SA mining sector generally not yet ready to willingly adopt modernised mining methods – by Dylan Slater ( – November 11, 2016)

JOHANNESBURG ( – The South African mining sector is, generally, not yet in a position to willingly adopt and implement an array of digitalised and modernised mining methods, contrary to advisory and general industry views on the need to modernise mines to prepare them for the future, according to University of Pretoria (UP) Department of Mining Engineering head Professor Ronny Webber-Youngman.

He says, although a lot of “good work” is being done to procure and bring on line some modern equipment and systems, including updated techniques of extraction and processing, the supply chain is still largely stuck in the “old ways”.

During the 2015 edition of resource sector exhibition Joburg Indaba, a survey was conducted to unpack the topic of modernisation, with specific reference to how the South African mining industry measures up in the modernisation stakes and the level of readiness required to adopt the various modalities.

The survey was conducted through an online platform, with input provided by more than 200 participants, including 20% at GM level, 30% at CEO level and 13% at company director level.

Webber-Youngman states that the results from the survey indicated that only 25% of respondents had confidence in the use of modern technology. However, contrary to this low level of confidence, it was indicated that 55% of respondents had used some sort of modern mining technology in their mines, thereby representing some willingness to try varying degrees of modernisation.

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