at Zutari. “We are actively pursuing increased representation of women by setting targets, demonstrating our commitment to inclusivity and gender diversity.”

She adds: “As we continue to refine our overall strategy, we reflect on our dedication to creating a workplace that values and champions diversity at every level.” The leading consulting engineering and infrastructure advisory practice showcases four women taking great strides at the company.

Isabelle Meyburgh, Revit Modeller |Built Environment, Zutari

“In my experience, it should not matter If you are male or female. If you love something and are good at it, you should have the opportunity to prove that to the world,” says Isabelle, a Revit Modeller in the Built Environment, Bloemfontein office team. Her role is to model all structural components for projects and compile all construction drawings.

While only at Zutari for a year, Isabelle is already involved in ongoing projects. “The highlight for me is to complete my drawings, have my name cited as the author, and then see those drawings come alive at sites. It makes me so proud to be doing what I am,” says Isabelle, adding it is a journey that has made her much more confident in herself and her skills.

Her advice to young women just starting their careers is: “Go for it! Nobody gets to tell you what you can and cannot do; prove them all wrong. Being a woman working mainly in a male-dominated industry is hard, but keeping your head up and being your best gives you a sense of pride. I am proud of my hard work, where I am today, and where I am going,” asserts Isabelle.

Petronella Taljaard, Technical Specialist |Water, Zutari

“I applaud Zutari’s various initiatives like its bursary programme, partnering with Protec, and its leadership development courses like Ascend, aimed to develop female leadership. Zutari is being deliberate about making changes to advance women at all levels. I think all sectors in the engineering industry can do more to create awareness and support for youth, especially girls, to join the industry,” comments Petronella.

She is a professionally registered civil engineer in the East London office, forming part of the water team. At present she focuses on project controls, design reviews and management and assists in delivering water projects for government clients.

“An important consideration that keeps me motivated is the belief that my contribution matters and has value, and having this belief validated by my team. I love that I am constantly exposed to new challenges and that no two days at work are ever the same. The wealth of knowledge, expertise and resources within Zutari excites me. I feel privileged to be able to share this knowledge with others,” says Petronella.

Each phase of her career has had its own highlights and challenges. She had a stint on a construction site as a NEC-3 construction supervisor in the Port of East London to refurbish a sheet pile quay wall. “This was an exciting, one-of-a-kind type project and a beautiful outdoor work environment that I remember fondly,” adds Petronella.

During her time as a line manager, she really enjoyed the opportunity to support and mentor others in their careers. “It is definitely still a work in progress – by no means have I arrived at the end of my journey!” she points out.

Lize Brand, Technical Director: Business Communication | Management and Sustainability, Zutari

“It brings me immense pride to have played a role in creating a new team that adds value to Zutari’s services,” says Lize. What is even more gratifying, she adds, is that Zutari has embraced the idea of building a communication team amid the traditionally engineering-centric environment.

This not only underscores the importance of effective communication in its projects, but also highlights Zutari’s commitment to adapting and evolving to meet the diverse needs of its clients and stakeholders.

The Business Communication team is one of a few advisory teams in the Management and Sustainability Market in Zutari. At its core, it drives a human-centred approach to support project impact. “We blend the old with the new and have moved beyond traditional ways of communication and work collaboratively to integrate technical and creative thinking,” comments Lize.

A team of strategic and visual communication experts uses best practice methodologies to support project implementation and ensure buy-in to change. Zutari, unlike most other engineering consultancies, pairs technical experts with communication specialists to maximise the value of its projects with impacted stakeholders.

“Our work allows us to play in both the creative, human capital and strategic aspects of projects,” says Lize. This means developing smart solutions for key project and business risks linked to people that also push the boundaries of what people are used to. “It is challenging, but also rewarding, as the impact can be seen, felt and heard through stories.”

For her, the IWD 2024 theme of #InspireInclusion implies an ongoing process of self-reflection, education and a commitment to creating environments where diversity is not only acknowledged, but actively valued.

It means celebrating the uniqueness and individual contributions that each person brings to the table and recognising that diversity is a strength. The theme is also linked to recognising and challenging personal biases, a critical step to promote inclusion.

Lwandisiwe Solundwana, Electrical Technologist, Zutari

“Society and the workplace need to remember that our differences make us stronger and give companies an added advantage over their competitors,” argues Lwandisiwe. “Inspiring inclusion should not be a once-off trend but a continuous task, and it begins with you! Are you inspiring inclusion where you are?” she questions.

Lwandisiwe’s original intention was to be a doctor. However, she was drawn to electrical engineering as she hails from a rural area and knew well the struggle of not having electricity. “I wanted to better my community and could envision a rural area lit up everywhere.” She later discovered a passion for lighting design, which incorporates all the different electrical engineering components. “I can safely say I am bettering my community while inspiring young rural girls that they, too, can be in the electrical engineering world.”

As an Electrical Technologist, Lwandisiwe is mostly involved in the project management and electrical designs of buildings, infrastructure, sports fields, and street lighting. What keeps her passionate about her role revolves around several factors. Firstly, Zutari designs to bring change to local communities. Secondly, it designs not only for the present but for future generations. Thirdly, it designs in consideration of the environment. Thus, it strives for sustainable designs with minimal carbon footprint.

“Lastly, it is always nice when you can physically see a project finally completed, as it makes you strive to do more and do it better. As a woman, it feels good to bring the feminine aspect to designs, as you see things differently from men,” says Lwandisiwe.

Career highlights include designing a multipurpose hall using 3D modelling, working with architects, structural, civil, mechanical, stage, sound, and even acoustic engineers. “All these engineers were in different parts of the world, and yet we could all communicate and work well together through virtual platforms and deliver exemplary work to the client,” says Lwandisiwe.

The IWD 2024 theme of #InspireInclusion is important because it means all inputs, opinions, and feedback are valid for consideration. “It means my voice, opinions, skills and capabilities are not diminished because I am perceived as a woman. It means my femininity as a woman is not used against me but embraced and used to grow society at large,” concludes Lwandisiwe.

Zutari’s commitment to fostering diversity, equity and inclusion is commendable. By setting targets to increase the representation of women, Zutari takes a proactive approach towards promoting gender equality. The women sharing inspiring stories are role models who demonstrate that with hard work, determination and a supportive workplace, anything is possible. Overall, Zutari’s commitment is a step in the right direction.

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Reliable, efficient solution for automatic lubrication in industrial machinery

28 February 2024: A reliable and efficient solution for automatic lubrication in industrial machinery is the SAL Elite single point lubricator, distributed by ISO-Reliability Partners, a leading provider of reliability and lubrication systems.

“The SAL Elite ensures consistent and precise lubrication of critical machine components,” comments Craig FitzGerald. Other benefits include reduced friction, wear, and premature component failure by delivering the right quantity of lubricant at regular intervals.

The German manufactured, single-point lubricator is a robust, compact unit consisting of an electro-mechanical drive with replaceable lube cup with grease capacity options of 60 g, 120 g and 250 g. The drive unit is versatile and can be direct or remote mounted, up to 2 m, in the case of high vibration or falling objects.

It is installed directly at the lubrication point on the machinery, such as a bearing, chain, or gear. The system uses an electromechanical drive to gradually release lubricant, preset according to the application requirements. Lubricant flows through a feed line or tube to reach the lubrication point.

Features include adjustable dispensing intervals from one to 12 months, meaning users can set the desired lubricant release frequency according to their specific requirements. The system is simple to install and requires minimal maintenance. The SAL Elite features green LEDs to confirm the unit is operational. It flashes amber when the lubricant cartridge needs replacement and red if not operational or empty.

In addition, it is compatible with different types of lubricants from greases to oils. Common applications include manufacturing, mining, automotive, and food processing. The system is ideal for critical components such as conveyor systems, pumps, electric motors, fans, and particularly in the case of hard-to-reach or rotating machinery.

“Remember that correct selection of the lubricant type, rotational speeds, and its ability to resist water washout is essential. Regular monitoring will guarantee that the system functions correctly over an extended lifespan,” highlights FitzGerald. He advises that customers follow manufacturer guidelines for easy installation and best practice maintenance.

“The SAL Elite system contributes to overall equipment reliability and operational efficiency by automating a critical aspect of maintenance. Of course, regular inspections and adherence to best practice are essential for optimal performance,” adds FitzGerald.

Advantages of the SAL Elite single point lubrication system

  • Reduced downtime: Continuous lubrication minimises unplanned downtime due to component failures.
  • Cost-savings: Precise lubrication prevents over-lubrication and wastage of lubricant.
  • Extended component life: Proper lubrication extends the lifespan of bearings, gears, and other moving parts.
  • Maintenance efficiency: Technicians can focus on other tasks while the system handles lubrication automatically.

Ends

About ISO-Reliability Partners

ISO-Reliability Partners has consolidated knowledge and expertise and provides industry with substantial and quantifiable improvements to plant and asset protection. We combine expertise in the fields of filtration, lubrication, and tribology, offering an advanced and comprehensive service to our customers.

The well-being of the environment is of key concern but is often overshadowed by business needs. Through the more efficient use and handling of commodities such as fuel and lubricants, we reduce pollution through lower usage and disposal of lubricants, conserve electricity usage while achieving higher production output and provide greater asset protection and an overall lowest cost of ownership.

ISO-Reliability Partners is a Level 2 accredited B-BBEE contributor that owns the iconic Filter Focus brand and provides lubrication products and services with a foundation in tribology and hydrocarbon ISO cleanliness. Unlock the hidden and lost value in your business operations with world-class technology provided by ISO-Reliability Partners, your partner in improved efficiencies.

ISO-Reliability Partners Contact

Craig FitzGerald
Phone: +27 10 449 6414
Email: craig@iiso.co.za
Website: www.iso-reliability.com

Media Contact

Andile Mbethe
Account Executive
NGAGE Public Relations
Phone: (011) 867-7763
Cell: 073 565 6536
Email: andile@ngage.co.za
Web: www.ngage.co.za

Browse the NGAGE Media Zone for more client news articles and photographs at http://media.ngage.co.za

Closure of long steel plants in SA likely to reduce demand for zinc

22 February 2024: The closure of long steel plants in South Africa could have a notable impact on local zinc usage. The users of long steel from these plants are major zinc consumers, using it extensively in galvanizing, highlights Simon Norton, Director of the International Zinc Association (IZA) Africa.

ArcelorMittal South Africa recently announced it is placing its major Newcastle and Vereeniging long steel operations in care and maintenance due to a lack of demand. The company cited high logistical and transportation costs, energy prices, and loadshedding as the main reasons for the decision. In addition, South Africa’s steel consumption has declined 20% over the past seven years. Over 3 500 employees will be affected by the decision.

A decline in steel production due to plant closures would directly translate into reduced demand for zinc by galvanizers. However, Norton notes that since the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, the tonnage of refined zinc imported into South Africa has slowly increased to 77 000 tons in 2023. “So, steel must be coming into South Africa via imports and not via ArcelorMittal,” he points out.

“South Africa, which aims to restore its position as an African industrial giant, grow its employment base and rebuild its decaying waterworks, wastewater works and infrastructure, must have steel mills to convert its rich iron ore into high quality finished steel products. This is followed by the use of zinc galvanizing to protect the steel against corrosion,” explains Norton.

He adds: “The blame for our current economic position and the state of the steel industry in South Africa lies fairly and squarely with the government, which has ruined many parastatals and collapsed numerous municipalities. We in industry hope that the upcoming national election will result in employment and industry friendly policy change.”

Zinc galvanizing is an indispensable process in the construction industry. “The loss of long steel plants could potentially disrupt the construction market, impacting steel usage. As South Africa grapples with infrastructure challenges and the need for sustainable solutions, zinc galvanizing remains a vital tool to protect and extend the life of critical steel structures,” highlights Norton.

Corrosion, the deterioration of steel due to its interaction with the environment, poses a significant threat to the longevity and safety of steel structures. Zinc galvanizing effectively combats corrosion by creating a protective barrier between the steel and the surrounding environment. Composed of iron-zinc alloys, this barrier acts as a sacrificial anode, preferentially corroding in place of the steel.

In the realm of rail infrastructure, zinc galvanizing safeguards steel components from the corrosive effects of moisture, salt, and other contaminants. Such protection is particularly essential in regions with harsh weather conditions or at coastal areas, where exposure to salt spray can accelerate corrosion. Railway lines are metalized as opposed to being galvanized, which involves applying a protective zinc coating in addition to galvanizing.

Power infrastructure, including transmission towers, substations, and other steel structures, also relies heavily on zinc galvanizing to maintain its integrity. Corrosion of these components can lead to power outages, disruptions in electricity supply, and even catastrophic failures. Zinc galvanizing safeguards these critical structures, ensuring the reliable delivery of electricity.

Beyond its protective benefits, zinc galvanizing offers significant economic advantages. By extending the lifespan of steel components, zinc galvanizing reduces the need for frequent replacements, saving on material and labour costs. Moreover, it minimises the risk of structural failures, which can lead to costly repairs and disruptions to operations.

In the rail industry, zinc-galvanized rails can last up to three times longer than untreated rails, significantly reducing maintenance costs and downtime. Similarly, zinc-galvanized power towers can endure for decades, reducing the frequency of costly replacements.

“However, underlying all zinc galvanizing lies steel. If South Africa can no longer manufacture its own steel, then our industrial, mining and civil engineering sectors will all be the poorer for it and have to battle to import steel products,” concludes Norton.

Mining Indaba 2024 – Interoperability key to achieving sustainability in mining says Schneider Electric

12 February 2024

Building operational efficiency and resiliency to address volatility across their value chain will be prioritised by the mining companies of the future.  Companies that are ill equipped to address internal volatility will be less likely or able to address an increasingly volatile external market.

Operational efficiency and resilience built through increased interoperability across power, process and digitisation will, in turn, be the initial building blocks for establishing truly sustainable operations.

This is the message from global energy management and automation leader, Schneider Electric at this year’s African Mining Indaba, held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) in Cape Town, South Africa.

Rob Moffitt, President of the Mining, Minerals and Metals industries at Schneider Electric says: “We are living in a period of digital and technological transformation where the way materials and services are produced, procured, delivered, and consumed is increasingly driven by the need to be more sustainable, more efficient, more agile and more resilient.  Achieving sustainable operations is one of the most important challenges our industries have ever faced.

“Sustainable operations are increasingly viewed as a source of potential competitive advantage and can also have a positive impact on a company’s valuation. Similarly, those company’s lagging on this issue could increasingly be exposed to negative shareholder sentiment, lower employee morale and increased stakeholder activism.

“Resilience is a key concern in the mining sector where challenges such as access to sufficient and reliable power continues to impact operations. At Schneider Electric, we have built the capability to provide key insights to our customers through our consultancy practices across sustainability, process power, and cybersecurity across the full project lifecycle including Design, Build, Operate and Optimise,” adds Moffitt.

The three interoperable pillars

Schneider Electric’s approach to sustainability revolves around three pillars which is referred to as the sustainability triad: automation, electrification, and digitisation.

EcoStruxure Power and Process is the company’s IoT-enabled, open architecture platform that transforms information collected from across customers’ full value chain into actionable wisdom for transparent and optimised end-to-end operation.

“Industrial sustainability is achieved through the interplay of software, automation, and energy and hence our reference to the sustainability triad. Some organisations we have worked with - who have converged process performance and electrical power consumption into a single overview - are experiencing up to 20% Capex reduction, a 15% decrease in downtime, and a 7% to 12% reduction in their CO2 emissions,” explains Moffitt.

“The reasons for this become obvious as sustainability forces an organisation to be agile and innovative. A drive towards industrial sustainability means highly optimised operational efficiency, smart energy consumption, and almost zero waste.”

Looking at the first key element, automation, Moffitt further elaborates that it makes processes efficient, safe and resilient. “Closed, proprietary industrial automation technology is holding the industry back from realising the full promise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Universal automation, on the other hand, is the world of ‘plug and produce’ automation software components that share a common runtime based on the IEC61499 standard, making them interoperable and portable, regardless of brand. “

“Because we believe in the collaborative approach of universal automation, Schneider Electric has launched its own universal automation offer. EcoStruxure Automation Expert is a new category of software-centric industrial automation transforming the industry. And we are also a founding member of UniversalAutomation.org, the independent, not-for-profit association managing the reference implementation of an industrial automation shared source runtime.”

The second key element is electrification as it makes energy green and sustainable. Electricity is the most efficient form of energy (proven to be three-to-five times more efficient than other sources) and it is the best vector for decarbonisation.

“There has been a rapidly increasing portion of power being generated by renewable sources including hydro, geothermal, wind and solar, all of which are available across various parts of the African continent. Electrification is therefore key in strengthening the mining sector’s license to operate and improve project economics in the coming years,” notes Moffitt.

“A two degrees Celsius or lower reduction in global temperature will require a more than doubling in power sector capacity over the next 20 years and will be truly transformational with a direct correlation on the demand for so-called ‘energy transition’ or ‘critical minerals’ our industry produces. The impact and contribution of this increased mineral demand will have a profound and significant impact across the African economy.”

The third key element is digitisation as it facilitates disruption and builds a SMART future. It makes the invisible visible, driving efficiency and eliminating energy waste.

“The industries of the future will require a digital way of thinking, where software and data play starring roles. Software-centric automation can lower operating costs, increase agility, and improve an industrial enterprise’s sustainability outlook. Machines are becoming increasingly software-centric to enable remote operation and service while also increasing performance,” explains Moffitt.

“There is increasing volatility in the market driven by multiple factors but before businesses can better respond to external events by reducing internal variabilities and building resilience, they will need to improve integration across various functions in their value chain from source to market. Integrated operations provide a single source of truth built on real-time tracking and interpretation of data. In partnership with AVEVA we have extensive experience helping our customers globally establish Unified and Remote Operating Centres (UOCs).

“Digitisation has revolutionised the way we work together, the way we live together. Stage one of digital on the Internet was about connecting people to people. The current stage is about revolutionising the way we live with our environment. It’s about connecting machine to machine, people to machines, catalysed or created by IoT which is connecting everything around us with the capacity to aggregate a lot of data in large data centres: this is what we call Big Data.

“As there is a lot of data, we have the capacity to train machines with algorithms and AI to make sense of this data. So, digital will massively disrupt, and is already massively disrupting, the cost point, the time of implementation and notions of efficiency and sustainability. “

Schneider Electric assists customers and partners to leverage software-centric automation through:

  1. EcoStruxure, its IoT-enabled, cyber-secure, open architecture and platform for industrial automation and energy management,
  2. Strong agnostic software portfolio that includes modular IIoT applications,
  3. Partnerships with world-leading independent software companies, including the company’s strategic partner AVEVA.

Schneider Electric has also embarked on its own sustainability journey more than 15 years ago and in 2021 already the company’s milestones included:

  • 51 of Schneider Electric’s own facilities globally are net zero sites.
  • 80% renewable energy used in facilities.
  • Reduced energy consumption by 35% and water consumption by 30%.
  • Over 206 of Schneider Electric’s sites send zero waste to landfill.
  • Focus on safety has seen an 88% reduction in medical incidence rates since 2010

“We have received multiple global accolades and awards over the years for our achievements on sustainability across our own operations and we are committed by 2030 towards a climate positive world within the 1.5-degree scenario validated by science-based targets.

“Our ability to therefore work with our customers and partners by helping them design and implement their own efficiency, resilience and sustainability programmes is validated by us having undertaken, tested and proven our solutions internally as well as across multiple industries and sectors globally,” concludes Moffitt.

Unearthing Africa's mining potential: the case for South African training companies as local partners

By Jacques Farmer, Managing Director at PRISMA Training

15 January 2024

In the African mining sector, the quest for local partnerships is driven by a combination of regulatory requirements and the desire to empower indigenous communities. However, the challenge lies in bridging the skills and expertise gap that often exists within these local partnerships. As African countries seek to maximise their mining potential, considering South African training companies as key local partners can be a strategic move with profound benefits.

South Africa's rich mining legacy: over a century of expertise

South Africa blends both legacy and modern practices and the nation's mining industry, steeped in a history that spans more than 150 years, has evolved into a benchmark for global mining standards. African countries, particularly those in emerging markets like West Africa's Ghana, stand to gain significantly by accrediting South African training companies in their mining projects. The transfer of industry best practices from South African training partners to local companies addresses the crucial skills development objectives mandated by mining projects. This collaboration provides a unique opportunity for emerging markets to establish mining beneficiation programmes that make a tangible impact on their economic development.

Challenges in current training practices across Africa

Unfortunately, the existing training landscape in some African markets lacks a structured and comprehensive approach and many African countries look to established mining nations such as Australia, or Canada for guidance in training and development within the mining sector. Training programmes are often loosely oriented, with a primary focus on meeting minimum standards and qualifications. This approach may lead to inadequately trained individuals entering the mining workforce, posing risks to both safety and operational efficiency.

Anecdotal evidence suggests instances of individuals transitioning from unrelated professions, such as rice farming, to operating heavy machinery with minimal training. This highlights the need for a more rigorous and competency-based training approach to ensure not only job qualification but also the safety and well-being of workers within the mining sector.

The South African advantage: human capital development and competency training

South African training providers distinguish themselves by adhering to rigorous regulations and standards that align with those of first-world countries. The Mining Qualifications Authority, with its 150 years of experience, plays a critical role in shaping the nation's mining training landscape. South African training is characterised by a human capital development-oriented approach that focuses on competency training and assessments.

Training modules encompass not only theoretical aspects but also practical components and on-site workplace integration. This ensures that individuals not only acquire theoretical knowledge but also gain hands-on experience within the mining environment before receiving certification. Reputable South African training providers can guarantee a comprehensive learning experience that clearly addresses the gap in current training practices observed in some African markets.

Overcoming challenges and changing perceptions

While there may be initial scepticism or stereotypical thinking regarding the capabilities of South African training providers, it is essential to dispel such notions. South African companies bring not only expertise on par with global standards but also a cultural understanding that resonates with their African counterparts. Overcoming the perception that training from South Africa may be inferior is essential to maximise the true potential of local partnerships.

Addressing the lack of perceived career paths within the mining industry for locals is another challenge that South African training providers aim to tackle. By offering comprehensive training programmes and fostering a mindset shift, these providers seek to empower local communities, enabling them to envision long-term careers within the mining sector and gain employability for life.

Cost-effectiveness and quality assurance

Choosing South African training providers over global counterparts presents a compelling economic advantage. The favourable exchange rate of the South African Rand against currencies like the Australian Dollar or the Canadian Dollar makes training programmes not only more cost-effective but also highly competitive for African mining corporations. However, the emphasis should not solely be on cost; the quality of training provided by South African companies is comparable, if not superior, to that offered by their global counterparts.

Equipping Africa’s mining sector for safety and effectiveness

South Africa stands ready to provide benchmarked and best-practice training solutions to global standards, offering cost-effective alternatives while ensuring excellence in efficiency, safety, and development. Positioned as an ideal local partner within Africa, South Africa, particularly in human capital development, holds the ticket to empowering local mining houses and communities for safe and effective operations. South African training providers are dedicated to entering African markets, fostering relationships, and facilitating skills transfer, with the aim of enabling local communities to independently sustain their training and development initiatives. As such, embracing South African training companies as local partners represents a strategic move towards unearthing Africa's mining potential, addressing skills gaps, fostering local partnerships, and contributing to a sustainable and prosperous future for the African mining sector.

Versatile zinc is an ideal metal for die casting

12 February 2024: Zinc is a versatile metal with a wide range of applications, including die casting. Die casting is a high-volume production process that can produce parts with complex geometries and tight tolerances. It is versatile and can be used to produce a variety of components. The manufacturing process uses high pressure to force molten metal into a mould.

Zinc die casting is widely used in the automotive industry and other sectors needing complex and durable components. Examples of zinc die cast parts are door handles, fuel pumps, brake components, connectors, housings, and gears.

Being relatively inexpensive, zinc is a good material for die casting. It has good casting properties and is recyclable. Zinc die casting involves several steps: The mould cavity is made from a steel or aluminium die, into which molten zinc is pressure forced. The zinc solidifies and cools and the part is then ejected from the mould.

A major advantage of using zinc in die casting is that it produces castings with good dimensional accuracy. Zinc has a low melting point and a high fluidity, so it flows easily into a mould. Zinc castings are also strong and durable and can be used in a variety of applications, explains Simon Norton, Director of the International Zinc Association (IZA) Africa.

“Another advantage of using zinc in die casting is that it is a relatively inexpensive metal. It is a cost-effective option for many manufacturers. Zinc is also recyclable, so it can be reused without having to extract new metal from the ground. This makes it an environmentally friendly choice,” highlights Norton.

Here are some specific examples of the role of zinc in die casting:

  • Zinc is used to make die casting alloys, which are mixtures of zinc with other metals such as aluminium, magnesium, and copper. These alloys have improved properties, such as strength, ductility, and machinability.
  • Zinc is used as a core material in die casting. Cores are inserts placed in the mould to create hollow or intricate features in the casting. Zinc cores are lightweight and easy to machine, making them a good choice for many applications.
  • Zinc is used as a coating for die castings. Zinc coatings protect the casting from corrosion and improve its appearance.

The most common type of zinc used in die casting is ZAMAK, a family of alloys with a base metal of zinc and alloying elements of aluminium, magnesium, and copper. The name ZAMAK is an acronym of the German names for the metals of which the alloys are composed: Zink (zinc), Aluminium, Magnesium and Kupfer (copper).

ZAMAK alloys are part of the zinc-aluminium alloy family, differentiated from other ZA alloys due to their constant 4% aluminium composition. It has good strength, hardness, and corrosion resistance properties making them ideal for a wide range of applications.

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Notes to the Editor
To download hi-res images for this news article, please visit http://media.ngage.co.za and click the International Zinc Association link to view the company’s press office.

About the International Zinc Association

The IZA is the only global industry association dedicated exclusively to the interests of zinc and its users. Operating internationally and locally through its regional affiliates, the IZA helps sustain the long-term global demand for zinc and its markets by promoting such key end uses as corrosion protection for steel and zinc as being essential in human health and crop nutrition. IZA’s main programmes are Sustainability & Environment, Technology & Market Development and Communications.

In South Africa, the IZA plays a vital role in establishing the basis for the successful revitalisation of the zinc industry by increasing awareness of zinc and its applications and benefits in key sectors and markets, which will ultimately translate into the increased uptake of zinc.

International Zinc Association Contact
Simon Norton
Director

IZA Africa
Phone: (021) 788 9980

Cell: 082 831 2924
Email: zinc@iafrica.com
Web: www.zinc.org

Media Contact
Rachel Mekgwe

Senior Account Executive
NGAGE Public Relations
Phone: (011) 867-7763
Cell: 074 212 1422
Email: rachel@ngage.co.za
Web: www.ngage.co.za

Positive growth positions adumo Payouts to increase its footprint in mining in 2024

16 November 2023: Despite ongoing challenges such as low consumer confidence and high inflation, adumo Payouts saw robust growth in 2023. “We had a remarkably good year with some positive growth,” says CEO Steve Mallaby, adding that diversification has been a key factor in the company’s ongoing success.

“We reduce the risk on our side as there are a broad range of sectors we are involved with,” explains Mallaby. The company serves industries ranging from FMCG to mining and motor manufacturing, strategically positioning itself to weather economic downturns.

Bottom-line growth has also been accelerated by a revaluation of the business and its processes prompted by the challenges faced during Covid-19. The company not only focused on improved efficiency but undertook a comprehensive review of how it ran its business, so it could adapt to evolving circumstances and better serve its customers.

A critical aspect is an unwavering commitment to customer service. “Our biggest differentiator is our ability to service our customers.” Many long-standing clients, spanning over a decade, continue to endorse adumo Payouts with positive testimonials and referrals, underscoring the importance of understanding and addressing its clients’ business needs.

The company underwent a strategic rebranding 18 months ago, shifting from being perceived solely as a rewards and incentives business to positioning itself as a holistic payout solutions provider. This move allowed it to craft specific use cases for different industries, significantly expanding its scope and opportunities.

Acknowledging the impact of technology on various sectors, Mallaby says that, in the rapidly evolving fintech space, technology must be an enabler rather than a barrier. Technology adoption needs to be considered carefully so it aligns with the specific needs and goals of both the company and its customers.

Looking ahead, Mallaby sees the economic outlook tied closely to inflation and interest rates. He encourages businesses to think creatively and implement unique use cases to foster employee engagement and competitiveness in a challenging environment.

In terms of specific plans for 2024, adumo Payouts aims to further expand its engagement in the mining industry, tapping into opportunities with mining houses, unions, and other stakeholders. The company plans to address the downstream supply industry in mining and explore solutions for greater transparency in fund flow for ESG initiatives. In addition, it will focus on junior miners, who are also faced with the need to drive safety and productivity incentives.

“Traditionally, mines tended to hand out grocery vouchers as an incentive. But what if it is the middle of the month and you need to pay school fees, or in fact you want to try and save money for the end of the year for other needs?” questions Mallaby.

“It is always about making the employee feel appreciated and giving them a choice. They become much more engaged at the end of the day, and it has a knock-on effect. Mineworkers are more empowered as we have increased their spending power. Increased production means the mining industry contributes more to economic growth. If the mining industry is doing well, as a result, service providers such as adumo Payouts benefit as well,” says Mallaby.

With a customer-centric approach, a focus on diversification, and an eye on emerging trends, the company looks set to navigate the dynamic business environment and continue its upward trajectory in 2024 and beyond.

Ends

Connect with adumo Payouts on Social Media to receive the company’s latest news
Facebook
: https://www.facebook.com/adumogroup

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Notes to the Editor
To download hi-res images for this release, please visit http://media.ngage.co.za and click the adumo Payouts link to view the company’s press office.

About adumo Payouts
Physical and digital prepaid, secure payout solutions for South African businesses.
Trusted by over 500 corporates and backed by Mastercard, our transactional card products empower you to recognise and reward positive workplace behaviours.

adumo Payouts Contact

Steve Mallaby
CEO
Phone: (011) 290 9931
Email: steve@adumo.com
Website: www.adumo.com/payouts

Media Contact

Andile Mbethe
Account Executive
NGAGE Public Relations
Phone: (011) 867-7763
Cell: 073 565 6536
Email: andile@ngage.co.za
Web: www.ngage.co.za

Browse the NGAGE Media Zone for more client news articles and photographs at http://media.ngage.co.za

ISO-Reliability Partners announces strategic partnerships for 2024

4 December 2023: A leading provider of reliability and lubrication solutions, ISO-Reliability Partners capped off a highly successful 2023 with a landmark five-year tender to supply Royal Purple premium lubricants to Transnet Engineering for lubrication of high-speed traction motor bearings. “In the mining industry, we add considerable value to milling and processing plants. We have grown our market share in the open gear lubrication field by onboarding new customers looking to improve production output while lowering operating costs,” notes Craig FitzGerald.

In addition, the company showcased its expertise by demonstrating the enhanced compressor performance achieved by Sasol Synfuels by it adopting Royal Purple Synfilm GT, resulting in improved protection and reduced energy consumption.

“Our success has come with challenges,” adds FitzGerald. The company had to address attempts by unscrupulous competitors to replicate its pioneering Filter Focus branded micro fine filtration technology.

Despite copied products resembling the original, these underperform significantly. ISO-Reliability’s strategy for 2024 involves continued education efforts to inform customers about these imitations and emphasise the superior performance of authentic Filter Focus products.

Another milestone goal for next year is establishing a predictive maintenance platform powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), in partnership with a leading German AI technology firm. FitzGerald anticipates announcing these partnerships early next year, with the aim to deliver substantial cost-saving initiatives to its client base.

In order to extend its offering and break into the consumer and retail markets for premium motor vehicle lubricants, ISO-Reliability Partners has acquired 100% of Power Performance Lubricants (Pty) Ltd. As a result of this acquisition, the company now controls distribution of both the industrial and consumer range of Royal Purple’s energy-saving premium lubricants.

In terms of latest trends, FitzGerald says AI “is undoubtedly one of the biggest trends that our industry will see for many decades to come.” The company anticipates leveraging AI for real-time equipment monitoring, providing early insights into potential issues and enhancing safety through reduced human interactions with equipment.

Condition monitoring requires regular analysis performed at predetermined intervals to evaluate changes in machine vibration, wear particle analysis of lubricating oils, and temperature increases through thermographic inspections. Most importantly, it requires human interaction and the use of off-site laboratories, with results often only available up to three days after a site visit.

AI, on the other hand, has the ability to continuously monitor equipment in real-time at a fraction of the cost. It can provide early insights into potential machine issues months before the techniques used at present.

“AI will dramatically reduce the costs associated with condition monitoring, with the added value of safety by eliminating human interactions with equipment. Our solutions provide automated fault reporting with root cause identification and recommendations for fault repair,” notes FitzGerald.

He highlights the industry’s concern about the availability and security of electricity in South Africa. The company aims to address this by offering innovative technologies to improve efficiency and reduce electricity wastage. Its collaboration with Royal Purple of the US, which has developed energy-saving lubricants capable of significantly lowering electricity consumption, is testament to this commitment.

“Dynamometer tests reveal an increase in engine output by around 12% gained by reduced frictional losses through the engine and drive- train,” points out FitzGerald. Friction accounts for 15% of all energy usage worldwide.

Therefore, Royal Purple has developed energy-saving lubricants for a range of industrial equipment. It is capable of lowering electricity consumption by 4% to 18%, while achieving the same production output. “A commonsense approach to friction reduction results in considerable cost reductions,” argues FitzGerald.

Looking to 2024, FitzGerald says his outlook remains positive. ISO-Reliability Partners fosters an environment of inclusion and positivity, with focus-driven goals to grow its valued client base and range of cost-reducing technologies.

“Our employees are the heart of the business. As such, a large effort is made in terms of technical and managerial training to raise the skill level of our employees and add value to the service we offer our clients,” he concludes.

Ends

Sustainable Mining Solutions Market - A Global and Regional Analysis, 2023-2032

The sustainable mining solutions market is experiencing a significant upsurge in expansion, driven by the convergence of multiple key factors. This growth is attributed to the growing awareness of environmental concerns, the continuous stream of technological innovations, and the increasingly favorable regulatory landscape that encourages sustainability in the mining industry. For instance, Canada's Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) program stands out as a prime example. It actively encourages sustainable mining practices and transparency, positioning Canada as one of the global leaders in sustainable mining.

Furthermore, specific policies are exerting a profound influence on the growth of the sustainable mining solutions market. For instance, Australia's Minerals and Metals Policy prioritizes the sustainable development of the country's minerals and metals industry, with an emphasis on responsible resource management. Therefore, such supportive policies are influencing the sustainable mining solutions market growth.

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Sustainable Mining Solutions Market - A Global and Regional Analysis, 2023-2032

Market Lifecycle Stage

Sustainable mining solutions refer to practices and mining equipment that harness the power of electricity and clean & renewable energy or incorporate advanced technologies, such as battery systems and fuel cells, to drive mining operations with reduced environmental impact. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts a more than twentyfold increase in demand for certain minerals by 2040 to support the transition to clean energy. To meet global carbon reduction goals, the mining industry is crucial, and it needs to adopt greener practices for decarbonization. Thus, mining companies are setting targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in alignment with the Paris Agreement and are steadily moving toward green mining solutions.

However, the key factors limiting the growth of the sustainable mining solutions market are the high initial cost and lack of infrastructure to support sustainable technologies.

The following are the demand drivers for the global sustainable mining solutions market:
- Incentives and Support from Governments
- Lower Operating Cost Over Time


The market is expected to face some limitations as well due to the following challenges:
- High Initial Costs
- Lack of Infrastructure to Support Sustainable Technologies

Key Market Players and Competition Synopsis
The companies that are profiled have been selected based on inputs gathered from primary experts and analyzing company coverage, product portfolio, and market penetration.

Of the top players profiled in the report, the public companies operating in the global sustainable mining solutions market accounted for around 73% of the market share in 2022, while the private companies operating in the market captured around 27% of the market share.

Some of the established names in this market are:
Company Type (Public)
- Sandvik AB
- Komatsu Ltd.
- XCMG Mining Machinery Co. Ltd.
- Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., Ltd
- Liebherr
- Caterpillar Inc.
- Xiangtan Electric Manufacturing Co Ltd
- BeLAZ
- SANY Group
- Anglo American plc
Company Type (Private)
- eMining AG
- Aramine
- Prairie Machine & Parts Mfg
- Miller Technology Incorporated

Vacuum dehydrator is ideal solution to combat costly issue of water in oil

25 October 2023: Wear control specialist ISO-Reliability Partners manufactures products that have gained wide acceptance among power plants, steel mills, refineries, mines, and other industrial facilities with rotating equipment. Its vacuum dehydrator and oil purification system assists companies to reduce operating costs by improving machine reliability, safety, performance, and production, explains Craig FitzGerald.

The system is highly effective at removing dissolved, free, and emulsified water, entrained gas, and particulate contamination for heavy and light gear oils of any grouping. The overall water content can be reduced to levels below the water solubility point in the oil simply by using a vacuum dehydrator. Heat transfer oils used in concentrated solar systems can also be rejuvenated with the ISO-Reliability vacuum dehydrator and oil purification system.

By raising the oil temperature to approximately 50°C and passing it through a vacuum chamber, water turns to steam. Even water that is tightly held in an emulsion is removed, along with any free and dissolved water. “Our systems are equipped with high efficiency filter elements that remove particulate contamination and entrained gases to ultra-low levels,” highlights FitzGerald.

Water moisture can find its way into lubricated components in liquid or gaseous forms, this enters via seals, bulk reservoir breathers, and general storage of equipment. Its interaction with oil is harmful as it only takes a small amount of water (less than 500 ppm) to substantially shorten the service life of rolling element bearings. Water is the start of corrosion; it gives acids their greatest corrosive potential. Static etching and fretting are also accelerated by free water. Water further promotes foaming, which leads to rapid increases in metal-to-metal contact, friction, and higher temperatures. As a result, water reduces the lubricant’s ability to lubricate.

Foaming leads to sluggish response from hydraulic control systems and cavitation in pumps and bearings. Moisture in a lubricating oil or diesel presents an opportunity for microbes to thrive and grow. Microbes live in the water and feed off the hydrocarbon. They grow to interfere with lube circuits and can block valves and filters. Microbial contamination is corrosive and can be toxic.

The presence of water in a bearing load zone produces superheated steam which creates a mini explosion inside the oil, similar to micro-dieselling in hydraulic systems. Through oxidation, this phenomenon rapidly damages the oil and hardened fatigue cracks appear on bearing surfaces. What’s more, the presence of water can hydrolyse additives like extreme pressure and anti-wear, essentially denying equipment the protection that the additives are designed for.

The by-product is sludge water, which is similar to other contaminants in the lube oil such as soot, resin, spent additives, oxides, and dirt. These cluster into a sludge that will overwhelm strainers, in-line filters and eventually restrict oil flow in the system. A value of 0.1% (1,000 ppm) water in oil will reduce the life of a rolling element bearing by as much as 40 times. As moisture is absorbed into the lubricating oil, it affects the lubricant’s film thickness and ability to separate lubricated components.

FitzGerald adds that many companies have funds readily available in their maintenance budgets to purchase or rent a vacuum dehydrator onsite for emergency use or for scheduled maintenance. Similarly, many clients engage an expert like ISO-Reliability Partners that specialises in oil reclamation and purification to perform the dehydration service on-site with class leading technologies and unmatched ISO cleanliness results.

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Skills development in mining — a solution to a changing industry

By Bheki Masuku

For some years, South Africa’s mining industry has been in decline. Diminishing reserves, a drop in commodity prices, currency fluctuations, energy reliability, and deteriorating infrastructure have all played a part. From a GDP contribution of over 20% in 1980, the sector contributes just 8% today.

This doesn’t spell the end of the industry, but rather opens up space for ingenuity and transformation. If mining companies are to stay relevant, take advantage of the opportunities that still remain, and contribute to adjacent sectors, they need to be implementing systems and processes that will help drive future growth.

One of the critical ways they can do this is through skills development.

The benefits of skills development in mining

The mining industry is not unaware of the importance of skills development. Learnerships, bursaries, portable skills, internships and adult education programmes are all deeply embedded in the way the industry works. Between 2016 and 2020, companies spent over R6 billion on skills development every year. More than 15,000 tertiary-level students were supported in this time, and over 5,000 apprenticeships were granted.

This is not to suggest, however, that all mining companies view skills development in the same light — or invest in it as they should. For some, skills development is little more than a B-BBEE Scorecard-driven, box-ticking exercise that sees only a modicum of effort. These companies largely fail to reap the potential benefits it offers. Those who endeavour to proactively drive skills development, however, often see the following:

Improved health and safety: A strong focus on skills development and training means that employees are likely to work safer. In an industry with the risks that mining poses, this is non-negotiable. Employees need to be literate in order to understand the warning signs in their work areas, and properly trained so that the chances of injuries and fatalities are reduced, even eliminated.

Better productivity and loyalty: As knowledge improves and skills are sharpened, skills development programmes also help to make employees more productive. This has a knock-on effect on operational efficiencies, profits and business sustainability. And it also helps employees feel valued, which contributes to creating a loyal and dedicated workforce.

Stronger social licence to operate: Community-based skills development helps to improve mining companies’ standing in their surrounding areas. This helps to boost their social licence to operate among people whose buy-in is critical, and to limit social and economic tensions. It also helps to improve local economies as skilled workers go on to find employment or start their own businesses.

The mining industry’s sustainability depends on proper skills development interventions, and an acute awareness of the specific skills required.

The skills that matter

There are different types of skills development interventions that companies may choose from, depending on the abilities of their workforce and their business objectives. Skills development programmes typically cover an assortment of training in soft skills, technical skills and entrepreneurial skills. All are important.

At Optimi Workplace, our workplace solutions cover tailored, non-accredited occupational learning courses to formal, accredited skills development programmes. They include basic literacy and numeracy courses for employees, MQA-approved learnerships, senior leadership training, and community development programmes.

Technical skills training has become increasingly important with the industry’s adoption of advanced technologies. In many instances, new innovations are being put in place to create safer, more efficient and more cost-effective operating environments. But these technologies run the risk of causing job losses if companies don’t adequately retrain and redeploy their staff. Companies that care for and consider their staff through these transitions are likely to stay relevant down the line.

As for entrepreneurial skills, these skills open entirely new doors to economic growth.

Beyond mining

Skills development helps to empower and develop employees and community members both within the mining industry and beyond. Many of the same skills, especially much-needed digital skills, are relevant for other sectors, including construction, manufacturing and agriculture. People who are properly trained are likely to find gainful employment elsewhere.

The opportunity also exists for skilled employees to become entrepreneurs and business owners, so taking the pressure of the mining industry and ensuring the growth of the broader economy. There are also countless instances where these business owners go on to become suppliers to the industry, helping to close a mutually beneficial procurement loop.

As the mining industry continues to change, skills development needs to be an abiding priority. The sector’s future success depends on it.

Bheki Masuku is a Sales Manager at Optimi Workplace, one of South Africa’s leading providers of workforce and community education and training for the public and private sector.

This media release has been issued by Fox Street Communications on behalf of Optimi Workplace. For more information, images and interview requests please contact Lauren Hills on +27 83 226 8906 or lauren@foxstreetcomms.co.za.

 

About Optimi Workplace

Optimi Workplace, part of the Optimi Group, is the leading provider of workforce and community education and training for the public and private sector.

Optimi Workplace acquired Media Works and Tuta-Me in 2019. Today, with over two decades of experience in adult education and training in the workplace and over 10 000 learners tutored, Optimi Workplace is leading the frontier in workforce and community education and training.

About Optimi Group
Optimi Group is a learning solutions company that offers solutions through four divisions – Home, College, Classroom and Workplace.

Optimi was established when PSG invested in homeschooling provider Impaq (then called Impak) in 2012. Since then, the company has grown by merging and acquiring other education and training businesses that complement its offering, including Media Works, ITSI, CollegeSA, CAMI Education, Tuta-Me, IT Academy, and various smaller learning and content providers. These mergers and acquisitions have provided Optimi with a comprehensive range of resources and skills to deliver world-class learning solutions to its customers.

Part of the PSG Group, Optimi is quickly becoming a household name in the education and training industry.

IZA Africa forges ahead to promote hot dip galvanizing in 2024

06 December 2023: The International Zinc Association (IZA) Africa is committed to continue to promote and educate the public about zinc applications in Africa next year, says Executive Director Simon Norton. “We will launch a new publication in early 2024 dedicated to providing technical support to engineers and designers around galvanizing steel. We will also focus on final-year students and educating them about hot dip galvanizing.”

IZA Africa offers engineers and designers assistance to select the correct zinc coating for any civil or mechanical engineering application. It has a permanent materials expert on hand to offer advice and tap into the association’s international resources and expertise base if need be.

IZA Africa has also secured significant commercial research funding to investigate the feasibility of new zinc refining processes to meet South Africa’s own demand for refined zinc, while using locally produced ore and concentrates. The research aims to develop and understand novel refining processes to significantly reduce the external power input compared to traditional pyrometallurgical processes.

It will allow for economically viable production of SHG refined zinc. Ore usage may be further maximised by producing refined by-products such as silver and rare earth elements. The research work is being carried out at the University of Cape Town’s Department of Chemical Engineering under the leadership of Professor Jochen Petersen, along with sponsors Vedanta South Africa and Duferco Steel Processing.

IZA Africa promotes zinc via publications, webinars, seminars, and presentations at professional institutes by offering expertise in the application and detailed specification of galvanized steel, galvanized wire, and continuously galvanized steel sheet for buildings, fencing, reinforced concrete, and structural steel.

The largest proportion of refined zinc used in South Africa and Africa is for hot dip galvanising and continuous galvanizing. Zinc coatings are powerful tools in the fight against corrosion of steel in deep mining, coastal steel structures, for reinforcing steel in concrete, and on atmospherically exposed steel structures.

The zinc application expertise offered by IZA Africa benefits construction projects and steel-related industries. Zinc galvanizing is a powerful corrosion protection medium that ensures the longevity of steel structures, particularly related to essential infrastructure such as rail infrastructure, mining, power generation, and renewable energy.

“Road and rail infrastructure is essential to transport people and goods, support economic development, and empower communities. However, such infrastructure is often exposed to various environmental factors that can cause corrosion, such as moisture and sea spray salt. Corrosion can compromise the safety, performance, and durability of road and rail infrastructure, leading to increased maintenance costs, reduced service life, and potential accidents,” explains Norton.

The focus on renewable energy has also placed the spotlight on the role played by zinc, especially in energy storage. The World Economic Forum (WEF) states that the metal plays a critical role in enabling green technologies like solar and wind. As the world transitions to a low-carbon economy, zinc will continue to play a key role in supporting clean energy technologies.

A case study that demonstrates the effectiveness of zinc to protect steel against premature corrosion is the fencing of land in South Africa. IZA Africa conducted an 11-year atmospheric corrosion exposure programme that involved exposing various wire-coating types at different locations countrywide.

These locations were deemed to be representative of the range of atmospheric conditions typical of agricultural environments in South Africa. The results showed that zinc-coated steel fencing was the most effective in protecting steel against premature corrosion. Recently, De Beers Venetia diamond mine installed hot dip galvanized steel in its new deep underground shafts near Messina in Limpopo Province.

Looking to 2024, Norton says IZA Africa will forge ahead with its seminar and webinar series about the application of zinc to protect steel against premature corrosion. It provides electronic and hard copies of its various publications, such as ‘Essentials of Galvanizing’, ‘Rapid Guide to Galvanizing for Consulting Engineers’, and ‘Zinc Matters’.

These seminars and publications give practicing consulting engineers insight into the specification and application of zinc-based coatings. Topics covered include zinc-rich paints, their composition, selection, and pitfalls; the advanced specification of galvanized steel; and zinc thermal sprayed coatings for steel structures such as wind turbine towers and even shipping.

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Notes to the Editor
To download hi-res images for this news article, please visit http://media.ngage.co.za and click the International Zinc Association link to view the company’s press office.

About the International Zinc Association

The IZA is the only global industry association dedicated exclusively to the interests of zinc and its users. Operating internationally and locally through its regional affiliates, the IZA helps sustain the long-term global demand for zinc and its markets by promoting such key end uses as corrosion protection for steel and zinc as being essential in human health and crop nutrition. IZA’s main programmes are Sustainability & Environment, Technology & Market Development and Communications.

In South Africa, the IZA plays a vital role in establishing the basis for the successful revitalisation of the zinc industry by increasing awareness of zinc and its applications and benefits in key sectors and markets, which will ultimately translate into the increased uptake of zinc.

International Zinc Association Contact
Simon Norton
Executive Director

IZA Africa
Phone: (021) 788 9980

Cell: 082 831 2924
Email: zinc@iafrica.com
Web: www.zinc.org

Media Contact
Rachel Mekgwe

Empowering Women Leaders in South Africa

Empowering Women Leaders in South Africa's Mining Sector: A Prerequisite for Sustainable Growth

In a world where industries are striving for gender inclusivity, South Africa's mining sector lags in empowering women for leadership roles. Carla Clamp, Director at BDO South Africa, sheds light on this issue, drawing from her experiences at the annual Women and Leadership in Mining Conference.

“South Africa's mining, a cornerstone of the nation's economy, holds an undiscovered treasure—untapped potential within its women. It's time to spark a dialogue and action by highlighting the urgent need to empower women in this vital sector”, says Mining Superintendent Dolly Masilela from Exxaro Resources. She, along with other inspirational women leaders gathering to share valuable insights and guidance for the future of female leadership in this industry at the event.

According to the 2020 World Bank report, women comprise of just 15% of the global mining workforce, and in South Africa, despite a promising increase from 11,400 in 2002 to 56,691 in 2019, they still represented a mere 12% of the total mining labour force of 454,861 people. With mining increasingly becoming one of South Africa’s most important industries, the sector is ripe for transformation and closing the gender gap must be made a priority.

One of the most pressing challenges facing women in mining is a disproportionate gender pay gap because of occupational segregation. Women are often concentrated in lower-paying administrative and support roles while men dominate higher-paying technical and operational positions resulting in a persistent gap in pay estimated to be around 15% on average. This disparity highlights the urgent need for women to ascend to leadership roles within the industry.

We simply cannot ignore the imperative of having more women in leadership positions as the crucial caveat in transforming the industry. This is about so much more than just achieving gender equality; it's about disrupting the industry's future, fostering innovation, and driving sustainable development. Masilela says: “The mining industry is no stranger to tradition and long-established practices. However, disruption in this sector should not just be a buzzword; it's an essential force driving progress, sustainability, and competitiveness. South Africa's mining sector is sitting on a goldmine of untapped talent in the form of women. By disrupting the deeply entrenched gender status quo, breaking down barriers and encouraging women to take on leadership roles, the industry can access a diverse pool of skills, perspectives, and experiences that have been historically underutilised.”

First and foremost, increased female representation in leadership positions is essential to combat gender inequality and promote inclusivity. Historically, women have been underrepresented in the industry due to stereotypes and biases that have limited their access to opportunities and career advancement. This systemic exclusion perpetuates gender inequalities and hampers the sector's potential for growth. By actively promoting and supporting women in leadership roles, we can challenge these norms and provide much-needed role models for young women aspiring to enter the field.

Another aspect where female leadership can make a significant difference is in environmental stewardship. Mining, by its nature, has a substantial environmental footprint. Women leaders, who often have a stronger track record of environmental consciousness and sustainable management, can help steer the industry towards greener practices that safeguard the environment for future generations while ensuring the sector's long-term viability.

Women are also showing their prowess in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, and their inclusion in leadership positions can accelerate the sector's digital transformation. As the industry becomes increasingly driven by data analytics, automation, and artificial intelligence, diverse perspectives are crucial for harnessing the full potential of technology.

Beyond these economic and environmental imperatives, there is also the issue of community development and social responsibility. Mining operations often have profound social and cultural impacts on the communities where they operate. Women leaders are more likely to prioritise community development, education, and healthcare, fostering a more inclusive and socially responsible mining sector. This not only benefits local communities but also helps improve the industry's image, reducing conflicts and resistance from affected populations.

So what do we need to do to ensure that more women are able to access and take on more leadership positions?

Masilela says that it begins with recognising that women are ready to take their place at the helm. “South Africa's mining sector has the potential to be a beacon of progress and transformation, not just economically but socially and environmentally. To harness this potential fully, we must empower women to take their rightful place as leaders, innovators, and drivers of change within the industry.”

First off the bat, mining companies should actively work to challenge and break down gender stereotypes by promoting success stories of women who have excelled in mining roles, highlighting their achievements and contributions. Take for example, women like Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita, and Bridget Radebe who shattered the glass ceilings and whose stories are testament to the power of determination and vision. Across the sector, women too can take on pivotal roles and challenge stereotypes, but they must be recognised and be made examples of.

There needs to be a much greater investment into education and training. Mentorship programmes and apprenticeships that specifically target women are essential. But just as essential is support beyond these programmes. We must make sure that women are not over mentored and then under sponsored. Programmes must provide support for women at all stages of their careers, right through to leadership roles.

Developing inclusive workplace cultures that prioritise diversity and respect is also crucial. Part of this is relooking at all aspects of the female experience – from working ablutions, to safe and secure changing areas, to personal safety and respect both on and off the mine, we must start to hold leaders accountable for creating a safe and respectful space for all employees.

The demanding and often remote nature of mining jobs can conflict with women's caregiving responsibilities, making it difficult for them to balance work and family life. Much more needs to be done in recognising and accommodating these challenges. Mines could start by offering more flexible work arrangements, including remote work options and family-friendly policies.

As we journey towards a more inclusive and equitable mining sector, let us remember that when we empower women, we empower the future. With some of the largest mines in the world, South Africa's mining sector has an opportunity to lead by example, to prove that our mining legacy is not in the minerals beneath the earth but in the strength and resilience of its women. Learning to unlearn is the cornerstone of success for women in the mining sector. By shedding preconceptions and embracing change, women can not only succeed but also lead the industry towards greater inclusivity, innovation, and progress.

Thought Leadership Article

Gone are the days of grocery vouchers as an incentive for mineworkers

How mines can empower mineworkers financially and boost safety and productivity

By Steve Mallaby, CEO, adumo Payouts

19 October 2023: The mining industry in South Africa has played a pivotal role in the nation’s economy for decades. Export data from the South African Revenue Service indicates that, for the first half of 2023, the value of mined material exports was R575 billion.

According to Statista, the industry is home to a substantial workforce, with 475 561 mineworkers employed in 2022. The platinum group metals sector is the largest employer of all mineral commodities with 172 159 employees. These statistics indicate the continued importance of mining to South Africa’s economy, contributing an impressive R493.8 billion to GDP in 2022.

The implication, however, is that many suppliers to the mining industry, whose fortunes are intrinsically linked to the performance of the mining sector, only do as well as mining itself. In our case, we have maintained a degree of resilience due to our unique solution offering.

Our journey into the mining industry has evolved organically over time, with a notable milestone being our partnership with one of the industry’s major players since 2012. At that time, they were handing out grocery vouchers as an incentive for their workers. We proposed a more versatile approach by introducing prepaid adumo debit cards, enabling mineworkers to use them for a wide range of needs. This marked the inception of a transformative approach that has evolved since then.

When handing out multiple grocery vouchers as a production or safety incentive, why not use the same instrument? Our solution enables mines to replace paper vouchers with a dynamic card that can be continually topped up as needed. These cards serve various purposes, including:

  • Incentivising mineworkers for early/late shifts and working overtime or public holidays.
  • Introducing an incentive aimed at health and wellness, such as getting vaccinated during the Covid-19 pandemic, or if mineworkers voluntarily elect to be tested for HIV.
  • Linking incentives to achieve or maintain certain key production targets.

Our solution is simple and scalable, catering to the diverse needs of operations in the mining industry, which often employ thousands of workers. Whether a business or corporate client has five or 5 000 staff, scalability goes hand in hand with flexibility.

For instance, if a mine hits a specific target at say 15:00 on a Friday, by the time the mineworkers return home at 18:00, the money is already loaded onto their adumo debit cards in real-time. We provide our mining clients with two options: they can supply us with the load instruction and details, or they can manage the process themselves via their dedicated self-service portal. In our experience, we have found that the mines prefer to interact directly with our team, building close personal relationships as a result.

In our unique approach, the corporate mine is our client and, by extension, the mineworker too becomes our client. If they have any query about their card, such as the balance, they can conveniently access an online portal, use a USSD code, or contact our multilingual team that offers support in all 11 national languages. This inclusivity builds trust and ensures effective communication, whether the mineworkers are from the Northern Cape or the North West.

It is important to note, that while the onboarding process is exceptionally quick, the sales process in the mining industry can be lengthy, as it is necessary to secure buy-in from various internal (finance, human capital, safety, etc.) and external stakeholders (trade unions). While we do not interact directly with the trade unions, they have been very supportive of the adumo solution, as it places the mineworkers at the core of the process.

Interestingly, most of the interactions and decisions occur at the mine level rather than at the mining house level. We have also engaged some of the junior miners to gain a better understanding of their needs in terms of employment, production, and safety.

At the heart of our solution, and the tangible benefit, is the focus on safety and production targets, which are top-of-mind for the mining industry. Production is uninterrupted if there are zero incidents, plus there is no attendant negative publicity and impact on the community, especially in the event of fatalities. By adding a human dimension to these targets through our incentivisation solution, we can influence positive behaviour.

The crux of the matter is that many miners fall on the lower end of the LSM scale, facing substantial debt, and have garnishee orders on their salaries. That presents a significant challenge when trying to incentivise workers. While mining companies make efforts to disburse incentives, the prevalence of garnishee orders hinders the desired behavioural shift.

When a mine partners with us, we disburse the funds directly onto each of the mineworkers’ adumo cards. The incentive payment is still processed through payroll to ensure compliance with tax authorities such as SARS. However, mineworkers now have their individual adumo debit cards, ensuring the funds are exclusively theirs, ultimately increasing their spending power.

Our approach is finely tuned to drive behaviour and engagement. For example, when a mine hits multiple targets relating to different safety initiatives, they instruct us to carry out three separate payouts. We also send an SMS communication to all mineworkers congratulating them on each of these milestones as part of our reinforcement strategy.

Recognising and rewarding good behaviour, such as being conscious of safety measures or reaching a safety milestone, provides a tangible benefit. Suddenly it makes sense to mineworkers as it impacts them directly. They become more safety conscious and are motivated to reach production targets, even willingly working on public holidays. This benefits the mine, fostering the correct behaviour, increasing production, and ultimately boosting shareholder value.

REFERENCES

South Africa's mining industry employment by commodity 2022 https://www.statista.com/statistics/241420/south-african-mining-key-facts/

South Africa: mining employment 2011-2021 | Statista

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1312267/south-africa-mining-employment/

Four facts about the mining industry (2019) | Statistics South Africa

https://www.statssa.gov.za/?p=14682