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Report - ESG Trends in Mining Industry

Report | Region: Global | 58 Pages

The report provides an overview about the global mining industry through an ESG perspective. Qualitative insights on ESG trends and their impact on mining companies are provided. The report provides an analysis of the mining industry supply chain with respect to ESG, along with a discussion of regulation for the mining industry.

Report Includes

- 1 data tables and 11 additional tables
- A brief general outlook of the ESG trends in mining industry
- Detailed qualitative analysis of the global mining industry, analysis of several factors such as current trends in the ESG industry, growing regulatory guidelines, and historical trends
- Information on ESG-related case studies and an industry overview
- Insights into the recent industry structure, regulations and policies, and the vendor landscape of the market leading participants

Find out more:
ESG Trends in Mining Industry

Executive Summary:

Over time, the idea of corporate sustainability has grown and added more components. It started as a solely environmentalist vision but has since expanded to include the personal, economic and cultural facets, becoming a holistic approach. The Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) parts of the sustainability concept have drawn more attention from the financial and investment sectors in this already complex situation.

Due to the evolution of ESG factors in finance, investors in the metals and mining industry are now looking to sustainable finance to find well-positioned mining companies with sustainably managed operations in line with a low-carbon profile that adequately offsets ESG externalities. The pre-project phases, such as the pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, are the optimal times to take ESG risks into account and determine how to manage them. Many of the long-term effects are now being fixed at these phases. It is possible to design problems when the right questions are asked about social and environmental repercussions and opportunities. Therefore, it is crucial to comprehend ESG developments while thinking about risk analysis and commercial strategy.

Numerous mining corporations have established aggressive corporate sustainability objectives, many of which seek to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 as the concern about climate change grows. However, the speed at which they arrive and the steepness of their trajectory in pursuing ESG goals will significantly influence their impact. Mining corporations are looking for speedier and more noticeable reform because recent environmental and social tragedies are still vivid in their minds

It may be possible to have this report customised. If you require any assistance or would like to discuss this further, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best Regards,

Marie Nolan
Senior Manager

Mine health

Working towards healthier workforces

Surface mining industry association, ASPASA, is committed to improving the health and well-being of miners in the country.

With a vision to promote a healthy and sustainable small surface mining industry, ASPASA has been actively working alongside Occupational Health Practitioners (OHPs) to address the challenges faced by employees and enhance productivity within the industry.

South African miners face a range of issues that impact their health and overall quality of life, consequently affecting productivity and safety in the mines. Chronic diseases, limited access to medical aid coverage, long waiting times at government health institutions, and occasional medicine stockouts at clinics are some of the challenges encountered by employees. These issues result in increased absenteeism, reduced mine productivity, added stress on remaining employees, and an elevated risk of workplace accidents.

Recognizing the importance of employee health and well-being, Sister Ronel Rossouw, an Occupational Health Practitioner working at a small-scale surface mine, has been working hard to improve the situation on mines she works with. She believes that prioritizing employee health not only ensures that miners receive the care and support they need but also contributes to the long-term productivity and sustainability of the country's mines.

Health partners

ASPASA, in collaboration with OHPs like Sister Ronel, plays a crucial role in addressing these challenges and improving productivity within the surface mining industry. The association provides its member mines with access to various resources and support systems, including health and safety updates, legal compliance guidelines, environmental updates, and training and skills development opportunities.

OHPs also provide health education on chronic diseases, facilitate early treatment referrals, and assist with monitoring at the workplace or refer employees to trustworthy clinics off site. That in turn reduces absenteeism, improves treatment compliance, and enhances workplace productivity.

Moreover, OHPs are actively engaged in promoting awareness and prevention programs related to workplace hazards and occupational injuries and diseases. These initiatives include the implementation of programs such as the Hearing Conservation Programme and Respiratory Conservation Programmes. Additionally, OHPs recognize the importance of employee mental health and are driving towards an overall well-being approach and not just occupational exposures.

ASPASA audit

Sister Ronel strongly emphasizes the importance of surface mines becoming members of ASPASA. By joining ASPASA, mines can gain access to quality health services and support mechanisms that enable them to proactively address employee health concerns and enhance productivity. ASPASA's audit program assists member mines in identifying the prevalence of chronic diseases among their workforce, allowing for targeted management strategies.

ASPASA remains dedicated to its mission of promoting a healthy and sustainable small surface mining industry in South Africa. By working in close collaboration with OHPs, the association continues to make significant strides in improving employee health and well-being, fostering a safer work environment, and enhancing overall productivity within the surface mining industry.

ASPASA, Tel: (011) 791 3327, Email: office@aspasa.co.za, Web: www.aspasa.co.za    

Increasing SA’s Manufacturing Output Essential in the Current Economic Climate

Local manufacturing output has increased by 3.4% year on year, according to the Manufacturing: Production and Sales report recently released by Statistics South Africa. While this is a step in the right direction following a protracted spell of subdued activity, it is now more important than ever to adopt new technologies to help boost the sector’s productivity, especially with the International Monetary Fund predicting real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth at only 0.1% this year.

This is according to Mandla Gqada, Solutions Architect and Engineering Lead at MakwaIT Technologies  who explains that research has found a direct and positive correlation between the productivity and efficiency of South African manufacturing firms and the application of technological innovation. “In fact, companies that harness technology in their processes experience a 900% increase in labour productivity.”

Additionally, a paper by McKinsey titled The Future of Work in South Africa: Digitisation, Productivity, and Job Creation, has shown that accelerated adoption of digital technologies could triple the country’s productivity growth, more than double growth in per capita income, and add more than a percentage point to the real GDP growth rate over the next decade. It could also result in a net gain of 1.2 million jobs by 2030. For this to become a reality, Gqada believes that, as South Africa’s fourth largest sector, the manufacturing industry must be at the forefront of digital transformation.”

“Despite contributing 12% to GDP pre-pandemic and playing a pivotal role in driving the country's economic growth, the manufacturing sector’s true potential has been impeded by its reluctance to fully embrace and integrate new technologies. Investment in digital transformation by local firms is therefore key for ramping up output and, in turn, the South African economy,” he concludes.

Tax incentive for rooftop solar – A proverbial two birds, one stone?

By Carryn Alexander, Partner & Sakiwe Canca, Candidate Attorney from Webber Wentzel

The South African Reserve Bank estimated that the rolling blackouts hitting South African businesses and households cost the economy approximately ZAR 900 million a day.  In addition, the Deloitte Centre for Sustainable Progress reported that – if left unchecked – climate change could cost the global economy USD 178 trillion over the next 50 years. Therefore, the proposed solar energy tax incentive aimed at encouraging the installation of rooftop solar panels to expand electricity generation represents an opportunity to address the current energy supply crisis and the imminent climate catastrophe, proverbially, killing two birds with one stone. Or does it?

The eagerly anticipated introduction of tax breaks for homeowners and businesses intending to invest in renewable energy sources and increase electricity generation was announced by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana in his 2023 budget speech. These include the below two tax relief measures for a respective one- and two-year duration:

  • A tax rebate of 25% of the installation cost, up to a maximum of ZAR 15 000, of rooftop solar panels from 1 March 2023 (solar energy tax incentive); and
  • A tax rebate of 125% of businesses' cost of investment in renewable energy sources such as solar, hydropower, biomass, and wind (enhanced renewable energy tax incentive).

In April, Treasury and the South African Revenue Service published the draft legislative amendments (the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill, 2023) to give effect to the tax relief measures announced in the 2023 Budget for public comment. While these tax breaks are most certainly welcomed, taxpayers are left wanting for various reasons.

A fully functioning solar energy system does not only require the installation of rooftop solar panels — each component, which includes inverters and batteries, is crucial. However, the solar energy tax incentive is restricted to the cost of solar panels only. Inverters and batteries (which power the inverters) are typically just as, or even more, expensive than the solar panels themselves. Treasury advised that the solar energy tax incentive is aimed at bringing more generation capacity online. However, any rooftop solar system which feeds into the grid, as supposedly encouraged by the solar energy tax incentive, requires an inverter to convert the direct current (DC) electricity (generated by the solar panels) to alternating current (AC) electricity, which is what is needed for the energy to be fed back into the national electricity grid. An inverter is evidently a crucial part of any solar energy system and is thus the sine qua non for qualifying for the solar energy tax incentive. For inverters to not be covered by the solar energy tax incentive is therefore unintelligible.

During a virtual public workshop held on 22 May 2023, Treasury recognised that many taxpayers already had inverters and batteries but argued that these did not generate more electricity; they "simply consumed electricity during one period, stored it and then released it later". Treasury then explained that by encouraging the installation of solar panels, more power would be brought to the grid, and that inverters and batteries were excluded from the rebate due to budgetary constraints. Ironically, while Treasury does not recognise the necessity of inverters and batteries for the purposes of applying the solar energy tax incentive, it confirmed the necessity of these components for the enhanced renewable energy tax incentive. During the virtual public workshop, a concern was raised that the wording of section 12BA, which refers to assets "to be used by that taxpayer in the generation of electricity" does not cover inverters and batteries. Treasury said that the use of the word 'in' made the provision wider than the actual generation part of the system, and thus includes inverters and batteries as a necessary part of the electricity generation system. Treasury's misunderstanding of the workings of an efficient solar energy system and its approach to combatting South Africa's energy crisis through the application of the solar energy tax incentive is not only disconcerting but also appears short-sighted.

Moreover, to apply for the solar energy tax incentive, the solar panels must be 'new and unused'. Treasury explained that the use of the word 'new' means that the tax credit can only be claimed for panels that are recently acquired. Therefore, panels that have been held in storage for a while before installing them would be considered 'old and unused'. On the face of it, it seems as though this qualifying criterion was inserted to prevent taxpayers from claiming a deduction on solar panels that were acquired prior to 1 March 2023 but only installed on or after 1 March 2023. The only clear reason for doing this appears to be cost saving on the part of Treasury.

When one considers the magnitude of the energy supply crisis that South Africa is facing, as well as the imminent climate catastrophe, the pecuniary gain that Treasury seeks to obtain is injudicious and defeats the so-called purpose of the solar energy tax incentive. Therefore, while the introduction of the solar energy tax incentive constitutes a clear indication by the government of its commitment to tackle the current energy supply crisis and the imminent climate catastrophe, the fiscal conservatism by Treasury may ultimately be its undoing.

Treasury is expected to take the relevant public comments into account and revise the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill, 2023 accordingly for further review.

African Critical Minerals Summit Officially Launches in Johannesburg

The African Critical Minerals Summit launched at a high-level breakfast event, attended by key energy and mining stakeholders, held in Johannesburg on April 14.

Energy Capital & Power (ECP) officially launched the African Critical Minerals conference and exhibition in Johannesburg on 14 April.

Attended by high-level mining and energy delegations from both the private and public sector – including Botlhale Seageng, Director of Investment Promotion at the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE); Willem Meintjies, Acting Executive Manager, Integrated Geoscience Development at the Council for Geoscience; and Allan Edwards, Chef de Bureau at the High Commission of Canada – the launch of the summit provided a preview of the upcoming African Critical Minerals Summit, scheduled for 6-7 November 2023 at the Sandton Conference Center.

Hosted by the DMRE and organized by ECP, the African Critical Minerals Summit taking place in November will unite African mining and energy policymakers, companies and investors with global counterparts to showcase investment opportunities within South Africa and Africa’s burgeoning critical minerals industry.

In his opening remarks, James Chester, Senior Director at ECP stated “We are proud to hold Africa’s first critical minerals event this November. Africa’s resources are vital to the world’s future clean growth and what we do with these resources will define the future prospects of mining companies and economies in SADC and across Africa.”

Why a war room will help you win

By Arjen de Bruin, Managing Director at OIM Consulting

Historically, the term ‘war room’ described a space that was used to strategise, discuss tactics and map out plans during battle.

The war room, as a concept, is said to have been officially introduced in the early 1900s (no doubt there were many unofficial iterations dating back much further), but it first gained prominence during the first and second world wars. Churchill’s ‘Cabinet War Rooms’ specifically – established to navigate World War 2 (WW2) – are particularly well-known and can even be visited today.

Nowadays, many industries – from financial services to advertising – have adopted the term ‘war room’ to describe a central hub where different skillsets might come together to tackle a problem or a project, especially those that are bigger and more complex in nature and require the input of multiple parties. These spaces aim to facilitate effective communication and action.

Within a mining organisation, the war room looks somewhat different, yet its core principles remain the same. It is cross-functional, bringing together people from different areas, whose alignment will move the organisation forward. In mining, we use ‘war room’ interchangeably with ‘bird’s room’, in reference to a ‘bird’s eye view’ that provides an overview of all critical functions.

Business and Human Rights: Increased scrutiny for mining companies

Business and Human Rights: Increased scrutiny for mining companies

By Rashaad Carrim, Partner, Pooja Dela, Partner & Paula-Ann Novotny, Senior Associate from Webber Wentzel

Increasingly, mining companies will have to satisfy lenders that they meet high ESG standards, particularly on business and human rights

For a long time now, miners’ development and capital projects have been subject to stringent environmental and social safeguards imposed by lending and other financing agreements. Recently, though, Southern African and international lending institutions have begun to demand higher standards of ESG-related compliance from mining companies, who risk being refused funding or even having their funding withdrawn if their performance is considered to be unsatisfactory.

In particular, there is greater scrutiny of the issue of business and human rights, as parts of the mining sector have been implicated in human rights abuses – particularly in conflict-affected and high-risk countries. Banks and other lending institutions can be directly linked to human rights violations by lending or extending other financial support to companies responsible for violating human rights.

Strengthening the 'G' in ESG: FICA, Import and Export and the effect on mines

Strengthening the 'G' in ESG: FICA, Import and Export and the effect on mines

By Jaqui Pinto, Senior Associate at Webber Wentzel

Government has introduced new or amended regulations relating to FICA and the import and export of certain minerals or other items, which may be relevant to different mining companies

ESG has become the latest buzzword globally and one which keenly affects the mining industry. As part of the 'G' in ESG in 2022, the South African government introduced legislative and policy amendments aimed at tackling issues of money-laundering, terrorist activities and theft. These changes come at a time where government has mentioned capacitating the South African Police Service and creating a Minerals and Precious Metals Theft Unit.

Although moves to combat these issues are welcome, some of the changes will affect the mining industry and may place inadvertent administrative burdens on companies. They should be aware of these matters, to ensure they comply.

Webber Wentzel discusses these amendments below.

Opinion piece: How to speed up Namibia’s resource beneficiation through a TES partner

Opinion piece: How to speed up Namibia’s resource beneficiation through a TES partner

By Jimmy Samuels, Africa Executive at Workforce Staffing Africa and Barend Matthee, National Projects Director at Workforce Holdings

30 January 2023

With the recent announcement of the biggest discovery of oil in Namibia’s history - an estimated 4 billion barrels - comes great economic opportunity. Namibia has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, and this oil discovery is estimated to bring in $5 billion in revenue by 2028 and double the country’s GDP by 2040. Although Namibia has approximately a decade to build the necessary infrastructure to start earning maximum benefits from the newly discovered oil and gas resources, in Africa, there is a tendency for the benefits from oil and gas discoveries to take an extraordinarily long time to materialise. There is also a massive infrastructure challenge in addition to skills shortages, which is likely to jeopardise Namibia’s resource beneficiation unless external assistance is sought.

Exciting potential offshore

Namibia’s discovery is located deep offshore, approximately 290 kilometres off the coast. With wells drilled to a total depth of 6 296 metres, a high-quality, light oil-bearing sandstone reservoir with 84 metres of net oil pay was discovered, the results of which exceeded pre-drill expectations. Such a discovery means that the deep-water Orange Basin has become one of the world’s most foremost exciting areas for hydrocarbon exploration. US and French firms are in the process of drilling their second and third wells, and by the end of the year they will have completed appraisals and reached estimated figures, after which companies could start production in as little as four years.

2023 to usher in strong growth in mining and industrial private LTE networks

  • Mines, factories must harness power of technology to future-proof operations from risks, boost innovation  

The innovation, expanded reach and security provided by these networks will drive greater advances in automation, enabling greater productivity and efficiency on sites. This digital transformation will propel African businesses into the digital future, creating even more opportunities for growth, skills development, and jobs. It will also greatly improve safety, which will be a critical feature of any strategy as mines go ever deeper, which increases  risks to workers’ health, lives and equipment.

According to Anton Fester, managing director at Sedna Industrial IT Solutions, better tidings in 2023 are thanks to significant digital advances across sectors, including primary industries in South Africa.

“We may all be focusing on the negatives like rolling power cuts and inflation – and rightly so and these are devastating to businesses and the economy – but we must not ignore the green shoots developing. For instance while 5G is all the rage, 6G and 7G (or so-called xG) will be next on the horizon,” says Fester.

In this exciting new world, substantially increased capacity and one microsecond latency communication, with data transfers effectively taking place at a quantum level is coming.

Case study: BBE on track to complete a major ventilation and refrigeration project at Evander Gold Mine

13 January 2023 
Bluhm Burton Engineering Projects (BBE) is currently working on phase 2 of a turnkey underground refrigeration project at Pan African Resources’ Evander Gold Mine No. 8 Shaft, which will enable the mine to expand its operations and access deeper levels of this high-grade orebody. 

Client background 

The Evander gold field was discovered in 1951 and the sinking of the Evander Gold Mines’ first shafts started in 1956, followed by the first gold pour in 1958. Pan African Resources took over the Evander Gold mine assets in February 2013. Currently, the mine employs close to 1 630 workers (including contractors). In 2018, the Elikhulu surface tailings treatment operations were commissioned, with a mine life of approximately 13 years. During 2018, large-scale underground operations at Evander were curtailed due to low gold prices and the high cost of production. However, the high-grade yet variable characteristics of the Kimberley Reef and the use of an innovative pseudo-pack support system has enabled Evander to recommence underground operations in 2020, initially starting with the mining of the Evander 8 Shaft pillar. At the same time, and given that the headgear, underground infrastructure and processing facilities with excess capacity is in place, Pan African undertook feasibility studies at Evander’s underground project areas with long-life potential, including the Egoli Project and the 24, 25 and 26 Level Projects. 

The challenge 

After commencing with pillar mining at 8 Shaft in 2018, the mine took the opportunity to relook accessing gold resources at the 24, 25 and 26 levels, and to draw up development and execution plans that are currently being implemented. Subsequently, Evander Gold Mines embarked on an expansion project to 24 level to access the deeper 25 and 26 levels. This expansion will provide access to the deeper levels of the orebody in the northwest, with potential mineral reserves in excess of a half a million ounces situated at depth. The project is set to deliver its first production on schedule in the 2023 financial year and is also paving the way for the provision of 65 000 oz of gold a year for more than eight years, making it a significant extension to the life of the operations. However, to access this deeper orebody, Pan African Resources was required to install additional ventilation and cooling at these levels. At a depth in excess of 2 000m, these new mining areas are too deep to remove heat from the rock with the existing ventilation, and was required to install a new ventilation and refrigeration system. 

OIL ADULTERATION A BIG RISK TO SOUTH AFRICA’S FUEL SECURITY

By Mpho Dipela, Director and Shareholder of Royale Energy 

South Africa is heavily dependent on imported fuel. As an oil company, Royale Energy is aware of the strategic role played by liquid fuels and have special measures in place to protect supply and logistics due to the importance of our structure within South Africa’s oil industry. The adulteration of oil in the country poses a massive new frontline security risk to fuel supply.

24 January 2023, Tshwane: In June last year, the Mineral Resources and Energy department raised the alarm on diesel-paraffin mixtures being sold as diesel at some petrol stations, confirmed by samples collected. The department also noted that imports of illuminating paraffin have increased significantly over the past year. As a result, it is currently working on a marker to ensure greater traceability of paraffin in diesel.

The price of diesel at the pump is not regulated in South Africa and therefore will differ. However, the source of the product is mostly the same, being locally refined or finished product imported by the oil majors. This means that it is not uncommon to find differences in diesel pricing even in rural areas.

South Africa’s shift to renewable energy must include plans for waste disposal

As South Africa increasingly looks to renewables to help address the country’s chronic energy crisis, independent power producers must ensure they have the right systems in place to dispose of wind and solar energy and associated storage equipment reaching the end of its life cycle.

World leaders attending the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) have praised South Africa’s Just Energy Transition Investment Plan (JET-IP), which outlines planned investment to accelerate the country’s shift away from coal.

Patricia Schröder, the spokesperson for the producer responsibility organisation (PRO) Circular Energy, says it is crucial that plans to increase the country’s use of renewable energy also cover waste management. “Our commitment to sustainability cannot simply focus on how we generate energy but must extend across the entire energy value chain, Schröder explains.

Renewable energy does generate waste

Wind and solar power and storage equipment typically have a lifespan of between 15 and 30 years, requiring power producers to plan well beyond their immediate waste disposal needs.

Don’t let mining waste go to waste

Managing waste is a key component of surface mining and minerals processing operations and should be prioritised to ensure sustainable mining practices are being followed.

This has prompted surface mining industry association, ASPASA, to encourage its members and the broader industry to address the many waste related challenges on our mines. Proper management of waste entails not only a good understanding of the types and quantities but also how it is managed now and in the immediate future.

Monitoring the waste generated over a period will aid in strategic intervention. If you categorize the type of waste, firstly it enables source separation and management more efficiently. Most common waste on mines can be classified as overburden, waste rock, tailings, slags, mine water, water treatment sludge and gaseous waste.

Dust and sludge

Depending on the product being made from scrap stone it generally produces screening residual, wastewater sludge, sawing dust, baghouse fines and stone fragments throughout the process. Additional waste is broken equipment and machinery scrap metal, wastewater sludge, petroleum products, stone waste, kerf waste and general site trash.

The impact of waste is largely measured through quantity, most recently estimated at 175 million tons of quarrying waste annually building up over years implying that action should be taken to reduce and eventually eliminate the major issues caused. Cutting stones, rock, sands and clays produce airborne dust containing very fine particles called respirable crystalline silica (RCS) which could lead to serious health problems and in some cases be fatal.

The waste from quarries and fabrication operations can create dangerous working conditions resulting in health and safety complications for workers and surrounding areas. In the case of wastewater sludge that consists of water contamination issues that pose a threat to our natural waterways, and land nutrients, soil biodiversity with immeasurable impact on the ecosystem.

Miners must reuse and recycle

Surface mining industry association Aspasa continues to encourage its members to handle waste responsibly and to turn excess mining waste into a positive contribution to the environment.

According to the latest available statistics, South Africans generate roughly 122 million tonnes of waste per year. Of this waste, a maximum of only 10% is recycled or recovered for other uses, while at least 90% is landfilled or dumped illegally. Similar figures apply to the mining industry where more can be done to reuse and recycle.

Demonstrating such an example is Labucon which has found a novel way of reusing tyres that are no longer serviceable to build retaining walls. After seeing how successful the projects were, the mine went on to build a demarcation barrier along the internal roadways. “Labucon was established in 1993 and has a large fleet of trucks. With tyres piling up we decided to find a new use for the old tyres to try and make a difference,” says Martie Joubert from Labucon Resources.

As reported by the ‘Tire Industry Project for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’, one billion end of life tyres are generated every year and there are currently four billion such tyres in landfills and stockpiles worldwide.

Sedna and Globalstar leverage terrestrial spectrum to connect, protect mines and miners in Africa

  1. Harnessing Globalstar’s Band 53, Sedna’s data-driven mining solutions for reliable data to save lives and protect assets

 

Johannesburg, 21 November 2022 – In a powerful strategic collaboration to connect and protect mining assets, improve data connectivity, and save lives, Africa-focused Industrial IT Solutions provider Sedna has partnered with telecom infrastructure  powerhouse Globalstar.

Band 53/n53 is a mid-band licensed spectrum resource that Globalstar offers to partners and customers that otherwise would not have access. Spectrum is sorely needed for progress in Africa. In line with demand for faster and more reliable speeds, the 5G variant of Globalstar’s Band 53 is known as n53.

“Demand for wireless data solutions from heavy industrial uses in mines is on the rise, but access to reliable always-on solutions is a challenge. Access to reliable data and connectivity is an imperative for miners and their managers, as reliance on Wi-Fi alone is not enough, while access to spectrum is a continuous challenge. Globalstar’s terrestrial spectrum offers an immediate solution and we are delighted to be joining forces with a renowned global innovator like Globalstar to bring secure, reliable and state of the art data connectivity solutions to mines across the continent,” says Anton Fester, Sedna Managing Director.

Turning the tide on South Africa’s water crisis

South Africa’s water crisis could be reversed by changing the paradigm of water as a finite resource, and bringing together political will, science and capital to change the way water is managed.

This is according to Prof Anthony Turton, a scientist and consultant specialising in water resource management as a strategic issue.
Prof Turton says that while South Africa is undeniably experiencing a water crisis, this situation could be reversed by changing the paradigms around water management. “In the past, water was seen as single use stock, and the solution to scarcity was to create dams and inter basin transfers,” he says.

This approach was the foundation of huge industrial growth around the world, but had unintended consequences, he notes. Now, areas of the country that once thrived on a foundation of dammed water face economic ruin.

“The paradigm must change – water is infinitely usable. In a new paradigm of abundance, based on simple scientific truth, we must acknowledge that water is a flux flowing in time and space, therefore it’s an infinitely renewable resource. When it has been used, it returns into the ecosystem, so you haven’t lost it – you still have the same volume,” he says.

In his paper A South African Perspective on Climate Change, Food Security and Water, presented at the 4th BRICS Academic Forum, New Delhi, March 2012, Prof Turton noted that water moves in time and space, driven by the laws of physics, in what is known as the hydrological cycle. “In fact, we have the same volume on our planet today as we had when the dinosaurs roamed free 65 million years ago,” he said

Top Scholars in South Africa Honoured

Twenty-nine of the country’s leading scholars and scientists were inaugurated as Members of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) at the annual Awards Ceremony on 19 October 2022.

As the official Academy of South Africa, ASSAf has as core function to honour the country’s most outstanding scholars by electing them to Membership of the Academy. ASSAf Members are drawn from the full spectrum of disciplines.

New Members are elected each year by the full existing Membership. Membership of the Academy is a great honour and is in recognition of scholarly achievement. Members are the core asset of the Academy and give of their time and expertise voluntarily in the service of society.

The 29 new ASSAf Members bring the total Membership of ASSAf to 659.

At the same time ten new members of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) were inaugurated.

BME – Culture protocols key to blast safety on mines

BME – media release on safety in mining

Culture, protocols key to blast safety on mines

A recent global safety report for mining indicates a gradual but steady improvement in mine safety, with a total recordable injury (TRI) frequency rate at a low 2,90 – down from 5,07 just a decade ago.

The Safety Performance Report by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) benchmarked the progress of its members during 2021. The ICMM noted that the industry has focused on “operational, cultural and leadership transformation” in reducing fatalities in recent years.

Blasting solutions specialist BME has concurred that a growing safety culture is a major factor behind positive safety trends in mining, as well as uncompromising compliance with strict safety protocols. According to Ramesh Dhoorgapersadh, General Manager for Safety, Health, Environment, Risk and Quality (SHERQ) at the JSE-listed Omnia Group company, safety must be ingrained into every activity, in line with recognised standards and procedures.

“The blasting philosophy of BME is expressed through our innovative products and leading initiation technologies,” said Dhoorgapersadh. “This also means aligning our policies with customer’s own safety protocols and broader regulatory requirements.”

Fresh projects are needed for mining to meet demand

Times are good for the mining sector, but more exploration and mine development is vital if it is to keep up with future demand – for battery minerals in particular. With the focus now on minerals that can build a low-carbon future, Ralf Hennecke, Managing Director of Omnia Group company BME, has emphasized a commodity pipeline that is falling short.

“Greenfield projects to boost the production of key commodities are scarce,” he said. “Minerals like nickel, copper, cobalt and platinum group metals are likely to experience supply shortages in the not-too-distant future if new projects are not initiated soon.”

He reiterated that new mining operations – or even large expansions – typically take 7-10 years to progress from the planning stage to the production of metal. There is a likelihood that the demand-supply gap in many minerals could worsen if levelling production rates are not augmented with new sources of supply. The demand for battery minerals is being driven by a range of green technologies – even though there is still uncertainty about which minerals will be most in demand in the future.