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South Africa’s Mining Sector Embraces Digital Tech and Sustainability

by Victor Adetimilehin

South Africa’s mining industry is on the verge of a digital revolution while integrating sustainable practices, exemplified by the upcoming Wits Mining Institute (WMI) seminar and exhibition.

Scheduled for September 28 and 29, 2023, at Wits University in Johannesburg, this event will bring together industry leaders, academics, and stakeholders to share their insights and innovations. Topics of discussion will include critical raw materials, circular mining, cybersecurity, and waterless mining.

This seminar is the result of a longstanding collaboration between Sibanye-Stillwater and the WMI, with sponsorship from other notable mining companies and organizations. The Wits Mining Institute, a research hub committed to pioneering technologies and sustainable mining practices, is at the helm of this transformation.

A highlight of the event is the Sibanye-Stillwater DigiMine tour, a flagship project of the WMI that showcases cutting-edge digital technologies applied in a simulated underground mine. This DigiMine is seamlessly connected to the newly refurbished and rebranded Wits Sibanye-Stillwater Innovation Bridge, bridging East and West campuses.

According to Professor Glen Nwaila, the director of WMI, this seminar will confront pressing issues within the mining sector. These include securing critical raw materials for the just energy transition, embracing circular economy principles, ensuring cybersecurity in the adoption of digital technologies, and crafting innovative strategies for waterless mining. Nwaila emphasizes that it will also foster research and innovation in the extraction and processing of critical raw materials crucial for a sustainable and just energy transition—an imperative for achieving the global target of net zero emissions by 2050.

Moreover, the seminar will explore a shift towards a service-oriented model in the mining industry, where metals are offered as subscriptions rather than ownership. This resonates with the preferences of modern investors, consumers, and employees who prioritize social consciousness.

Professor Nwaila envisions the seminar as a platform where experts from diverse backgrounds convene to exchange knowledge, share insights, and chart future directions for the mining sector, enhancing their professional development in the process.

The event will also reflect on the accomplishments and challenges faced by South Africa’s mining sector. It has weathered labor disputes, power disruptions, and regulatory uncertainties. Nevertheless, it has displayed remarkable resilience and adaptability, making significant contributions to the nation’s economy and social progress.

Ultimately, the seminar aims to infuse optimism and hope into the future of mining in South Africa and beyond. Through the adoption of digital technologies and a commitment to sustainability, the industry can not only overcome its current hurdles but also create fresh opportunities for growth, innovation, and transformation.

Source: Africa Mining

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