Mining technology and skills to drive a low carbon future and just energy transition will be taking another step forward at the Wits Mining Institute’s (WMI) upcoming summit on 28 and 29 September 2023.
To be held at Wits University in Johannesburg, the 21st Century Mining Technology, Skills and Exhibition event will focus on four key areas, according to the WMI Director Professor Glen Nwaila: integrated critical raw materials for the just energy transition; circular mining and minerals; digital technologies and cybersecurity; and waterless mining.
The event represents over a decade of partnership between Sibanye-Stillwater and the WMI. Aside from sponsoring WMI’s flagship centre (i.e., the Sibanye-Stillwater DigiMine), Sibanye-Stillwater also recently sponsored the newly refurbished and rebranded Wits Sibanye-Stillwater Innovation bridge, which links East and West campuses.
This year, the WMI summit collaboration includes sponsorship from South32, as well African Rainbow Minerals (ARM), Impala Platinum (Implats), Datamine, Ramjack Technology Solutions, Schauenburg Systems, Gold One, Accenture and the Mandela Mining Precinct. In hosting the summit, the WMI has also joined forces with the Wits Business School.
“Our first focus aims to promote research and innovation in the exploration, extraction and processing of critical raw materials that are essential for a sustainable and just energy transition,” says Professor Nwaila. “This has become imperative to achieve the global target of net zero emissions by 2050.”
The next focus emphasises the importance of circular economy principles in the mining industry.
“We will explore secondary sources of metals, such as stockpiles and metallurgical tailings, and discuss how the mining industry can transition to a service-oriented model,” he explains. “This contrasts with the traditional ownership model, and instead aims to achieve a metal for subscription model that is relevant to modern investors, consumers and employees become more socially conscious.”
As advancements in digital technologies transform the mining landscape, the summit will address the challenges and opportunities of implementing digital technologies such as material traceability or fingerprinting of commodities from mining operation to the market. These solutions will have to be applied while ensuring robust cybersecurity measures, responsible use of artificial intelligence and effective governance.
“Water scarcity is another pressing concern for many mining regions, so the summit will highlight innovative technologies and collaborative strategies that enable waterless mining processes,” he says. “Progress on this front will reduce the industry’s environmental impact and help ensure sustainable resource management for water security in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.”
As the host organisation, the WMI advances research, innovation and collaboration in the mining industry, with a strong focus on cutting-edge technologies and sustainable practices. Professor Nwaila says the WMI summit will be a unique platform bringing together industry leaders, experienced academics, students and stakeholders from the mining sector – to exchange knowledge, share insights and explore the latest advancements in mining to envision future trajectories.
“We have secured an impressive line-up of esteemed speakers and panellists who will share their expertise to ensure an enriching experience for participants,” he says. The registration fee is R3 000 per day or R6 000 for both days. Online attendance is also available at 50% of the price. Participants attending both days receive a certificate of attendance, along with CPD points, further accelerating their professional development.