Mining Annual Report

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2020/21 ANNUAL REVIEW Celebrating excellence in mining engineering education

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology Fakulteit Ingenieurswese, Bou-omgewing en Inligtingtegnologie / Lefapha la Boetšenere, Tikologo ya Kago le Theknolotši ya Tshedimošo


CONTENTS

Annual Review of the Department of Mining Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology, University of Pretoria, for the period 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021

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Foreword Message from the Dean Message from the HOD 2020/21 Highlights

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Department Profile About the Department Visibility Department operations Strategic intent

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A reimagined future through excellence in mining engineering education 16

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Research Profile Research focus areas Mining Resilience Research Centre SAMERDI Research Centre in Mechanised Mining Systems Research output International collaboration Achieving excellence in postgraduate research

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Teaching and Learning Profile Is mining engineering still an option for aspiring students?

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Online teaching and learning Student wellbeing M&R MELA Industry visits English Literacy drive

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Developing a new skill set for future mining engineers

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Tuks Mining Society Class of 2020

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Women in mining

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Alumni MASUP AGM Student prizes CEO alumnus: Peter Steenkamp

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Industry footprint

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Prominant alumni Departmental Advisory Board

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Industry involvement Short courses Partners

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ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS 4IR AGM AI AMMSA AR ARM ARWU CEO CSIR DAAD DSI EBIT ECSA ELSA HOD IIT

Fourth Industrial Revolution Annual General Meeting Artificial Intelligence Association of Mine Managers of South Africa Augmented Reality African Rainbow Minerals Academic Ranking of World Universities Chief Executive Officer Council for Scientific and Industrial Research German Academic Exchange Service Department of Science and Innovation Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology Engineering Council of South Africa English Language Skills Assessment Head of Department Interactive immersive technology

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

IoT ISRM M&R MASUP MCSA MEESA MELA MESCOSA METF MHSC MMP MMS MRRC MVSSA NRF PGM QS

Internet of Things International Society for Rock Mechanics Murray and Roberts Mining Alumni Society of the University of Pretoria Minerals Council South Africa Mining Engineering Education South Africa Mining Engineering Leadership Academy Mining Engineering Student Council of South Africa Minerals Education Trust Fund Mine Health and Safety Council Mandela Mining Precinct Mechanised Mining Systems Mining Resilience Research Centre Mine Ventilation Society of South Africa National Research Foundation Platinum Group Metals Quacquarelli Symonds

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SACMA SAIMM SAMERDI SANIRE SOMP SWOT T&L TMS the dtic UP Wits VR VRC VUCA WEF XR

South African Colliery Managers’ Association Southern Africa Institute of Mining and Metallurgy South African Mining, Extraction, Research, Development and Innovation South African National Institute of Rock Engineering Society of Mining Professors Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats Teaching and Learning Tuks Mining Society Department of Trade, Industry and Competition University of Pretoria University of the Witwatersrand Virtual reality Virtual Reality Centre for Mine Design Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous World Economic Forum Extended Reality

ANNUAL REVIEW 2020/21


MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN In the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology (EBIT), we continue to be guided by our slogan, Innovating our Tomorrow. This amplifies our thought leadership to stay relevant, to be globally competitive, to re-invent ourselves and to deliver graduates who will be ready to embrace the disruptive unknown with an awakened mind. All of our departments focus on quality teaching and learning, as well as producing high-quality research, to make the University of Pretoria (UP) a leading research-intensive university in Africa and in the world.

TOP 50

To ensure that we remain globally competitive beyond the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), while maintaining our place as an innovation leader, the Department of Mining Engineering actively collaborates with international universities, government departments and industry. The Department continues to work with stakeholders such as the Minerals Council South Africa, the Mandela Mining Precinct, the Mine Health and Safety Council and other South African academic institutions to enhance the relevance of its research and academic programmes. This enables the Department to equip its students with scarce and highly specialised skills. It is estimated that the Department supplies the South African mining industry with 15–20% of its mining engineering graduates.

2020/21 QS World University Subject Rankings

EBIT is one of the few faculties in Africa to feature among the top 500 in the world in six subject areas in the 2021 QS World University Subject Rankings. Our School of Engineering is ranked 356th out of more than 10 000 engineering schools in the field of engineering and technology. This year, we are particularly proud of the Department of Mining Engineering, which significantly contributes to the Faculty’s ranking among the top 50 worldwide for minerals and mining engineering. This recognition coincides with the commencement of the Department’s 60-year celebrations. As we celebrate excellence in mining engineering education, we remain future-focused in our education and training of engineers who can make a difference. I wish to extend my congratulations to the Department and its leadership, and look forward to witnessing its achievements in the near future.

As we enter the era of Society 5.0, ethical leadership has become a critical direction of thinking. In this regard, the Department’s innovative teaching practices, particularly in the area of leadership development, are highly regarded in industry. Through initiatives like the Murray & Roberts Mining Engineering Leadership Academy (M&R MELA), the Department is enabling its students to succeed and contribute to a sustainable, peaceful and inclusive future for all.

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

of universities ranked globally for MINERALS AND MINING ENGINEERING

Prof Sunil Maharaj Dean: Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology

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MESSAGE FROM THE HOD This edition of the Department of Mining Engineering’s annual review is published at a time that the Department is celebrating 60 years of excellence in mining engineering education, which will culminate in the 60-year celebration dinner of the Mining Alumni Society of the University of Pretoria (MASUP) on 5 March 2022. Despite the ongoing challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact of social distancing protocols on teaching and learning, the Department still achieved several milestones during the period under review.

One of the elements of the Department’s strategic intent is to strengthen the University’s research and international profile. That was achieved with the ranking of the University of Pretoria in the top 50 universities in the world for minerals and mining engineering in the 2020/21 QS World University Subject Rankings. We are exceptionally proud of this achievement, which is an indication of the success of the Mining Footprint initiative at the University of Pretoria, in which research related to minerals and mining engineering is taking on an increasingly transdisciplinary nature, spanning different departments and faculties at the University. Another important form of recognition that the Department received from industry was the awarding of the South African Mining, Extraction, Research, Development and Innovation (SAMERDI) Research Centre in Mechanised Mining Systems to the University of Pretoria by the Mandela Mining Precinct. This research centre will be managed as a multidisciplinary initiative in collaboration with the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering to further stimulate research activities in South Africa’s mining industry, which will boost the economy and contribute to the sustainability of the industry. Since my appointment as Head of Department in 2007, it has been my aim to visibly align the Department’s educational and research objectives with industry needs. In the process, the Department has achieved several highlights that are contributing to its celebration of 60 years of excellence. The Department’s excellent relationships with its industry partners led to the establishment of the Kumba Virtual Reality Centre for Mine Design (VRC) in 2013. This was the first centre of its kind in Africa to be housed at a university, and enabled the Department to realistically simulate a range of mining functions in a low-risk, highimpact learning environment. The facilities comprise a wall-to-wall 3D theatre, as well as an immersive mine simulation theatre, which casts 360° images against dark surrounding panels with cinematic clarity and highly realistic sound effects. The infrastructure development, which was completed in 2015, included new offices for the Department on the fifth floor of the Mineral Sciences Building, while African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) provided funding for a new mining exhibition centre. ARM also provided funding to support postgraduate students to pursue a research career, which – to my mind – is dearly needed in South Africa.

“In its 60th year of existence, the Department looks to the future to continue its work of educating and leading mining engineers to become imagineers.”

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

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Another highlight over the past 15 years has been the establishment of five industry-funded research chairs, which enabled the Department to expand the focus of its research. The Department’s first research chair was the Sasol Chair in Safety, Health and Environment, which was active between 2012 and 2017. The Harmony Gold Chair in Rock Engineering and Numerical Modelling was established in 2013 with support over three years to conduct research on a safer working environment in the hard-rock mining industry. Harmony Gold subsequently extended its initial sponsorship of the research chair by a further three years in 2016 and again in 2020. The AEL Intelligent Blasting Chair for Innovative Rock-breaking Technology was established in 2018 to establish the University as a centre of excellence for emerging rock-breaking technologies. It would make use of the VRC to focus on three-dimensional blast simulation and the visualisation of new research. The Exxaro Chair in Extended Reality (XR) Technology was established in 2020, in collaboration with the Department of Information Science, with the aim of designing XR technologies that can enable intuitive interaction with virtual environments. The Murray & Roberts Chair in Industry Leadership 4.0 was established in 2019 to facilitate research in leadership relevant to mining. The research conducted in this Chair is supplemented by the Murray & Roberts Mining Engineering Leadership Academy (M&R MELA), which forms part of the final-year students’ Mine Design curriculum. This expands on an initiative launched in 2013 to develop the non-technical (soft) skills of students, and assists graduates to adapt to the challenges of the world of work.

academic performance since only 7% of the Department’s students have English as their first language. An important focus of the Department is the wellbeing of its students. Its interaction with its students takes place according to a value-driven framework, guided by the values of respect, care, honesty, integrity and trust. Where possible, the Department lends support to avert any anxiety students may experience during their studies, especially students who are in need. Mining engineering students are given the opportunity to network and socialise with other students and staff of the Department outside lecture halls through the Tuks Mining Society, a student organisation that supports the Department’s students on a holistic level. A mentorship programme is also in place where junior students are assigned senior students to assist them with academic issues and provide guidance based on personal experience. The Department benefits from the expertise of leaders from industry and academia, who serve on the Mining Engineering Advisory Board. It is my pleasure to welcome five new advisory board members, and I wish to thank them for making themselves available to serve on the Board. They are Mr Leon Joseph, Mr Kennedy Sengani, Ms Nozipho Dlamini, Ms Mbali Phejaolema and Mr Charles Makgala. The Department also enjoys the active support of its alumni through the Mining Alumni Society of the University of Pretoria (MASUP). Through this platform, alumni support the Department by raising sponsorships, and ensuring that a high level of skills and educational standards are maintained. This society also serves as a social network for mining engineers in industry.

McKinsey released a report on the skills needed for the future of work in June 2021, which in a big way confirmed that, as a Department, we are addressing critical issues in our leadership academy, such as critical thinking, communication, mental flexibility, developing relationships and teamwork effectiveness. Under the banner of self-leadership, McKinsey highlighted the following as key aspects: self-awareness and self-management, entrepreneurship and goals achievement.

The Department’s alumni are among the leaders of industry locally and abroad, and currently include more than 30 individuals who serve in the leadership ranks of prominent organisations and on their boards of directors, and are recognised for the role they play in the development of the country’s economy. These individuals are also ambassadors for the University of Pretoria, and enhance its image through their exceptional achievements as the chief executive officers, chief operating officers, managing directors and executive heads of various mining companies.

In recognition of the fact that a resilient mining industry is of particular relevance to Africa, the Department launched the Mining Resilience Research Centre (MRRC) in 2017. This is a multidisciplinary research centre that contributes to solutions for complex mining problems through the rigorous integration of scientific research, the pursuit of practically implementable solutions and the education of graduates who are equipped with relevant skills.

One of the most recent achievements of our alumni of which I am exceptionally proud is the appointment of the Department’s alumni to the top positions in the country’s two foremost mining industry associations: Mr Francois Janse van Rensburg as the current president of the Association of Mine Managers South Africa (AMMSA) and Mr Rico van Staden as the current president of the South African Colliery Managers’ Assosciation (SACMA). Ms Nozipo Dlamini has also been elected to follow Mr Van Staden as the president of SACMA for 2022–23. This will make her the first black female president of SACMA.

The Department has also developed innovative teaching and learning initiatives during the past decade and a half. These have been aimed at supporting undergraduate students and enhancing the Department’s throughput and success rate, while ensuring that it delivers well-rounded mining engineers to the workforce. Industry visits form part of the Department’s curriculum, and serve to expose students to what they can expect when they start working at a mining operation.

In conclusion, I wish to thank our alumni and industry partners for their support over the past 60 years, and look forward to celebrating this milestone in the Department’s history over the coming year.

Another initiative to support students to succeed academically is the English Literacy training drive, which was launched in the Department in 2014. This was developed following the identification of students’ mastery of the English language as one of the challenges that affected their

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

Prof Ronny Webber-Youngman Head of Department: Department of Mining Engineering

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2020/21 HIGHLIGHTS Despite the continuing constraints imposed on the activities of the Department by the COVID-19 pandemic during 2021/21, the Department is still able to look back on its achievements with pride.

The highlight for the Department was the University of Pretoria’s ranking in the top 50 worldwide for its minerals and mining engineering discipline in the QS World University Subject Rankings for 2020/21, which ranks science, mathematics and technology courses from global universities. An important component of maintaining and improving this ranking is the quality of the Department’s research output. This coincided with the commencement of the Department’s diamond jubilee, with the theme “60 years of excellence in mining engineering education”, which would form an important part of the Department’s activities in 2021/22. Several high-profile events that were held in commemoration of this important milestone enhanced the Department’s visibility, as well as the leading role of its alumni in the mining industry. The festivities are to culminate in the MASUP Presidential Dinner and Department of Mining Engineering Birthday Celebration Dinner on 5 March 2022.

In terms of research, the Department’s objective is to improve the number of articles published in internationally accredited, peer-reviewed journals, to increase the number of citations these journal articles attract, and to improve the impact factor (H-index score) of its researchers. There is also an ongoing drive for staff to apply for ratings from the National Research Foundation (NRF) and to increase the output of outstanding postgraduate students. Unfortunately, due to the impact of the pandemic and the cancellation of several conferences, completed papers could not be presented or published as planned. Those journal papers that were completed and submitted during the period under review will only be published later in 2021 due to the slow journal referee processes as a result of the challenges imposed by the pandemic. Nonetheless, this backlog has given the Department a very healthy publication pipeline for 2021/22, and five of these submitted paper have already been published.

The Department’s research approach was aligned to a strategic decision taken in 2019 to place greater focus on areas of outstanding research and to build on these areas. During the period under review, the Department therefore focused its research efforts on growing capacity in the following five key research areas:

Mechanisation and automation

Rock-breaking and explosive engineering

Management and leadership

Rock engineering

Extended reality (XR) technology

Postgraduate research is anticipated to occur in each of these five areas. As in previous years, the Department made use of industry experts, appointed on a part-time basis, to conduct cutting-edge research in these areas. This is linked to the Department’s strategic intent to increase its capacity in each of these research areas.

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The work of the Rock Engineering Research Group, under the leadership of Prof Francois Malan, is now well established, with three PhD students, seven MSc students and two honours students working under his guidance. Work also continued in the Department’s three industry-sponsored research chairs: Harmony Gold Chair in Rock Engineering and Numerical Modelling Harmony Gold’s support for the Chair in Rock Engineering continued in 2020 when it concluded its third consecutive three-year research agreement with the University of Pretoria. This Chair conducts research into techniques to simulate rock mass behaviour in South Africa’s deep-level gold mines, which makes an important contribution to the sustainability of the industry.

AEL Intelligent Blasting Chair for Innovative Rock-breaking Technology The three-year research agreement with AEL Mining Services for the AEL Intelligent Blasting Chair for Innovative Rock-breaking Technology, established in 2018, came to an end in December 2020. Negotiations are, however, under way to extend this agreement. Outputs of this Chair include the completion of a master’s study cum laude in 2019 by Jennifer van der Walt, a staff member of the Department, from the work she undertook in the Chair.

Murray & Roberts Chair in Industry Leadership 4.0 The Murray & Roberts Chair in Industry Leadership 4.0, which came into effect in January 2020, is actively focusing on the Department’s management and leadership research area. Among the proposed projects are the acceptance of technology by leaders and the safety and risk leadership required by South African mining companies to navigate the impact of the 4IR. Two postgraduate students are working together with Prof Ronny Webber-Youngman and Dr Johann Uys in this area.

A further new development in the Department is its involvement in the Exxaro Chair in XR Technology. This Chair is formally housed in the Department of Information Science in the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology. This is due to the interdisciplinary nature of the work groups and focus of the Department of Information Science and the Department of Mining Engineering. The Chair, which will be formally launched on 1 September 2021, has three main focus areas: to develop a proof-of-concept application of XR systems within the Exxaro Group, to use Exxaro’s test sites to evaluate the effectivity of XR interventions, and to establish the viability of these interventions within the mining industry.

COLLABORATION The Department undertook several collaborative and cross-cutting contract research initiatives during the period under review. These efforts are coordinated by the Department’s Mining Resilience Research Centre (MRRC), which obtained several new contract research projects from industry in 2020/21. It also continued its excellent relationship with the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) and was awarded a further project in 2020. The Department furthermore continued its involvement in the South African Mining, Extraction, Research, Development and Innovation (SAMERDI) initiative, funded by the Minerals Council South Africa (MCSA) and the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). This is a collaborative initiative between the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the University of Pretoria, the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg, coordinated under the auspices of the Mandela Mining Precinct.

A highlight for the period under review was the approval of a proposal for the establishment of the SAMERDI Research Centre in Mechanised Mining Systems at the University of Pretoria as a joint venture by the Department of Mining Engineering and the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering. In this regard, UP (through the MRRC) will coordinate research by the partner institutions to further explore activities related to mine layout design, mechanisation and new mining methods to ensure the sustainability of the South African mining industry.

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

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POSTGRADUATE RESEARCH The year under review was characterised by the highest number of postgraduate students ever to graduate from the Department. Its registered postgraduate students (master’s and PhD candidates) also increased in 2021. The Department’s growth strategy is aimed at increasing its postgraduate numbers to 70 postgraduate students by 2025, of which it is envisaged that 30% will be full-time students. At the same time, it aims to sustain its undergraduate numbers at approximately 120 students.

TEACHING AND LEARNING From a teaching and learning perspective, the COVID-19 pandemic posed several additional challenges, including restrictions to campus access. The need thus arose to adopt an online learning approach much sooner than was anticipated. This took the form of the flipped classroom approach, where traditional class presentations were pre-recorded and provided to students via the University’s learning management system. The students viewed these presentations before attending online classes. Contact time was then used to discuss and work through example problems. This approach, however, brought about a new set of challenges, including data accessibility, connectivity and lecturer-student interaction. The year also saw the finalisation of the phasing in of a new Mining Engineering curriculum. This followed a significant curriculum restructuring process that was launched following the accreditation visit of the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) in 2017. The year under review was to see the start of new modules in Strata Control, Ventilation and a first-year module, Introduction to Mining; the introduction of a redesigned Mineral Economics module to include more financial evaluation; and the expansion of the Rock-breaking module to include non-explosive rock breaking. The curriculum transformation drive also provided the opportunity to include more relevant African examples, content updates and alignment to the national context.

Against the background of celebrating 60 years of excellence in mining engineering education, the Department’s activities, as reported in this annual review, are a reflection of the important contribution it makes to the country’s mining industry, particularly the role it plays within the context of the 4IR. As it positions itself for the future, the Department of Mining Engineering reaffirms its commitment to addressing global issues related to mining innovation, safety, health and environmental sustainability, social responsibility and community management through its well-structured undergraduate and postgraduate education and research.

The Department appreciates the words of congratulations and recognition it has received in relation to its 60th year of existence since the beginning of 2021, and looks forward to the next phase of educating and leading mining engineers to become “imagineers”.

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

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DEPARTMENT PROFILE

Educating and leading mining engineers to become imagineers

SINCE 1961

VALUES Respect Care Honesty Integrity Trust

The Department of Mining Engineering has

VISION

made a significant contribution to the mining

To be a leading research-intensive mining engineering department in Africa, recognised internationally for its quality, relevance and impact, and for developing people, creating knowledge and making a difference locally and globally.

industry by providing it with world-class mining engineering leaders. Its alumni have taken up leading positions in business and industry. The Department has established a sound foundation for the future development of its

MISSION

teaching, research and community service initiatives. It is actively involved in the community,

To educate and lead mining engineering students to become imagineers by empowering them with technical and non-technical skills through the use of world-class education, research, leadership and related technology interventions.

and its staff members participate in the activities of professional societies, as well as in expert consultation and other activities in the Faculty.

ACADEMIC OFFERING

STRATEGIC GOALS

BEng Mining Engineering

• To be a leading research-intensive department • To pursue excellence in teaching and learning • To be recognised continuously for the quality of graduates delivered • To strengthen the Department’s national and international profile through the establishment of sound sustainable business and other relationships • To become financially independent in terms of the growth strategy of the Department

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

Honours, master’s and doctoral degree programmes in Mining Engineering and Applied Science Mining

FOR MINERALS AND MINING ENGINEERING WORLDWIDE

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VISIBILITY

#UPMININGMATTERS The “new normal” has necessitated the expanded use of online platforms in all facets of operation for higher education institutions and businesses across the board. In this regard, the Department actively seeks out opportunities to showcase its work on the global stage through the use of online platforms. The #UPMiningMatters marketing drive has gained traction in its goal of increasing the Department’s visibility, particularly as it relates to its research activities. This can be seen in the Department’s increasing presence on social media platforms and its participation in high-profile online events.

615

+

followers

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followers

75

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

230

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8

followers

ANNUAL REVIEW 2020/21


LEAD-UP IN CONVERSATION WITH THE UP VICE-CHANCELLOR AND PRINCIPAL Alumni from the Department, together with Prof Ronny Webber-Youngman, participated in an online discussion with the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Tawana Kupe.

savvy. Although mining engineers need to be up to speed with cutting-edge technology, it is equally important to develop skills as a leader. Laas, whose company sponsors the M&R MELA, said that it is vital for graduates entering the mining industry to be able to develop leadership skills in others, and to put them into practice where they work. Joubert concurred, stating that the focus should not be on technology, but on culture, leadership development and upscaling employees. This process will ensure a safer, healthier environment in mining industries. The 4IR will enable mining engineers to develop new operating models with real information to make quick decisions. It will also help turn research into globally competitive programmes.

The panel featured Peter Steenkamp (CEO of Harmony Gold), Nozipho Dlamini (Technical Services Manager at Thungela Resources), André Joubert (Chief Executive of the Ferrous Division of African Rainbow Minerals), Henry Laas (CEO of Murray & Roberts) and Tarusha Moonsamy (Engagement and Project Manager of McKinsey and Company). The topic of the conversation was the role of leadership in the context of the 4IR in mining and related industries. According to Prof Webber Youngman, the Department has identified a need to develop leadership skills in its students as early as undergraduate level. This is essential as mining industries are becoming all the more dynamic with the advent of autonomous workforces, which will require people who can lead effectively.

In the view of both Dlamini and Moonsamy, digitalisation and automation brought about by 4IR technologies have levelled the playing field for women and stopped mining from being only about physical capacity, but about mental capability as well. Autonomous equipment also makes it a lot safer for women entering the industry.

The panellists agreed that an increased emphasis on leadership skills will help individuals working in mining and related industries to cope better with the demands of the highpressure and stress-related environment that characterises the mining industry. Steenkamp said that the industry needs individuals who are both capable leaders and who are tech-

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

Prof Webber-Youngman concluded by remarking on the fact that quality leadership in the mining and related industries will be the driving force in eradicating poverty, unemployment and inequality, which are threatening the sustainability of the sector.

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INAUGURAL ADDRESS: PROF DF MALAN RESEARCH IN ROCK ENGINEERING PAVES THE WAY FOR SUSTAINABILITY IN THE MINING SECTOR To mark his promotion to full professor, Prof Francois Malan discussed rock engineering research as a prerequisite for sustainability and growth in the mining sector during his inaugural address. South Africa has a proud history of mining. In 2020, it contributed R361.6 billion to the country’s GDP and employed 451 427 people. The country’s huge mineral endowment is ranked very highly globally in terms of Platinum Group Metals (PGM), chrome and manganese reserves. This, however, represents a decline in terms of contribution to GDP, gold production and employment relative to the situation a decade ago. Prof Malan believes that rock engineering research can help turn this situation around, paving the way for sustainability and growth in the mining sector. As a discipline in which Prof Malan is a renowned specialist, rock engineering examines the mechanical behaviour of rock in relation to the physical environment. It also focuses on methods to determine the strength of underground pillars, and hence ensure the safety of mineworkers. According to Prof Malan, South Africa’s economically viable underground ore bodies have a unique tabular structure. It has long been acknowledged that no other mining region of economic significance has ore bodies of a similar geometry, and no country outside South Africa can find a solution to this problem. Home-grown research is therefore essential to understand and improve the exploitation of the country’s mineral reserves. Prof Malan’s areas of research expertise include numerical modelling, pillar behaviour and mine design criteria. His current research interests include the inelastic numerical modelling of tabular excavations, and simulating pillar behaviour and pillar strength. He is currently exploring the use of a limit equilibrium model to approximate the timedependent relationship between reefs’ normal stress and parallel stress components. This research emanated from the realisation that time-dependency could not be simulated using elastic theory, and even earlier attempts to simulate the fracture zone with viscoelastic theory only proved to be partially successful. Using the limit equilibrium model, Prof Malan was able to simulate closure data, which provided a much better approximation of actual underground closure. This method allows for the simulation of mining increment size and mining rate. However, it is difficult to calibrate the large number of parameters using this model. This highlights the need for ongoing closure monitoring in underground slopes. An important element of Prof Malan’s work is the development of a pillar strength formula that will be effective in South Africa’s bord and pillar mines as the depth increases. Several other studies are being undertaken by the Department’s Rock Engineering Research Group in close collaboration with industry stakeholders.

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

“Everything we depend on in our daily lives is either made from minerals or relies on minerals for its production. Future innovations would not be possible without the support of the mining industry. From renewable energy to electric vehicles and commercial space travel, none of these initiatives would be viable without an increased source of materials, which need to be mined.”

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MANDELA MINING PRECINCT SYMPOSIUM BENEFICIATING THREE YEARS OF RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND INNOVATION As one of the prominent research partners in the Mandela Mining Precinct (MMP), two of the Department’s senior staff members delivered presentations at the entity’s virtual symposium, held on 21 and 22 June 2021. The symposium was held to celebrate the third year since the launch of the Precinct.

production cycle, excluding drilling, but including support, cleaning, charging and tramming activities. The research entailed measuring the cycle time of each activity, capturing the costs associated with each activity, and establishing a baseline cost model from the data obtained to effectively apply this to the BluePrint Cost Model for evaluation purposes.

Under the theme “Beneficiating three years of research, development and innovation”, the symposium delivered a variety of presentations, panel discussions and lightning talks, which were intended to thread together the research taking place across the South African Mining, Extraction, Research, Development and Innovation (SAMERDI) initiative. In the process, it illustrated how far South Africa has come in its journey towards the modernisation of the mining industry.

Prof Francois Malan, Director of the Mining Resilience Research Centre at the University of Pretoria, approached the topic of pursuing novel rock-breaking techniques. His talk focused on the impact of modernisation in rock engineering. In his presentation, he examined analyses of rock engineering formulae currently in use in the South African mining industry. He presented the advantages and disadvantages of each, and made recommendations on a way forward.

Dr Bertie Meyer, a senior lecturer in the Department, delivered a presentation on achieving optimisation in mining, focusing on optimising both the production cycle and the shift cycle. On the first topic, he emphasised the importance of testing technologies to determine possible optimisation achieved in completing the production cycle, and made several recommendations. On the second topic, he reviewed some existing shift cycles and scenarios.

He focused particularly on the key aspects related to optimising the pillar design methodology for bord-and-pillar layouts, which included support design for mechanised mining, the effect of no blasting on seismicity and numerical modelling techniques. He also highlighted existing knowledge gaps, which would need to be investigated in order to improve the sustainability of South Africa’s hard rock mines.

According to Dr Meyer, the challenges in the mining industry grow daily. These issues contribute to decreased productivity due to less time being spent on the working from where the main income stream is generated. He reported on research conducted to examine various technologies applied within the conventional mining for gold and PGM mines within the stoping

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

With the establishment of the Mandela Mining Precinct’s SAMERDI Research Centre in Mechanised Mining Systems at the University of Pretoria, these two researchers are confident that the Department’s Mechanised Mining Systems Programme will lead the way for future industry success.

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DEPARTMENT OPERATIONS The commencement of the Department’s 60-year celebrations brought about the need for reflection in terms of it management activities. It is essential for an academic department to function autonomously of any individual management staff members. As such, and as part of Prof Ronny Webber-Youngman’s succession plan, the Department has adopted a decentralised management strategy.

The Department’s Teaching and Learning (T&L) portfolio oversees matters related to the education and training initiative for both undergraduate and postgraduate (honours) students. The Research portfolio is responsible for the Department’s national and international research drive through the MRRC, with the aim of facilitating new knowledge development and publication, incorporating master’s and PhDrelated research.

DEAN Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology: Prof Sunil Maharaj

HOD Department of Mining Engineering: Prof Ronny Webber-Youngman

TEACHING AND LEARNING

RESEARCH

Function Head Mr Jannie Maritz

Function Head Prof Francois Malan MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES

Marketing | Finance | MASUP | External liaison | VR Centre | Enterprises UP | Facilities | Postgraduate students

STAFF PROFILE

7

2

12

5

3

5

Permanent staff: academic

Permanent staff: administration

Full-time postgraduate academic assistants

Contract lecturers

Contract administrative staff

Honorary and extraordinary professors

FUNDING STRATEGY The presentation of short courses in conjunction with Enterprises UP forms an important part of the Department’s funding strategy as it relates to its third-stream income activities. These courses would not have been possible without the support of industry. They furthermore enable the Department to supplement its Development Fund. Income derived from research chairs and short courses forms the bulk of the Department’s third-stream income, which enables its appointment of full-time postgraduate research students. The Department also graciously acknowledges the financial support of industry partners, in particular the support received from the Minerals Education Trust Fund (METF) and Africa Rainbow Minerals in support of four full-time postgraduate students.

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Staff in the Department of Mining Engineering.

INTERNAL CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT The Department currently has seven full-time lecturers, including the Head of Department, Prof Ronny WebberYoungman. These staff members have about 150 years of combined industry experience. Most of them are actively advancing their academic careers, with two lecturers currently registered for their PhD studies (Sezer Uludag and Jennifer van der Walt). During the period under review, Prof Francois Malan was promoted to full professor. There are, furthermore, one associate professor, three senior lecturers (one with a PhD and two with master’s degree qualifications) and two lecturers (also in possession of master’s degrees). The Department has succeeded in increasing its overall research output with the appointment of several contract researchers. It has 12 assistant lecturers who are engaged in postgraduate study (one registered for a PhD, nine for a master’s degree and two for their honours degrees in Mining Engineering). These postgraduate students form an important part of the Department’s succession planning. In addition to its full-time academic capacity, the Department has four extraordinary professors to further enhance its academic and researchrelated activities. These are Prof Jan du Plessis, Prof William Spiteri, Prof Johan Napier and Prof Bharath Belle. It also has an honorary professor, Dr Con Fauconnier. They contribute to forming the building blocks to establish an academic team that can enhance the Department’s research output through their supervision of master’s and PhD students.

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

The Department also makes use of industry experts, appointed on a parttime basis, to conduct cutting-edge research in the areas it has identified as its strategic strengths (mechanisation and automation, rock-breaking and explosive engineering, management and leadership, rock engineering and XR technology). This approach is paying dividends, and the Department intends to increase capacity in each of these research areas. A continuing initiative of the Department is the focus on improving the impact factor (H-index score) of its full-time lecturers to enable them to apply for ratings from the NRF. Prof Malan already has a B2 NRF rating, which classifies him as an internationally acclaimed researcher. The criteria for this rating is that the over-riding majority of peer reviewers are firmly convinced that the researcher enjoys considerable international recognition for the high quality and impact of his recent research outputs. Historically, the Department has not been known to deliver a high number of research outputs annually due to its small academic staff complement, in which only three have PhD qualifications. However, all the Department’s academics are registered with ECSA as professional engineers. Since 2014, there has been a steady increase in the Department’s research output in the form of journal articles and conference publications by its academic staff.

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150

combined years of industry experience

2

professors in key leadership positions

B2 5

NRF rating for Prof Francois Malan

senior lecturers involved in teaching

POSTGRADUATE RESEARCH

In terms of the requirements for the graduation of BEng (Hons) Mining Engineering and BSc Applied Science Mining (Honours) students, all registered students must submit an article for publication with their respective academic supervisors as part of the assessment process. If the article is of an appropriate standard, the supervisor and student may agree to submit the article for publication. All master’s and PhD candidates furthermore need to provide evidence of experience in research methodology. As such, all potential master’s degree candidates are registered “master’s in progress” as a prerequisite for the successful completion of the Research Methodology module.

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STRATEGIC INTENT

STUDENT DEMOGRAPHICS

The Department’s overarching goal is to enable the mining industry to transition from being reactive and compliant to becoming resilient through well-structured and committed postgraduate education and research. Its strategic intent is to have 45 students registered for an honours degree, 15 students registered for a master’s degree and 10 students registered for a PhD (70 postgraduate students in total)

43% F M

by 2025. This will represent 33% of the total Mining Engineering student body (the target for undergraduate students is set at 120 students). Achieving the expected postgraduate number of 70 students will only be possible through strategic alliances with

7%

staff members of international universities to act as additional supervisors, as well as industry involvement and collaboration

57%

strategies with other South African universities to further emphasise the importance of postgraduate research as part of the strategy of making mining safer, healthier, productive and more profitable.

W B

The Department aligns itself with the following strategic objectives of the University of Pretoria: • • • • •

93%

Enhance access and successful student learning Strengthen the University’s research and international profile Foster and sustain a diverse, inclusive and equitable university community Optimise resources and enhance institutional sustainability Strengthen the University’s responsiveness and impact in society

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT NUMBERS

POSTGRADUATE STUDENT NUMBERS

ENROLMENT TRENDS SINCE 2017 IN ALIGNMENT WITH THE TARGET FOR 2025

80%

black

9%

white

7%

international (black)

3%

Indian

1%

coloured

219 184 172 137

120

123

70 51

57

57

46 35

2017

2018

2019

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

2020

2021

2025

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Full-time postgraduate students with Prof Ronny Webber-Youngman.

FULL-TIME POSTGRADUATE FOCUS The Department of Mining Engineering has always aimed to produce high-quality graduates that are equipped with the knowledge, perseverance and adaptability required for the ever-changing South African mining industry. Considering the technological advances and initiatives within the global mining industry over the past decades, as well as the mindshift towards the often-neglected leadership skills required by engineers in management roles, the Department has realigned its long-term strategy to take account of the changing face of the industry. In the process, it has realised that the mining industry needs flexible, high-quality and competent researchers to drive and implement technological changes. The initiative of the Department to shift the focus from enrolling more undergraduate students to increasing its postgraduate student numbers has been pursued by the Head of Department since 2010, with the full support of the Department’s academic staff, as well as the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology as a whole. Over the past ten years, the Department has seen a steady increase in postgraduate enrolments, while maintaining an acceptable number of undergraduate students in the programme to feed into the postgraduate programme. In 2021, the Department kept its number of registered postgraduate students high, and boasts with the highest number of full-time postgraduate students working in the Department as assistant lecturers.

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

The research topics of the current class of full-time postgraduate students in Mining Engineering are as follows: • Jennifer van der Walt (PhD): Developing a tool to measure and quantify the trajectory of flyrock • Keaton Philo (MEng): Investigating blockchain use cases for the mining industry • Thomas Oates (MEng): A review of the UG2 pillar design at Mine X • Bheki Mkalipi (MEng): Safety habits intervention model for human factors in senior managers in the mining industry • Sphephile Dludlu (MEng): Investigating the requirements of an electronic integrated planning and technical reporting system • Mesuli Mahlangu (MEng): Investigating a suitable modelling philosophy for the coal-mining industry • Ruan Els (MEng): A physical model to simulate a bord-and-pillar layout in a centrifuge testing facility • Divine Ile (MEng): The use of backfill to reinforce pillars in bord-and-pillar layouts • Collin Papo (MEng): Redefining the perimeter rule by use of the slenderness number • Danél Wessels (MEng): Determining time-dependent scaling in hard rock pillars • Sihle Buthelezi (BEng Honours): The state of XR technology in South Africa's mining industry • Preanthan Reddy (BEng Honours): Behavioural risk in South African mines

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FEATURE

A REIMAGINED FUTURE THROUGH EXCELLENCE IN MINING ENGINEERING EDUCATION As the University of Pretoria’s Department of Mining Engineering celebrates its diamond anniversary in 2021, it stands on the threshold of a reimagined mining industry. The future of the mining industry is characterised by significant technological shifts brought about by a 4IR-enabled approach to the modernisation of the sector.

Research findings reported in Mining Weekly1 reveal that South Africa’s mining industry is increasingly making use of cutting-edge technologies to run more efficient operations, manage risk, improve health and safety, and reduce the cost of maintenance and extraction, while pursuing the upliftment of skills.

Mining conditions are also becoming all the more challenging, making conventional methods increasingly less viable. Incorporating digital solutions and determining new ways of safely extracting minerals underground, new ways of supporting the rock and new methods to ventilate much deeper can reduce mineworkers’ exposure to risk and increase mines’ profitability.

Roger Baxter, CEO of the Minerals Council South Africa, notes It is against this background that the Department of Mining that, over the last decade, mining cost inflation was Engineering needs to focus on preparing the next generation 2–3% higher per annum than general of mining engineers for a reimagined inflation, while mining output declined future; one that will concentrate on the by 10% and minerals sales contracted skills required for the 4IR, in which digital by 11%. To be globally competitive, innovation is at the forefront. As such, To be globally competitive, not only in terms of costs, but also in the Department is already highlighting the South African mining terms of environmental, social and the importance of automation and industry needs to embrace governance issues, the South African mechanised mining systems, as well mining industry needs to embrace as the application of virtual reality the 4IR. This will also make the 4IR. This will also make it more and augmented reality in its research it more attractive to the best attractive to the best talent and, and education initiatives to give a new ultimately, enable mining to contribute dimension to the education and training talent and, ultimately, enable even more as the economy and society of the future mining engineer. mining to contribute even are reimagined. Like many other mining schools around more as the economy and the world, the Department has gone THE FUTURE MINING society are reimagined. through an extensive redesign of its ENGINEER Mine Design curriculum over the last few years. This process was aimed at At this point in time, it is envisaged aligning its activities with the challenges that conventional mines will reach the end of their productive that will be faced in the next generation of mining, and fuelled lifetimes in the medium term unless new technologies are contemplations on the future of mining, specifically what the applied. This, coupled with the environmental impact of mining engineering profession will look like in years to come. coal-fired electricity generation and the health and safety aspects related to underground mining, will make the digital The University’s new Mine Design curriculum includes exposure transformation of the mining industry paramount. to aspects such as leadership, the social context of business, rectifying the imbalances of the past, international economic systems, and striving to create a more equal, yet productive society.

Mines are going deeper to access their resources, thus increasing risk to the health and safety of mineworkers.

1 https://www.miningweekly.com/article/new-report-reveals-insights-into-4ir-in-mining-2021-02-01

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The most important aspects that have been incorporated into the new Mine Design curriculum are improved employee safety, increased productivity, lower energy consumption and reduced environmental impact. None of this would be possible without the adoption of appropriate disruptive technologies.

Bheki Mkalipi, another postgraduate student, sees the mining engineer of the future as someone who can embrace change and innovation as their core principles, both in practice and in their world view, to help solve problems. This paves the way for proactively shaping the future of engineering. Imagineers must produce end-to-end solutions that depend on the seamless interaction of humans, machines and technology in mining.

While not many new mines are being commissioned in South Africa, improving the productivity of existing mines is becoming increasingly important. By adopting new technology interventions and mining methods, as well as focusing on the health and safety of our workforce, mine management is realising that it is no longer a question of whether one should embrace technology, but when one should do so.

Head of Department, Prof Ronny Webber-Youngman, supported by Dr Johann Uys, a senior researcher in the M&R Chair in Industry Leadership 4.0, believe that the success of any company in the future will depend on the ability of its managers to relate to the needs of their subordinates in a much greater way. Leadership – and specifically the quality of leaders – will play a significant role in shaping the future of mining globally, specifically taking into account the challenges associated with the 4IR and beyond.

The challenges pertaining to the next generation of mining need to be dealt with in a very different way than has been done in the past. The Department’s M&R MELA plays an important role in this regard as – in addition to the technical skills that the Department imparts – it provides students with non-technical skills that promote creative and innovative thinking to solve industry problems. Through this programme, the Department is grooming its students for the future of work.

Today’s mining engineers are caught between conventional mining and new technology, with pressure from labour markets, environmentalists and investors. Their main function is to ensure value creation for the mine’s stakeholders, safe and cost-effective mineral extraction and the mitigation of environmental impacts. The mining engineer of the future will be increasingly versatile and well equipped with soft skills, will follow a leadershipdriven approach and have a dynamic mindset. These characteristics will all be aligned with new technologies to reshape the industry. With alternative approaches using technology, the mining engineer of the future will be a vital driver in building the foundation of growing global economies.

The Department of Mining Engineering describes the future mining engineer as an “imagineer”, and its approach to educating its students is crafted to support this vision. Graduate imagineers must be able to develop and implement highly imaginative concepts in the South African mining industry. According to Prof Francois Malan, the Department’s Function Head: Research, South Africa’s mining-related problems are technically challenging and unique. The country therefore needs a corps of mining engineers who can constantly innovate and devise new technologies to overcome problems.

Mining is an essential element of a future world that focuses on energy efficiency and rapid technological enhancement, making it the backbone of a better society. It is the foundation of civilization, and that role will not change in the future. However, how the world perceives mining and how mining perceives the world will largely dictate what the future holds.

As one of the Department’s future mining engineers, postgraduate student Ruan Els believes that the Department is developing a mindset of reimagining how things can be done by breaking the mould and thinking differently, boldly and innovatively. “This not only allows for more efficient mining and increased economic contributions, but also creates a platform for innovation in mining on a global scale.” Imagineers cannot be restricted by the conventions of the past and the confines of presentday industry. They need to be brave when their ideas are challenged, and skilled enough to defend them. Future mining engineer and postgraduate student, Thomas Oates, notes that one must dare to dream of robots in an underground stope and lasers that cut rock.

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

Labour-intensive operations, technical planning and the execution of mining practices will be replaced by mechanisation, automation and digitalisation. Changes in the workplace, the workforce and the nature of work have already increased the complexity of mining operations. These multifactorial changes require new solutions and effective interfaces that focus on humanmachine interactions and collaborative workplaces through technology, data analytics, integrated support services and socio-technical applications.

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TECHNOLOGY IMPLEMENTATION AT SOUTH AFRICAN MINES The role of technology is undeniable when contemplating a more efficient and effective mining industry. With the proliferation of low-cost sensors and progressively cheaper computer processing power, data can be gathered easily and cheaply from virtually any piece of equipment. This, coupled with recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI), is already making autonomous operations an emerging reality. Large pieces of equipment, and even entire facilities, can either run themselves or be controlled remotely. According to Prof Webber-Youngman, the implementation of technology on South African mines is no longer a “nice to have”, but a “have to have”. Without new digital technologies, many operations will become unfeasible, leading to major value lost. However, the application of new methodologies based on the disruptive technologies of the 4IR generates a high level of risk, which, in turn, generates uncertainty. The subsequent fear of job losses may cloud any reasonable judgement towards the benefits derived from using this new technology. These fears are often misplaced as there are vast opportunities to be discovered, which will lead to a shift in the skills needed as new jobs are created to replace those that will cease to exist due to the introduction of new technologies. By revolutionising the way in which we learn and conceptualise information, digital innovations could be the key to unlocking higher economic value and a more sustainable future. In the view of Prof Malan, resistance to change, in many cases, is due to the original capital investment in the mine being too small and the remaining life of many mines being too short to warrant a huge investment in expensive new technology. Many of the old-school mining personnel did not grow up with technology and have a natural tendency to resist it. It is also difficult to change a mining operation that was designed based on the best technology of 40 years ago. To move forward and compete in a global market, mines need to be smarter and integrate people and technology in such a way that both parties will benefit. This is where the 4IR will have a major impact on the future of mining education.

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THE IMPACT OF THE 4IR AND THE SUBSEQUENT FIFTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION According to Dr Bertie Meyer, a senior lecturer in the Department, without new technology, the mining industry will collapse. A new solution must be found. The 4IR (and the subsequent Fifth Industrial Revolution) will improve the interaction between operator and machine. Mining engineering education plays an important role in this regard to prepare students to adapt more easily to the rapid changes of the future. Danél Wessels, one of the Department’s postgraduate students, believes that the implementation of new technologies allows for better understanding and for creating smarter ideas on how to be innovative and improve the mining industry to be more sustainable. Implementing this technology for learning will provide students with the opportunity to visualise the mining environment in the classroom and understand mining concepts much better, making it easier to apply them in the workplace. Prof Webber-Youngman explains that, until now, the focus has primarily been on the challenges and the future of industries in the context of the 4IR, which examines the interactions between human beings and machines to facilitate solutions that require collaboration between the two. However, subsequent revolutions will follow. The Department is thus already preparing its students for the future, and is anticipating what is starting to be known as the Fifth Industrial Revolution. This forms part of the Department’s forward-thinking approach.

The many challenges associated

By looking at what futurists are saying about the Fifth Industrial Revolution, the Department is equipping its students with a whole new set of skills that will enable them to cope with the future Fifth Industrial Revolution. In many ways, this should complement the skills identified to thrive in the 4IR, drawing on the 4IR to enhance humanity. Innovations will be a coordinated process of human beings interconnecting with machines through AI to enable new levels of creativity and progress. This will have a direct impact on mining education as mining practices will be effectively conducted by competent people, linked with enabling technologies to change how work is done, including data-driven monitoring and modelling, and improvements in connectivity, resource management and continuity of work, where resources are flexible, and are managed by humans at the centre.

with next-generation mining

The many challenges associated with Mining 4.0 (next-generation mining) form an integral part of the Department’s teaching and learning strategy. Its reimagined curricula also resonate the critical skills that are required for the 4IR, as identified by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in its 2020 Future of Jobs report. The emphasis is on developing graduates who are able to deal with the expected complexities in the mining industry when they enter the job market through their creative and innovative thinking abilities.

emphasis is on developing

The Department’s application of disruptive technologies in teaching and learning include initiatives related to its interactive immersive technology (IIT) drive, which makes use of the Department’s state-of-the-art Kumba Virtual Reality Centre for Mine Design. This infrastructure enables students and researchers to realistically simulate a range of mining functions in a low-risk, high-impact learning environment.

their creative and innovative

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

form an integral part of the Department’s teaching and learning strategy. Its reimagined curricula also resonate the critical skills that are required for the 4IR and beyond. The graduates who are able to deal with the expected complexities in the mining industry when they enter the job market through thinking abilities.

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60 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE IN MINING ENGINEERING EDUCATION Since its establishment in 1961, the Department has played a significant role in mining engineering teaching, learning and research at the University of Pretoria, and has contributed greatly to the mining industry by providing world-class graduates. Over the years, the Department’s strategic intent has followed the ebb and flow of the fortunes of the industry. However, it has proved to be resilient and ready to turn challenges into opportunities. The Department’s resilience was demonstrated most recently in 2020 and 2021 when the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic caused it to embrace disruptive approaches to teaching and learning, and to emerge more agile and flexible than ever before. The change of its language of tuition to English to facilitate access, the present strong emphasis on leadership skills grounded in sound technical skills, and contributions to inculcating a safety culture in mining operations serve as further examples through which it ensures the delivery of work-ready graduates. The Department’s research efforts are concentrated on growing capacity in mechanisation and automation, rockbreaking and explosives engineering, management and leadership, and rock engineering. This research is not only aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the industry, but also at eradicating poverty, unemployment and inequality. Research related to mechanisation and automation will help restore the competitiveness of the mining industry and ensure that the bulk of the country’s mineral resources can be profitably extracted. This will require a substantial reinvestment in technology that will build on improvement and modernisation efforts towards fully autonomous, non-explosive, remote mining environments. It responds to an urgent need to develop next-generation mining systems, especially systems that will enable the mining of deeper narrow reef, hard-rock commodities, such as platinum and gold. Systems to make current mining operations safer, healthier, more productive and sustainable also need to be developed. This includes the digitalisation of

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

mining operations to keep abreast with international developments in the areas of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0-type applications. Current research in this area focuses on the type of equipment required to successfully mine South Africa’s narrow tabular ore bodies, as well as modified mine design layout to best suit this new equipment. Over the past decade, in particular, tremendous changes have taken place in the mining industry, which have challenged the deeply ingrained conventional views that served mining companies so well in the past. This is according to Dr Johann Uys, a senior researcher in the Department. People will be placed on the foreground as a vital success factor alongside viable ore bodies, and well-developed and optimised operations. The mining landscape has changed in terms of our social license to mine and our commitments to uplifting communities around mines. The Department’s approach is to make mining more sustainable by ensuring that the next generation of mining engineers are leaders who will boldly take the industry into the future. Leadership development has been on the Department’s agenda for the past decade, and its strategic importance will continue to be highlighted as the Department enters the next decade of mining education. Dr Uys believes that, by first attacking the crisis of leadership, the industry will deepen its credibility and, from this point of departure, authenticate the issue of institutional legitimacy to deepen trust in the role of mines as a community stakeholder. While the 4IR has brought very exciting possibilities for mining, the Department is mindful that a number of things are necessary to sustain the industry. The main shift in mining will be from a purely technical to an increased socio-technical activity. The Department has already embraced this challenge by including elements in its Mine Design curriculum related to the closure and rehabilitation of mines, and community impact – either through the establishment of a new community or through possible resettlements; both of which address sustainable social impact in a post-mining activity environment and economy.

20

As people, miners also need to accommodate needs and create a balance between the use of technology and the role of the human being. Technologies related to the 4IR may disrupt people, and while AI algorithms may take over much human decision making, the entire human function cannot be replaced. Future human skills such as complex problemsolving, adaptability and flexibility, resilience and negotiation will be of vital importance. Enterprises must adapt to change by adopting solutions and innovations brought about by disruptive technologies. It will therefore be necessary to extend beyond the current fixed value chains, shifting knowledge away from production points to offsite trans-organisational knowledge hubs and shared services. In this lies the requirement of a leader with a specific set of future skills, which will be cultivated in the University’s Department of Mining Engineering. The ability to strategise will always be a human skill, and can never be taken over by a machine.

Future human skills such as complex problemsolving, adaptability and flexibility, resilience and negotiation will be of vital importance. Enterprises must adapt to change by adopting solutions and innovations brought about by disruptive technologies. The future impact of a graduate from the University of Pretoria thus lies in developing a shared vision of how technology can better benefit economies, societies and the human condition. The true impact of the 4IR lies in collaboration, and this is the foundation of sustaining the industry and equipping the next generation of mining engineers for an era beyond the 4IR.

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The future impact of a graduate from the University of Pretoria lies in developing a shared vision of how technology can better benefit economies, societies and the human condition.

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RESEARCH PROFILE

Mechanisation and automation

Rock-breaking and explosive engineering

Management and leadership

Rock engineering

XR technology

The Department’s research agenda continued to receive focused attention during the period under review. Under the guidance of its Research Lead, Prof Francois Malan, the approach taken by the Department was aligned to a strategic decision taken

MECHANISATION AND AUTOMATION

in 2019 to place greater focus on the areas of outstanding research and build on these

The Department’s longstanding association with the South African Mining, Extraction, Research, Development and Innovation (SAMERDI) initiative has given rise to several projects in the Mechanised Mining Systems (MMS) programme. This collaborative venture with the CSIR, the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg is coordinated by the Mandela Mining Precinct (MMP). The Department’s involvement in this initiative received a boost towards the end of the period under review when the MMP announced that it had selected the University of Pretoria to host the Research Centre for Mechanised Mining Systems. This will be managed as a multidisciplinary research initiative between the Department of Mining Engineering and the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering. Initiatives like this will stimulate the increase in research activities in the mining industry even further. The next-generation mining drive will be completely different to what it was before.

areas. The Department currently has three areas of expertise that compare with the best in the world: blasting, rock engineering, and management and leadership. An exciting development was the Department’s involvement in the Exxaro Chair in Extended Reality (XR) Technology, in collaboration with the Department of Information Science, which led to the establishment of XR technology as a fifth research focus area in the Department.

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ROCK-BREAKING AND EXPLOSIVE ENGINEERING The activities of the AEL Chair for Innovative Rockbreaking Technology delivered some outstanding research outputs in this field during the period under review. Although the sponsorship of this Research Chair has come to an end, two students have completed the requirements for their master’s degrees, and several articles have been submitted for publication. Ms Jennifer van der Walt, a contract lecturer in the Department, received her master’s degree cum laude with a study to develop a technique to measure the in-flight motion of flyrock so as to better understand the causative factors. Her research included developing a data acquisition methodology and conducting field investigations for the research and further development of a proposed measuring tool. She is continuing this research as part of her PhD studies.

MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP

Research in the field of management and leadership are conducted in the Murray & Roberts Chair in Industry Leadership 4.0. The research projects in leadership relevant to mining range from acceptance of technology by leaders to the safety and risk leadership that is required to navigate the impact of the 4IR on South African mining companies. Prof Ronny WebberYoungman, Chairholder and Head of the Department of Mining Engineering, and Dr Johann Uys, a senior researcher appointed in the Department ‘s M&R Chair, are currently working in this area with one honours and one master’s student.

ROCK ENGINEERING

XR TECHNOLOGY This is a new research focus in the Department, which gained momentum with the establishment of the Exxaro Chair in XR Technology. Although formally housed in the Department of Information Science, the interdisciplinary research in this field will benefit more than just the mining industry. It has three main focus areas: developing the proof-of-concept application of XR systems within the Exxaro Group, using Exxaro’s test sites to evaluate the effectivity of XR interventions, and establishing the viability of these interventions within the mining industry. The intended outcome is improving productivity through the use of XR technology.

The Department’s Rock Engineering Research Group benefits from the expertise of two internationally acclaimed specialists in the field: Prof Francois Malan and Prof John Napier (an extraordinary professor in the Department). Prof Malan has a B2 rating from the NRF and was promoted to a full professor in the Department during the period under review. A key aspect of the research in this focus area is the development of new design criteria and layouts for hard rock mines to ensure their sustainability. Improved formulae and methods for designing hard rock pillars are also being investigated. Three PhD students, seven MSc students and two honours students are currently working in this research area under the guidance of Prof Malan.

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MINING RESILIENCE RESEARCH CENTRE

The Mining Resilience Research Centre (MRRC) was established in the Department of Mining Engineering in 2017 to develop significant interdisciplinary research collaboration within the University of Pretoria and external organisations involved in research related to mining challenges. This is to ensure that the mining industry meets the full expectations of investors, government, employees, organised labour, communities and other stakeholders in the mining industry, particularly within the context of the role played by the mining industry as a source of economic growth and social transformation. Prof Francois Malan was appointed as Director of the MRRC in January 2018, and he continues in this role. The MRRC draws on the multidisciplinary resources within the University, matching the right skills sets to any mining problem. It also aims to strengthen the University’s mining footprint through its national and international mining and minerals research profile.

Its vision is to establish itself as a leading international contributor to solutions for complex problems in the mining industry. Its mission is to increase the resilience of the mining industry by developing solutions that can be practically implemented so as to enable the mining industry to transition from being reactive and compliant, to becoming resilient in issues relating to productivity, safety, health, environment, social responsibility and community management, through well-structured and committed postgraduate education and rigorous, integrated, scientific research initiatives.

During the period under review, the MRRC continued its association with the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC). A key project successfully completed in 2020 related to the reopening of old mine workings and the mining of underground mine pillars to prevent serious accidents. A proposal was also submitted for a second project for the MHSC to update the South African mining rock stress measurement database. The outcome of this proposal is awaited. Other contract research activities conducted on behalf of the Department included the following: • • • •

Numerical modelling of the pillars at Black Rock Mine Operations – Phase 1 A rock engineering assessment of the stability of the underground workings at Nkomati Nickel Mine Numerical modelling of the crush pillars at South Deep Gold Mine Evaluation of the revised pillar design methodology at Booysendal Mine

SAMERDI RESEARCH CENTRE IN MECHANISED MINING SYSTEMS The University’s newly established Research Centre for Mechanised Mining Systems (MMS), which forms part of the South African Mining, Extraction, Research, Development and Innovation (SAMERDI) initiative, with which the Department has a longstanding involvement, will enhance the activities in the Department’s mechanisation and automation research focus area. The objective is to engage in innovative projects with commercialisation potential, which will receive funding from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) once they reach sufficient technology readiness levels. The MMS programme is an initiative of the MRRC. The following SAMERDI projects were successfully completed during the period under review: • • • •

Rock engineering criteria for mechanised mining Ventilation design Equipment and communication utilisation Guideline for the implementation of shaft infrastructure for mechanised mining

Contracts have also been concluded for the following projects to be undertaken in 2021: • • • •

Developing an effective pillar design methodology for mechanised mining Mechanised technical design optimisation: Vent engineering ventilation on demand Mechanised mining optimisation: Increased blasting frequency and mining cycle enhancement Mechanised equipment optimisation: Equipment utilisation monitoring

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HARMONY CHAIR FOR ROCK ENGINEERING

AEL MINING SERVICES CHAIR FOR

AND NUMERICAL MODELLING

INNOVATIVE ROCK-BREAKING TECHNOLOGY

Chairholder: Prof Francois Malan The support of Harmony Gold for the Harmony Gold Chair in Rock Engineering and Numerical Modelling continued in 2020. The Chair conducts research into techniques to simulate the rock mass behaviour in South African deep level gold mines. A key objective when designing layouts for deep gold mines is to minimise “excessive” stress concentrations. This is currently achieved by elastic numerical modelling of the layouts and using historic design criteria such as average pillar stress and energy release rate. These two criteria are imperfect as they do not consider the extensive stressrelated fracturing of the rock mass that is ubiquitous in the deep gold mines. Other forms of inelastic behaviour, such as total closure, cannot adequately be considered when using these criteria. As many of the older mines exploit remnants, the question should be asked to what extent these criteria are valid in older mines and remnant areas, and if they are not, what alternative method should be used to estimate the stress distribution and associated hazard. A very important component of the planned work is the development of enhanced design criteria and appropriate numerical tools that can be used to assist with the layout design of these deep gold mines. The following publications emanated from the work conducted in this Research Chair:

Jooste, Y & Malan, DF. 2020. The need for improved layout design criteria for deep tabular stopes. Journal of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 120(1): 23–32. Couto, PM & Malan, DF. 2020. Production rates versus seismic response in deep-level mining (accepted for the proposed International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM) International Symposium, Eurock 2020 – Hard Rock Engineering, which was to be held in Trondheim, Norway, in October 2020 (but cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic)

Chairholder: Prof William Spiteri The AEL Chair for Innovative Rock-breaking Technology was established in the Department of Mining Engineering in 2018. Its purpose was to channel AEL Intelligent Blasting support into new technologies that would synergistically benefit AEL, as well as the Department of Mining Engineering’s research capabilities. This was also the first time that the Department had partnered with another engineering department at the University (the Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering). In addition to enhancing the AEL brand within the University, the Chair allowed AEL to exploit the Department’s virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) expertise and facilities to further strengthen AEL’s market and technology leadership position. These visual technologies can be applied advantageously in several areas, such as the training of AEL’s personnel and other stakeholders, and the 3D scanning of mining environments that would allow analysis and visualisation in an immersive, virtual setting. During the period under review, the Chair supported ground-breaking projects that would resolve pressing issues within the mining industry. It focused on three projects, in particular:

The following progress reports were also published during the period under review: • • • • • •

Automated determination of remnant and crush pillar extraction sequence (20 February 2020) Test of a proposed numerical model for pillar edge spalling (18 May 2020) Effect of interface slip and pillar modulus on pillar loading stress distribution (18 July 2020) Use of stored kernel tables for the efficient solution of tabular mining problems (24 August 2020) Total closure and back-area stress (9 October 2020)

Prof Francois Malan and Prof John Napier play a key role in the research conducted in this Research Chair. The financial assistance of Harmony Gold contributes to the outputs of one PhD candidate (Yolande Jooste), and two full-time master’s students (Danél Wessels and Mesuli Mahlangu).

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The development of a quantitative measuring technique to physically capture and study the in-flight motion of flyrock so as to improve on predictive models and better understand the causative factors The application of VR technology to enhance the learning process of AEL’s personnel and related stakeholders. The assembly and operation of the Detnet electronic detonator system and components was selected as an initial pilot project. The gamebased programmes would allow problem scenarios to be interactively solved and the trainees’ performance evaluated. The development of techniques to convert visual data (such as video footage obtained by a drone flying over an open-pit mine) into 3D VR and AR images. This work is being carried out by the Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering under the auspices of the Chair.

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MURRAY & ROBERTS CHAIR IN INDUSTRY

EXXARO CHAIR IN XR TECHNOLOGY

LEADERSHIP 4.0 Chairholder: Prof Ina Fourie Chairholder: Prof Ronny Webber-Youngman This Chair is formally housed in the University’s Department of Information Science and will provide the following expertise:

One of the key future challenges with regard to the 4IR or Industry 4.0 is requisite leadership for the mining industry. The Department recognises that current 20th-century leadership theory is largely redundant or inappropriate for the 21st century. In view of this, several leadership initiatives and research projects for the mining industry are being conducted.

• Selecting the most appropriate XR technology for the specific application, and then designing interactions that can enable intuitive interaction with virtual environments • Conducting the extensive user testing of proposed solutions to ensure that the solutions address as many of the challenges as possible • Exposing users to the technology through creative interactive paradigms and introductions to the experiences to ensure accessibility to the technology • Educating and training the next generation of developers and researchers with real-world projects that are unique to XR technology and immersive learning in student programmes, postgraduate research projects and industry projects

To supplement the current research, the research outcomes of the M&R MELA for students has expanded the final-year students’ Mine Design curriculum to incorporate futuristic leadership aspects required by the 4IR. Research projects in leadership relevant to mining conducted in this Research Chair were the adoption technology by leaders to the safety and risk leadership required by these leaders to navigate the impact of the 4IR on South African mining companies, as well as the risk profiling of senior managers in the mining industry.

RESEARCH OUTPUT The Department’s research agenda includes improving the number of articles published in internationally accredited, peer-reviewed journals, increasing the number of citations these journal articles attract, and improving the impact factor (H-index score) of its researchers. There is also an ongoing drive for staff to apply for ratings from the NRF and to increase the output of outstanding postgraduate students.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the Department’s research output. This can largely be ascribed to many of the planned conferences being cancelled, including the international symposium of the International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM) – Eurock 2020: Hard Rock Engineering – that was to be held in Norway in October 2020, for which five papers had been completed for presentation under the guidance of Prof Francois Malan, who is recognised internationally as an expert in rock engineering. Several other journal papers had also been completed, but due to the slow journal referee processes, could only be published in 2021.

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

The Department’s focus is also shifting to submitting more papers for publication in high-impact journals. While almost all papers published in 2020 were published in the Journal of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, the focus in 2021 was to publish more papers in high-impact European journals such as Rock Mechanics

and Rock Engineering and the International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Science. A study conducted in 2018 revealed the impact factors of the typical journals for publishing rock engineering research to be as follows:

Journal

Impact factor

International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences

3.780

Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering

6.650

Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology

4.450

International Journal of Mining Science and Technology

3.903

Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

0.94

In January 2020, Prof Malan was appointed as a member of the Publications Committee and Editorial Board of the Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. A key initiative of the Committee, supported by Prof Malan, is to improve the impact factor of this journal to bring it more in line with that of other top-rated rock engineering journals.

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PUBLICATIONS 2019/2020/2021 Journal articles Baloyi, VD & Meyer, LD. 2020. The development of a mining method selection model through a detailed assessment of multi-criteria decision methods. Results in Engineering, 8: 100172. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rineng.2020.100172. Du Plessis, M & Malan, DF. 2021. Investigating the use of cement-based polymer thin spray-on liners for stope face support. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Science, 142:104728. https://doi.org/10.1016/j. ijrmms.2021.104728. Jooste, Y & Malan, DF. 2020. The need for improved layout design criteria for deep tabular stopes. Journal of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 120(1): 23–32. Malan, DF & Napier, JAL. A review of the role of underground measurements in the historic development of rock engineering in South Africa. Journal of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 121(5). Mthembu, LL & Meyer, LD. 2020. Identification of suitable areas for multi-reef operation at Thorncliffe Chrome Mine. Journal of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 120(6): 355–359. Napier, JAL & Malan DF. 2021. A limit equilibrium model of tabular mine pillar failure. Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering, 54: 71–89. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00603-020-02265-2. Uys, J & Webber-Youngman, RCW. 2020. A 4.0D leadership model for mining and related industries in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Mining Report Glückauf, 156(1): 21–29. https://mining-report.de/english/ gluckauf-1-2020/. Van der Walt, J & Spiteri, W. 2020. A critical analysis of recent research into the prediction of flyrock and related issues resulting from surface blasting activities. Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 120(12): 701–714. Webber-Youngman, RCW, Du Plessis, JJL & Govender, M. 2021. A critical investigation into spontaneous combustion in coal storage bunkers. Journal of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 121(May 2021): 251–259.

Conference papers * Couto, PM & Malan, DF. Deformation measurements of Basal Reef stopes with cemented backfill in South Africa. In: Proceedings 14th ISRM Congress, Foz do Iquacu, Brazil, 13–18 September 2019. * Hartzenberg, AG, Du Plessis, M & Malan, DF. The effect of alteration layers on UG2 pillar behaviour in the Bushveld Complex. In: Proceedings 14th ISRM Congress, Foz do Iquacu, Brazil, 13–18 September 2019.

* Malan, DF. Innovative rock engineering solutions for deep tabular excavations (keynote lecture). In: Proceedings 14th ISRM Congress, Foz do Iquacu, Brazil, 13–18 September 2019. * Maritz, J & Malan, DF. A limit equilibrium model to simulate the effect of pillar geometry. In: Proceedings 14th ISRM Congress, Foz do Iquacu, Brazil, 13–18 September 2019. ** Couto, PM & Malan, DF. Production rates versus seismic response in deep level mining. Accepted for ISRM International Symposium, Eurock 2020 – Hard Rock Engineering, Trondheim, Norway, October 2020. ** Maritz, JA & Botha, A. visualising and tracking of graduate attribute performance: A Mining Engineering case study, World Engineering Educators Forum 2020, Cape Town, South Africa, November 2020. ** Maritz, JA & Malan, DF. A numerical assessment of the perimeter rule for pillar strength calculations. Accepted for ISRM International Symposium, Eurock 2020 – Hard Rock Engineering, Trondheim, Norway, October 2020. ** Meyer, LD. Tunnel boring in highly fractured ground. Accepted for ISRM International Symposium, Eurock 2020 – Hard Rock Engineering, Trondheim, Norway, October 2020. ** Napier, JAL & Malan, DF. The simulation of thin layer material discontinuities in tabular mine pillar layouts. Accepted for ISRM International Symposium, Eurock 2020 – Hard Rock Engineering, Trondheim, Norway, October 2020.

Publication pipeline (papers prepared and under review) Ahlers, JA & Meyer, B. Conceptual graphical user interface design for underground hard rock mines to improve safety and performance with the use of wearable technology. Botha, A & Maritz, JA. Visualising and tracking of graduate attribute performance: A Mining Engineering case study. Botha, A & Maritz, JA. Mapping and reporting of professional programme outcomes using online technology: A Mining Engineering case study. Couto, P & Malan, DF. The effect of alteration zones on the pillar strength in bord and pillar operations (to be submitted to the Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy). De Graaf, W & Spiteri, WA. Preliminary qualitative evaluation of a hydraulic splitting cylinder for breaking of the solid in deep level mining to determine possible equipment modifications and applications. Dludu S & Meyer B. A trade-off study between drill and blast operations and reef boring method.

Eniowo, OD & Meyer, B. A review of credit constraint and the failed formalisation attempt of artisanal mining across subSaharan Africa. Eniowo, OD & Meyer, B. Financing artisanal and small-scale mining for sustainable rural development in sub-Saharan Africa. Mans, JA & Meyer, B. Critical investigation into design guidelines for or relating to mine design project management. Maritz, JA & Malan, DF. Limits in which the perimeter rules applies in empirical pillar strength formulae. Maritz, JA, Couto, P & Nel, M. Exposing the rock mass response by means of radar technologies. Mkalipi, B, Uys, J & Webber-Youngman, RCW. A critical analysis of human factors in safety risk for senior managers in the mining industry Mokoena, M & Meyer, B. Noise reduction by using electro-hydraulic stope drilling noise reduction by using electro-hydraulic stope drilling. Mokganye, J, Uys, J & Webber-Youngman, RCW. The role of leadership in technology adoption. Mthembu, S & De Graaf, W. An investigation into fragmentation size reduction below 120 level, at Mponeng. Neale, AM & Webber-Youngman, RCW. The identification of mine design software usability requirements through thematic analyses of the literature. Ngwenyama, L & De Graaf, W. The application of opencast pillar mining for the extraction of pillars from previously mined bord-and-pillar operations. Ngwenyama, L & Webber-Youngman, RCW. A critical investigation into missing persons in underground mines and the related tracking, two-way communication and on-scene locator technology. Ntsekhe, M & De Graaf, W. A critical investigation into mining coal losses at Klipspruit Colliery. Preis, E & Webber-Youngman, RCW. Investigating the stage-gate model as a research and development implementation process in modernising the South African mining industry. Preis, E & Webber-Youngman, RCW. Identifying cost factors relating to mining incidents. Scheepers, L & Malan, DF. A case study of geotechnical conditions affecting mining induced seismicity in a deep tabular mine. Van der Walt, J & Spiteri, W. Developing a concept that can be used to quantify the motion of flyrock, with the intention of eventually producing a measuring tool for future flyrock research. Van der Walt, J & Spiteri, W. Developing a conceptual tool to measure and quantify the trajectory of flyrock.

* Although the indicated conference papers were presented in 2019, they were only submitted to the Department of Higher Education and Training for subsidy in 2020 due to the date of 2020 used in the proceedings by the organisers of the conference. These papers are listed here for completeness. ** The indicated conference papers were completed and accepted for presentation in 2020, but this conference was cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. It is nevertheless still useful to list these papers as it illustrates the scope of research conducted in the Department.

INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION

One of the Department’s key strategic initiatives is to ensure that it is recognised in terms of the international standard of its research. The intention is to increase the collaboration potential among researchers with similar technical subject knowledge and skills, and to foster the idea of international co-publication as a matter of urgency.

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FEATURE

ACHIEVING EXCELLENCE IN POSTGRADUATE RESEARCH During the graduation ceremony of 2020, two of the Department’s master’s degree students received their degrees cum laude. Both are working mining engineers who conducted research in topics that will be of benefit to the mining engineering industry.

Identifying mine design software usability requirements Michael Neale

Design guidelines relating to mine design project management Jaco Mans The master’s degree study of Jaco Mans involved a critical investigation into design guidelines relating to mine design project management. His dissertation took the form of a prototype activity blueprint that references the detailed activities required for the various disciplines involved in a mine design study or project for each of four phases defined in the activity blueprint process.

The objective of Michael Neale’s master’s degree research was to improve the usability of mine design software to alleviate several existing concerns in the mining industry. Software developers should ideally be equipped with usability guidelines relevant to mine design software. However, there is virtually no literature that applies software usability concepts to mining or related domains, and other work in this field may not be transferable to the mining industry. This means that attempts to improve mine design software usability would either be unguided or at risk of using inappropriate guidelines.

In his research, Mans combined detailed technical checklists from other studies and projects with international codes to obtain a collective checklist that includes all the technical disciplines involved. Together, these items must meet the minimum criteria for the level of study required, while also incorporating some project management, risk management and activity blueprintspecific principles to be followed during a study or project.

A systematic literature review of mine design software formed the basis of his research on mine design software usability requirements. The review considered 128 recent publications, of which 24 were selected for further analysis. Information was extracted from each selected source based on the usability components as relayed by ISO 9241-11. Thematic analyses were performed within the components, and all but the weakest themes were interpreted as mine design software usability requirements.

The resulting activity-based blueprint would include project management principles and processes to guide project control within the financial and timeline budget. These detailed activities were garnered from all the common and less common areas of influence on a mine design study or project so that no item was left unattended. The outcome was a disciplined process, which prompted the user to consider each activity, but which allowed enough freedom to break each activity down into more relevant detail depending on the natural progression of the study or project.

The identified mine design software usability requirements were applied to an undisclosed mining material flow modelling software package, which showed that the requirements can be effective in identifying usability gaps and guiding improvements. The main use of the guidelines is to direct further usability work such as gap analyses, interviews, surveys and usability testing. The requirements produced can also be used to introduce newcomers to the nature of mine design work.

The study took a holistic approach, and involved activities that were fairly straightforward and could continue irrespective of the next decision to be taken, and without risk to prevent any potential project delays or long lead times because of manufacturing. As a result, the project could continue at a steady pace.

According to Neale, further work is required to validate the requirements from other sources. This includes expanded literature searches and non-literature sources such as workshops, interviews, surveys and support calls. The potential value-add and ease of application of the requirements should also be tested, especially in comparison with standard usability tools.

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

According to Mans, this activity blueprint document covered the minimum detail to define the project to a certain maturity phase in the industry. While remaining compliant, it did not become too descriptive to allow each project to be unique.

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Undertaking research with real-life implications South Africans are working towards a future where all citizens are equal and prosperous. The vast mineral wealth of the country is a vehicle for financial and societal liberation. Mining companies are therefore responsible for huge networks of economic activities. With improved technology and mining methods, these networks can be expanded to eradicate poverty, unemployment and inequality. Prof Webber-Youngman believes that research related to eradicating these three societal ills will not only benefit the mining industry, but society at large. A cornerstone to this is the training of excellent mining engineers. As the mining industry is such a large employer of human resources, it has a responsibility towards its communities in terms of both the social licence to operate and ensuring that the environment surrounding mines is both healthy and safe.

Why study postgraduate?

The Department places great emphasis on a postgraduate qualification to ensure the sustainability of the industry. Its enrolment strategy aims to have 30% full-time postgraduates active in research in the Department at any time. According to Prof Ronny Webber-Youngman, the generation of new knowledge, which is vital for a sustainable mining environment, can only occur though quality research and the subsequent inclusion of that new knowledge in the Department’s undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, as well as its short courses for industry. This view is supported by Prof Francois Malan, who believes that postgraduate programmes should emphasise innovative thinking. In the view of Jannie Maritz, the Department’s Teaching and Learning Function Head, bringing together fundamental research and practical implementation in postgraduate research facilitates the complex problemsolving skills that are needed to drive change in future mining operations. “A better understanding of the problem will lead to better solutions,” he explains. Postgraduate students in the Department also have a clear view of the value of a postgraduate qualification from the University of Pretoria. They have expressed that postgraduate studies provide the opportunity for students to explore specialised fields such as rock engineering and ventilation, which are essential and scarce skills in the South African mining industry. Driven by innovation, researchers contribute to solving mining’s toughest challenges and thereby push the industry forward into a new era of depth and productivity.

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By valuing not only the investing stakeholder, but also the people involved in mining, a reimagined mining industry, supported by relevant research, can enable a better workforce and create a more sustainable industry and a healthier community. The mining landscape is constantly changing with a larger demand for social and environmental considerations. These are core elements of the Department’s research interventions. An outcome of growing the mining industry through relevant and resilient research is an increase in the country’s GDP, with an accompanying reduction in the unemployment rate and the establishment of associated industries. The Department therefore has a responsibility to produce more socially minded young mining engineers who can promote this change. Research that is focused on improving the sustainability of the industry by improving productivity and the optimisation of mines will also benefit the communities that are reliant on the longevity of the mine. In addition to being focused on the social impacts of mining, research is conducted into the future of mining, the role of technology and methods to improve operations to make them more efficient and safer, ultimately building healthier, more resilient communities. According to Prof Malan, the closure of older mines with only a few new mines being commissioned has a large impact on the sustainability of the industry. The subsequent loss of employment is devastating to communities. South Africa is unique in the sense that many of its ore bodies are tabular and much innovation and research is required to mine them. Many older mines have significant resources left in their stabilising pillars, and an important research area is determining how these resources can be mined safely and profitably to prolong the life of many of these mines. While the Department’s research into rock engineering is exploring the future of smaller and more effective pillars in the hard rock environment, research into flyrock and stemming are improving the science and practice of blasting into a new era of safety and performance. Research into leadership and technology are also redefining how leadership and technology are being used in large mining houses. Other future prospects for mining include breaking the enigma of rock stresses and expensive cooling for deeper mines, ocean mining (underwater mining), automation and the modernisation of mining, and mechanised rock-breaking.

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FEATURE

IS MINING ENGINEERING STILL AN OPTION FOR ASPIRING STUDENTS? A report by Swan Global Investments on addressing the mining skills gap states that, for the next 25 years, there will be a high demand for metals in the world to meet the requirements pertaining to the 4IR. The report amplifies the pressing skills shortage that needs to be addressed as students’ interest in mining declines, and the industry becomes increasingly characterised by an ageing workforce that needs to be replenished. It furthermore highlights five key areas driving the lack of interest in mining: a lack of information pertaining to mining, climate change, resistance to coal-fired power stations (which are detrimental to a healthy lifestyle), uncertainty in job opportunities due to the cyclical nature of mining, and politics.

The Department’s Prof Francois Malan believes that, because commodity cycles are part of mining, the next super cycle is probably not far away. Here, capital will flow into the mining industry on a much larger scale than ever before. This will result in a severe skills shortage, and the mining industry will lure good students with attractive benefits. Mining engineers will require skills that have previously been thought to reside in the domain of computer engineering and computer science.

Mining is no longer merely a male-dominated domain. The fact that mining operations can be controlled from afar in a digital age, minimising workers’ exposure to harsh conditions, offers a much wider scope of opportunities for young women who are in possession of critical and creative thinking skills, and are challenged to solve complex problems.

The adoption of new

The adoption of new technologies should make the industry even more attractive to a new generation of tech-savvy students who are born into a technologically advanced world. The multidisciplinary nature of the future mining industry will also attract students with an interest in other engineering disciplines, but with a foundation in mining engineering. In addition to conventional mining engineering skills, it will also be an option for individuals who are keen to develop leadership skills in order to get the most out of people.

technologies should make the industry even more attractive to a new generation of tech-savvy students who are born into a technologically advanced world. Mining engineers will require

Postgraduate students in the Department are very positive about the viability of mining engineering as a career option. It has been said that there has never been a perfect mine, and until there is, there will always be problems to solve and the chance to add value. Although the saturation of conventional miners in the industry is a possibility, the demand for imaginative individuals has never been higher.

multidisciplinary skills that

While mineral resources are still among the country’s primary have previously been thought sources of raw material and make to reside in the domain of a big contribution to the country’s GDP, mining will remain a viable computer engineering and career option. Added to this is the computer science. In addition, the increased focus on expected demand for new minerals smart technology related to the 4IR such as rare earth elements that are will ensure that the career prospects used for cutting-edge technological for mining engineers will be even applications, and the prospect of more diverse and exciting. Graduates who are trained in asteroid mining and deep-marine mining. According to the skills required for the modern workforce are creative, Prof Webber-Youngman, this will open up new avenues for innovative thinkers, and are prepared to deal with the mining as a career with the potential to continue for many complexities that the mining industry presents. years to come.

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With the rapid growth of the global population, emerging markets are industrialising with the aid of the 4IR. This growth is coupled with a high demand for raw minerals to sustain not only economic growth, but also the drive towards decarbonising our energy systems. Mining will be the key player in the development of more sustainable societies and more environmentally conscious systems.

which supports students to grasp and communicate their understanding of complex mining concepts. This programme is necessitated by the fact that only 7% of the Department’s students have identified English as their first language, and that their mastery of this language is one of the challenges affecting their academic performance.

According to Prof Webber-Youngman, engineers are – by As long as there is a demand for more effective materials nature – problem solvers. In its education of the engineers and methodologies, mining engineers who enter the of the future, the Department encourages its students to industry will need to find innovative ways to deal with think beyond merely the solution to the problem. In today’s outdated and obsolete techniques, mines that do not take world, one can no longer think in silos if one is to come up the social needs of the surrounding communities into with a viable and sustainable solution. account, and unsustainable methods with negative environmental The problems faced by engineers in impacts. These inherited problems the mining industry often relate to STUDENT RECRUITMENT require new ways of thinking to find situations that have never presented innovative solutions, such as those themselves before. Even though it is An initiative between Mital 4.0 nurtured in students graduating one of the oldest known industries, it Mining Outreach Experience and the from the Department of Mining is ever changing, with ever-increasing Engineering. risks that threaten to close down Department of Mining Engineering operations and impact on the country’s has been launched to raise awareness GDP. Taking account of the skills that and improve the profile of mining WHAT MAKES A UP MINING have been identified as essential engineering as a career choice for in the 4IR, the Department focuses ENGINEERING GRADUATE learners. Mital 4.0 will make use of on developing analytical thinking, mobile digitalised vehicles to interact UNIQUE? innovation and complex problem with learners in rural areas face-to-face. solving in its students. The Department of Mining Engineering works tirelessly Short programmes with key The Department’s Jannie Maritz states to ensure that its academic information will be shared through that, with advancements in technology, programmes remain on par with videos and digital interactive quizzes. the Department of Mining Engineering international standards in mining is also focusing on teaching its The learners will be exposed to engineering education. As a result, students to apply cross-disciplinary various careers in mining and the skills it has contributed to the University thinking to incorporate solutions required to face the opportunities for of Pretoria being rated as one of from other walks of life that can the next generation of mining. the top 50 universities worldwide mitigate risk and increase profitability. in the field of minerals and mining His colleague, Wolter de Graaf, adds engineering according to the QS that the Department is teaching World University Subject Rankings of its students to think out of the box 2020/21. It boasts a range of unique in a manner that supports digital teaching and learning initiatives, innovation and the 4IR. It has which are aimed at enhancing moved away from rote learning, and the Department’s throughput and encourages its students to be creative success rate, thereby ensuring that thinkers who can apply innovation it delivers well-rounded, technically and complex problem-solving to sound mining engineers to industry. today’s challenges. The Department’s students are Prof Malan describes the exposed to real-life mining activities Department’s graduates as engineers before completing their studies who embody a fantastic mix of through visits to mining operations skills and experience, ranging from in their third year of study. The M&R complex mathematical techniques, Kennedy Tsimba, Director of MELA focuses on the development of and business and leadership skills Mital 4.0 Mining Outreach Experience leadership, communication and stress to exposure to practical mining management skills, as well as conflict operations. resolution and problem-solving. This training equips prospective mining The curriculum produces well-rounded graduates who engineers with the necessary skills to address the challenges are prepared for the complex environments in which pertaining to the next generation of mining. they will need to operate in the mining industry. Good leaders need to have a strong grounding in values, and this is instilled in students during their training at the University of Pretoria.

Another initiative that assists the Department’s students academically is the English Literacy training drive,

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TEACHING AND LEARNING PROFILE

Interactive immersive technology

Instructional design

Industry visits

Leadership academy

English Literacy drive

The Department has developed innovative teaching and learning initiatives. These are aimed at supporting undergraduate students and enhancing the Department’s throughput and success rates, while

ONLINE TEACHING AND LEARNING

ensuring that it delivers well-rounded mining engineers to the workforce. The Department makes use of the VR

As a result of countrywide lockdown restrictions, students were prevented from accessing the campus for extended periods of time. This necessitated the adoption of an online approach to teaching and learning much faster than was anticipated. The Department adopted the flipped classroom approach, which implies that the traditional class presentations are pre-recorded and provided to the student via the learning management system. Students view these recordings before attending class and contact time is used for discussions and working through example problems (application of knowledge).

capabilities of its Kumba Virtual Reality Centre for Mine Design to explain complex mining layouts, and it makes use of the principles of instructional design to enhance the content of the Mining Engineering modules. The Department has recognised the potential of immersive

Challenges such as the cost of data was somewhat resolved by the University, as it managed to negotiate zero-data gateways via communication companies to allow students to access websites containing study material and class notes. Online collaboration was possible with the use of platforms such as Google Meet, Zoom and Microsoft Teams. However, the preferred platform remains the learning management system.

experiences in teaching and learning, and has thus expanded its VR facilities to include a blast wall for explosives training.

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In this case, students have access to the study material and recordings of the collaboration sessions are saved for future reference or for downloading. Online classes also mean online assessment. Ensuring the integrity of assessment was one on the key priorities of the Department during the period under review. Lecturers adopted various online assessment methods in accordance with their teaching styles. Traditional question banks and new questions were reworked into the online test environment, where the system allows for questions to be randomised for presentation to candidates – essentially creating a new paper for each student. In modules requiring calculations, the students are allowed to add scripts illustrating their calculation approach. These submissions then allow the lecturer to compare the online test result and adjust grades accordingly.

STUDENT WELLBEING

An important focus of the Department is the wellbeing of its students. Due to its comparatively small lecturer-tostudent ratio, the Department is able to interact personally with all its students. Its interaction with its students takes place according to a value-driven framework, in which the principle of heartfelt leadership features prominently. Furthermore, its Student Wellbeing Committee offers emotional and other support to students, especially those in need. In the extraordinary circumstances brought about by the nationwide lockdown, several challenges had to be overcome. These included providing students with data, access to laptops and the narrated recording of lectures. Under normal circumstances, students are assisted in other ways as well, including the provision of prescription glasses, daily meals, accommodation and registration fees.

Ultimately the online assessment approach enables tests to focus more on the application of theory than on learn-andremember, theory-based questions. This takes the depth of learning to the next cognitive level. As the degree programme’s capstone module, which sees students’ knowledge obtained over the course of their studies come together, Mine Design received special approval for students to access the campus to prepare their final report and take oral examinations. However, this occurred under strict COVID-19 guidelines.

MURRAY & ROBERTS MINING ENGINEERING LEADERSHIP ACADEMY The Department’s M&R MELA is a critical part of exposing final-year Mining Engineering students to workplace leadership challenges and opportunities they will encounter once they enter the industry. The programme’s aim is to create awareness and skill students in leadership. In this way, students are guided not only to discover their own leadership potential, but also to unleash and cultivate their individual leadership qualities.

The team-building event took place as a day event during the last quarter of 2020 without a sleep-over as was the case in previous years. Mr Mike da Costa, CEO of Murray & Roberts Underground Mining Business Platform joined the group for the event. He contributed to the students’ experience by highlighting the importance of teamwork in the mining Industry. With the relaxation of the lockdown restrictions at the beginning of 2021, the programme could continue on campus with contact sessions under strict rules.

The M&R MELA programme continued during the second half of 2020 primarily through online sessions under restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. As always, students were divided into teams of four for the Mine Design course. To this end, the leadership week activities took place online via the ClickUP platform. The group assignment presentations that emanated from the leadership week were the first socially distanced contact sessions with the examination panel of four, together with the four design students that made up each team. This constituted the first on-campus event in August 2020. These assignments focused on specific aspects of mine design: community and human settlements, mine closure and post-mine activities and women in mining.

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INDUSTRY VISITS

The Department is greatly indebted to its industry partners for providing its students with the opportunity to gain practical experience at mining operations throughout the country. During the period under review, Harmony Gold hosted eight of the Department’s final-year students at its Bambanani, Masimong and Joel operations in the Free State and at its Kalgold operation in North West, where they were able to complete their in-service training in the mining company’s graduate skills development programme. As part of the students’ curriculum, they are required to gain practical experience by completing 12 weeks of vacation work at a mine during their third and fourth years of study.

“some of the most motivated young people to ever do their practical training at Harmony.” When asked about their overall experience with Harmony, the students all reported that they had learnt a great deal about the mining industry, particularly the challenges related to deeplevel mining. The students took a trip underground – some for the first time – and ultimately gained a newfound respect and admiration for the miners who work there daily. Kwena Mabitsela, the only female student in the group, had the following to say: “I came here to gain a holistic experience and to complement technical aspects and skills to the theory we learnt at university. What I experienced was more than I ever expected. Some of the solutions that I proposed were either already in place or being considered. This validated my potential – it was a fulfilling moment to know that I could come up with practical solutions to problems – and in that moment, my future seemed brighter than it ever had.”

During their time at the mine, students are required to investigate a problem experienced by the mine and come up with a solution. Upon conclusion of their projects, they are given the opportunity to present their findings to the mine’s senior management. This research ultimately forms part of their final-year research report.

Another student, Theuns Wilkens, was also enthusiastic about his experience: “It was my first time underground, and it made me eager to join the industry once I have completed my degree,” he stated.

James Mufara, Regional General Manager of Harmony Gold’s Bambanani, Masimong and Joel operations, was particularly impressed with this group of students, stating that they were

ENGLISH LITERACY DRIVE

First language distribution of Mining Engineering students, 2021

29%

SEPEDI

The Department is committed to providing education in a manner that addresses the real obstacles facing South African students in an ever-globalising world. A key factor to address this is the Department’s English Literacy programme. The majority of the Department’s student cohort are not English first language speakers (93%), and the fact that English is the language in which they have to study can become a hurdle to adequately understanding and communicating their understanding of complex concepts. Comprehension has been identified as a key element that needs to be addressed, and the English support programmes that are being put in place address this need. The Department’s dedicated English support staff provide students with individualised solutions for their language skills improvement.

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

2%

OTHER

7%

ENGLISH

5%

AFRIKAANS

14%

ISIZULU

3%

ISINDEBELE

6%

8%

TSHIVENDA

SETSWANA

8%

XITSONGA

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3

%

ISIXHOSA

4

%

11%

SESOTHO

SISWATI

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FEATURE

DEVELOPING A NEW SKILL SET FOR FUTURE MINING ENGINEERS The 4IR is bringing about a revival of the mining industry. However, the introduction of the numerous technological advances associated with next-generation mining also requires the new workforce to have a new skill set. In recognition of this, the Department of Mining Engineering is equipping its future mining engineers with the skills they need to succeed in the future.

Integral aspects of the 4IR, such as automation, virtual and extended reality, robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT), will require mining engineers to be more technology-minded and have a different mindset. According to Prof Ronny WebberYoungman, in addition to the technical skills required to work as a mining engineer, it is important for students to also be exposed to the non-technical or soft skills associated with the 4IR during their undergraduate studies. Leadership skills, in particular, improve the employability of the Department’s students.

According to Prof Webber-Youngman, in any mining set-up, effective verbal communication skills are essential; not only from an operational point of view, but also to ensure a safe, healthy and productive work environment. However, given the fact that the preferred method of communication of the generation known as Gen Z is non-verbal, through texts and email, they need to be taught the appropriate skills to survive in a mining environment. They have to realise that the smartphone is not a conflict management tool: they need to be able to deal with conflict face to face. For that they need to have achieved a high level of emotional intelligence, which is the focus of the M&R MELA programme.

In 2016, the World Economic Forum (WEF) published an article that revealed the ten critical skills that are required for the 4IR. In 2020, the WEF updated this skills list in its Future of Jobs report, and identified the following skills as being critical for the modern workforce: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

THE FIFTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

Analytical thinking and innovation Active learning and learning strategies Complex problem-solving Critical thinking and analysis Creativity, originality and initiative Leadership and social influence Technology use, monitoring and control Technology design and programming Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation

We are standing on the threshold of the Fifth Industrial Revolution. This new era is set to highlight the significance of humanity in the workplace. This future era will build on the 4IR and it is foreseen that it will be an Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolution, with the potential of quantum computing, which will draw humans and machines together in the workplace. It will be about harnessing the unique attributes of AI by recruiters and employers who, in effect, will be more equipped to make even better and more informed decisions. The importance placed on human intelligence will be greater than ever before.

These critical skills find resonance in the emphasis on leadership development in the Department’s curriculum, particularly its promotion of creative and innovative thinking so that graduates are prepared to deal with the expected complexities in the mining industry once they enter the job market.

The Department is already starting to think beyond the 4IR, and is preparing its students for the Fifth Industrial Revolution. This future era may need an entirely new set of skills to cope, but in many ways, should complement the skills identified to thrive in the 4IR. It is clear that industries and related work have changed forever, and the mining industry is no exception. This amplifies the need for a specific leadership approach that can accommodate the various complexities and deal with them accordingly.

Developing these skills in its students forms part of the M&R MELA, which all final-year Mining Engineering students attend. The management and leadership activities in which students are involved in this programme incorporate aspects such as team building, conflict management and social awareness around mines. These are necessary skills to prepare students for the workplace.

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TUKS MINING SOCIETY FUTURE OF MINING ENGINEERS INDUSTRY EXPOSURE NIGHT An online webinar was hosted by the Tuks Mining Society (TMS) to focus on the future of mining engineers in the mines of the future. Several speakers, including some of the Department’s alumni, were invited to deliver presentations. The event also included a speaker from Sanlam, who shared advice regarding financial management issues. FIRST-YEAR MENTORSHIP TMS Chairperson, John Phetla, and the Academic and Wellbeing Officer, Manchanato Tsheola, organised the mentorship of first-year students in 2021. The programme involved a peer-to-peer approach to mentorship. A variety of students from different years of study were allocated a student from the firstyear class. The first-year students were also encouraged to create study groups for modules that they found difficult to understand.

media campaign to encourage and motivate current mining engineering students, as well as those in industry, to continue to make their mark. Students and alumni were interviewed, and a profile of each participant was posted on TMS’s social media platforms. Mondays were dedicated to posting #MenInMining and Wednesdays were dedicated to posting #WomenInMining. EBIT MANDELA DAY CELEBRATION Under the Community Outreach portfolio, TMS joined the online celebration of Mandela Day, hosted by the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology. TMS created a video to encourage fellow students and the UP community. Nompumelelo Funde, firstyear student in the Department, was selected to represent TMS. She chose the topic “Never give up”. She unfolded her presentation by quoting the words of the late Nelson Mandela: “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up!” The video was posted on EBIT House’s social media platforms.

WOMEN AND MEN IN MINING

MINING ENGINEERING STUDENT COUNCIL OF SOUTH AFRICA (MESCOSA)

TMS Committee member for Media and Marketing, Kelies Lekala, and Secretary, Buhle Skhosana, spearheaded a social

TMS Chairperson, John Phetla, and Vice-Chairperson, Kwena Mabitsela, have both undertaken several meetings

with leaders from other mining schools in South Africa. This includes students from the University of Johannesburg, the University of South Africa (Unisa) and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). The meetings are meant to establish a body to will represent all mining engineering students of South Africa at a national level called MESCOSA. This will serve to create a harmonic relationship between all mining engineering students across different universities, and address some of the challenges currently faced by students.

TMS COMMITTEE MEMBERS 2020/2021 John Phetla Chairperson and Community Outreach Kwena Mabitsela Vice-Chairperson and Transformation Buhle Skhosana Secretary Christiaan Janse van Rensburg Treasurer Kelies Lekala Media and Marketing Ernest Machete Industry Exposure

CLASS OF 2020

Department of Mining Engineering final-year class and staff, 2020.

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FEATURE

WOMEN IN MINING Compared to the situation at the beginning of 2000, when there were no female students enrolled in the Department of Mining Engineering (and legal regulations prohibited women from working underground), the increase in the Department’s student enrolment to the point where female students make up more than 30% of the student body is a clear indication that the age of excluding women from mining engineering is long past.

As noted by Divine Ile, one of the Department’s female postgraduate students, mining is becoming more inclusive since it has become evident that women can perform the same tasks as men. Progress on this front is escalated by the introduction of automation, autonomous vehicles and 3D mine designs in modern mines. Nozipho Dlamini, Technical Services Manager at Thugela Resources and alumna of the Department, believes that digitalisation and automation will provide more flexibility, which will attract even more women to mining. Prof Francois Malan, the Department’s Research Lead, states that women are doing exceedingly well in the mining industry, and are adding significant value to the industry in general. Numerous studies have shown that the influence of women in top management positions greatly increases the profitability and efficiency of an operation. They bring a different perspective to the table, which not only assists in effectively optimising operations, but creates a sense of community that imparts more care towards the people involved. Incorporating women in the mining industry will reduce gender inequality and lead to a positive economic and inclusive social development outcome.

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

ALUMNA PROFILE Danisa Nkanyani

Danisa is on the Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans 2021 list in the category Mining Manufacturing. Danisa Nkanyani attributes her approach to life to the holistic education she received at the University of Pretoria. “The agile approach I learnt in the Department has continued to pave the way for me to grow and adjust in almost any environment. I am willing to learn from any person, irrespective of their status. That, in turn, makes it easier for me to be able to acquire new skills and navigate through the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world that characterises the mining industry. Furthermore, I believe in empowerment. Someone had to empower me to be where I am, and I believe that I owe it to humanity to make such a contribution as well.” When she obtained her master’s degree in 2019, she became a trendsetter, as she was the first black female master’s graduate from the Department of Mining Engineering at the University of Pretoria. Along the way, she was the top second-year Mining Engineering student, as well as the best third-year Geology student. She has devoted much of her time to mentoring and coaching people so that they can follow in her footsteps.

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“When all is said and done, and the last buzzer of my life rings, I want to have inspired, played my role in making the world a better place and have a sense of fulfilment that I gave all that God had bestowed in me. My most significant learning in the Department of Mining Engineering was that I was not limited to being an engineer. After graduating, I joined the banking industry, and am now working in the coal mining industry, where I hope to further my technical skills.” She is constantly reminded of how Prof Ronny Webber-Youngman, described his students as “imagineers”. “For me that meant I could become anything I wanted to be. I had the best support from the Department so that even when I doubted myself, they made me believe I could be a thriving engineer in a male-dominated industry. My love for leadership was birthed in my final year when we were exposed to different types of leadership courses. Since then, I am inclined to learn soft skills more than technical skills everywhere I go.” She plans to return to the Department to complete her PhD.

ANNUAL REVIEW 2020/21


ALUMNI The Mining Alumni Society of the University of Pretoria (MASUP) held its annual general meeting (AGM) for 2021 in a slightly different format than in the past, due to the restrictions Keynote address by Mike de Costa, CEO of Murray & Roberts

imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A representation of 25 members attended the AGM in person in the Exhibition Hall of the Mining Industry Study Centre on the University’s Hatfield Campus on 28 May 2021, which was livestreamed to another 91 members who attended it virtually. This enabled the meeting to be attended, for the first time, by members from Sierra Leone, Sweden and the USA.

Prof Sunil Maharaj, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology, welcomed the alumni members to this new-format meeting, which illustrated the Department’s contemporary response to a worldwide challenge. Hannes Bornman, an alumnus of the Department and Director of Pivot Mining, acted as Master of Ceremonies, and introduced Mike de Costa, CEO of Murray & Roberts, Mining Platform, who delivered the keynote address.

A representation of the MASUP Committee

The term of office of the MASUP Committee was extended for another year as the members will also be responsible for the arrangements for the MASUP Presidential Dinner, which will be held on 5 March 2022 to celebrate the Department’s 60th anniversary.

In his address, De Costa highlighted the plight of the South African mining industry, especially underground mining, which has become a lot less competitive over the last 20 years. He observed that the mining industry needs to transform and adopt new technologies if it is to become globally competitive again, and provided some suggestions to reverse the trend.

The Committee is as follows: President: Dr Bertie Meyer Vice President: Riaan Gilfillan Treasurer: Quentin Botha Head of Department: Prof Ronny Webber-Youngman Honorary President: Prof Con Fauconnier

During the meeting, Prof Con Fauconnier, MASUP’s Honorary President, was presented with the Society’s Gold Medal Achievement Award. The Department also announced the student prizes that had been presented at the University’s April graduation ceremony.

Members: Bennie Burger Takalani Randima Danie Lourens (past president) Ben Bruwer (past president) Francois Nell Danie Roos Johann Esterhuyse Phathutshedzo Mashavhathanga John Phetla (student representative)

The format in which the AGM was presented this year received much positive feedback, especially from overseas members who were able to attend a MASUP AGM for the first time in 20 years. It can therefore be classified as a success.

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STUDENT PRIZES The Department recognises the exceptional achievements of its students at its alumni events each year. The following student prizes were announced at the MASUP AGM:

The Department enjoys the Edleen Mokwena Ndimphiwe Sasol Mining prize for the best first-year student in Mining Engineering

active support of its alumni through the Mining Alumni

Glen Matlala Maphalle Sasol Mining prize for the best second-year student in Mining Engineering AMMSA prize for the best second-year student in Mining Engineering

Society of the University of Pretoria (MASUP). Through this platform, alumni support

Andrian Xolani Sibeko Sasol Mining prize for the best third-year student in Mining Engineering

the Department by raising sponsorships, and ensuring that a high level of skills and

Ernest Machete MASUP prize for the best third-year student in Geology Mining

educational standards are maintained. This society also serves as a social network for

Jean-Pierre Strydom Wolter de Graaf prize for the best student in Explosives Engineering

mining engineers in industry.

Thobeka Anele Cebekhulu SAIMM prize for the best final-year student in Mining Engineering Sphesihle Musa Buthelezi South African National Institute of Rock Engineering prize for the best student in Rock Mechanics Mine Ventilation Society of South Africa prize Preanthan Reddy MASUP prize for the best final-year student in Mine Design

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CEO ALUMNUS Peter Steenkamp

“To thrive in a country such as South Africa, you need to equip yourself and those working for you to become courageous, ethical leaders, across all levels, who are able to speak up, speak out and make integrated decisions that will make in a meaningful difference in South Africa.”

Peter Steenkamp is one of the Department’s foremost alumni, graduating with a degree in Mining Engineering in 1985. With more than 40 years’ experience in the mining industry, he is an industry leader. He was appointed CEO and Executive Director of Harmony Gold, South Africa’s largest gold producer, in January 2016. Positions he has held include those of Senior VicePresident: Mining of Sasol Mining (Pty) Ltd, as well as various executive positions at Harmony from 2003 to 2007, and at African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) and Pamodzi Gold.

He believes that the South African mining industry is blessed with experienced and competent people. “Recently, during COVID-19, we once again illustrated how agile and resilient South Africans can be. We are miners at our core – we understand ore bodies, how to break them and how to deliver the ore to the plant. In today’s world, extracting gold – or any other mineral or metal – is no longer enough. We are expected to do more. We need to know how to motivate teams, deal with diversity and truly listen – providing clear context to purpose, relating to people and persuading them to perform to achieve a common goal. As leaders, our responsibility extends to influencing not only our own workforce, but also the stakeholders we partner with – be that government, mining communities, trade unions or shareholders.”

He is not only a prominent executive in the mining industry, but contributes to building the next generation of mining leaders through his participation as a member of the Department’s Mining Engineering Advisory Board and as member and past president of the Association of Mine Managers of South Africa (AMMSA), and a member of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM) and the South African Colliery Managers’ Association (SACMA). Most recently, he was appointed Vice-President of the Minerals Council South Africa (MCSA) in 2021.

According to Steenkamp, dealing with the various stakeholders in the South African mining context requires strong leaders to steer our industry through constant change and challenges. “At Harmony, in line with the company’s values of safety, accountability, achievement, being connected and honesty, we understand that the development of leadership skills is critical to not only transforming our company, but our economy as well. As mine managers, we have the same responsibilities,” he says. “To thrive in a country such as South Africa, you need to equip yourself and those working for you to become courageous, ethical leaders, across all levels, who are able to speak up, speak out and make integrated decisions that will make a meaningful difference in South Africa.”

As a keynote speaker at AMMSA’s 2021 Annual General Meeting, Steenkamp addressed delegates on the importance of ethical leadership. He believes that ethical leadership has never had so great an impact on our country and society as it does today. “In today’s business environment, a lot of what we do is to understand which people to employ, what development they need and how to retain them.” As CEO, Steenkamp has a responsibility to create an environment in which the entity’s employees are able to thrive. He also has a responsibility to invest in his employees to ensure that they are equipped to take on anything that life throws at them: whether during times of global pandemics such as COVID-19, the highs and lows of a commodity cycle or even a serious mine accident.

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

Steenkamp’s conclusion resonates with the vision of the Department of Mining Engineering: “The mining industry needs innovative and empowering leaders; leaders who are well equipped to manage change.” With a role model such as this, the Department is certainly poised to prepare leaders for the future.

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FEATURE

INDUSTRY FOOTPRINT The Department of Mining Engineering has played a significant role in developing the mining industry in South Africa through the delivery of experienced, wellqualified graduates. Its alumni have gone on to take up leading roles in mining houses nationally and internationally, and also serve as role models in the country’s foremost mining industry associations.

Within the country’s mining fraternity, the two leading industry associations are the Association of Mine Managers of South Africa (AMMSA) and the South African Colliery Managers’ Association (SACMA). Among AMMSA’s objects are to promote and uphold the advancement of the mining industry, to uphold the status of the mining profession and to protect its members’ interests. SACMA, on the other hand, endeavours to uphold the status of the coal-mining profession and to promote the sharing of best safe and operational practice between members, among other objectives. Both associations play an important role in ensuring knowledge transfer between current and future members. Since its establishment in 1892 – and specifically in the last 20 years – AMMSA has appointed six of the Department’s alumni as President of the Association, while SACMA, which was established in 1979, has honoured eight of the Department’s alumni with this privilege in the last 20 years. Alumni who have served as President of AMMSA include Gerhard Potgieter (2000), Peter Steenkamp (2003), Johan Ferreria (2011), Beyers Nel (2016), Willie Theron (2018) and the current President, Francois Janse van Rensburg (2021). Those who have served as President of SACMA include Charlie Ladds (1996), Wilco Uys (1998), Don Turvey (2001), Pierre Jordaan (2004), Tienie Bleeker (2005), Koos Janse van Vuuren (2007) and the current President, Rico van Staden (2021). The President of SACMA for 2022 has already been announced, and this position will also be filled by a former graduate of the Department, Nozipho Dlamini (the current Vice-President).

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

The Department’s alumni also play an important role in some of the more discipline-specific institutes related to mining engineering. These include the South African National Institute of Rock Engineering (SANIRE) and the Mine Ventilation Society of South Africa (MVSSA). SANIRE was established in 1999 to promote the South African rock engineering profession and to represent and promote the interests of its members. Its first president was Dr Nielen van der Merwe, a former Head of Department in the University’s Department of Mining Engineering, who served in this capacity from 1999 to 2001. He was succeeded by seven alumni of the Department who served terms of office as President of SANIRE. These were Dr Martin Pretorius (deceased, 2001 to 2003), Prof Francois Malan (2003 to 2005), Dr Matthew Handley (2005 to 2007), Jacques Lucas (2009 to 2011), Dr Michael du Plessis (2015 to 2017), Jannie Maritz (2017 to 2019) and the current President, Paul Couto (since 2019).

its alumni for their skills and leadership qualities. According to Prof Ronny WebberYoungman, Head of the Department of Mining Engineering, this is a clear testament of the recognition of the Department’s qualifications and its ability to make a difference both locally and globally.

SACMA’s 2021 President, Rico van Staden (left), and Vice-President, Nozipho Dlamini (right).

The MVSSA was established in 1944 to serve the interests of mine ventilation engineers in South Africa. Its past presidents have included Prof J de Villiers Lambrechts, a former Head of Department in the University’s Department of Mining Engineering, who served as President from 1954 to 1955. More recently, this position has been filled by Prof Jan du Plessis, an Extraordinary Professor in and alumnus of the Department, who served in this position from 2007 to 2008. The University of Pretoria takes great pride in the recognition of

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AMMSA’s 2021 President, Francois Janse van Rensburg.

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PROMINENT ALUMNI

DEPARTMENTAL ADVISORY BOARD The Department benefits from the expertise of the following leaders from industry and academia who serve on the Mining Engineering Advisory Board:

The Department boasts with several alumni who have reached the highest ranks of business, not just in the mining industry. The names of prominent alumni are regularly brought to the attention of the Department, but that does not mean that the following alumni (listed alphabetically) are the only industry leaders who have gained recognition on the basis of a degree obtained from this Department. We therefore acknowledge those alumni whose achievements have not been brought to our attention as well. The updating of this list is an ongoing process.

• Prof Sunil Maharaj, Dean: EBIT • Prof Wynand Steyn, Chairperson, School of Engineering • Prof Ronny Webber-Youngman, Head of Department • Dr Bertie Meyer, President of MASUP • Mr Riaan van der Merwe • Mr Wilco Uys

• Mr Rassie Alberts, COO

• Prof Con Fauconnier

• Mr David Boshoff, CEO • Mr Theo Bothoulas, CEO

• Mr Bernard Swanepoel

• Mr Johan de Vos, MD

• Mr Don Turvey

• Prof Con Fauconnier, CEO

• Dr Gys Landman

• Mr Hennie Faul, CEO

• Mr Francois Uys

• Mr Dirk Fourie, COO

• Mr Gerhard Potgieter

• Mr Louis Germishuys, COO

• Mr Chris Griffith

• Mr Chris Griffith, CEO

• Mr Pierre Jordaan

• Mr Rikus Grimbeek, CEO

• Mr Joshua Ngoma

• Mr Johan Jansen, CEO

• Mr Peter Steenkamp

• Mr Koos Jordaan, CEO

• Mr Johan de Vos

• Mr Pierre Jordaan, Head of Mining

• Mr Rowan Karstel

• Mr André Joubert, CEO

• Dr Gordon Smith

• Mr Pierre Joubert, CEO

• Mr Rassie Alberts

• Mr Rowan Karstel, CEO

• Mr Corné Strydom

• Mr Manie Kriel, CEO

• Mr Dick Kruger

• Mr Dirk Kruger, MD

• Dr Nombasa Tsengwa

• Mr Henry Laas, CEO

• Mr Mike Teke

• Dr Gys Landman, CEO • Mr Jaqco Lottering, MD • Mr Floyd Masemula, Senior Vice-President • Mr Nico Muller, CEO

We thank all current and future

• Mr Byers Nel, COO • Mr Gerhard Potgieter, COO

board members for their selfless

• Mr Peter Steenkamp, CEO

contribution to the sustainability

• Mr Bernard Swanepoel, CEO • Mr Hugo Tukker, MD

of the mining industry through the

• Mr Don Turvey, CEO • Mr Francois Uys, CEO

work of the Department.

• Mr Wilco Uys, CEO • Mr Riaan van der Merwe, COO • Mr Riaan Vermeulen, Head of Mining

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The Department is proud to welcome the following new members of the Mining Engineering Advisory Board, who took up their responsibilities in the 2020/21 term. Ms Nozipho Dlamini Ms Dlamini is Technical Services Manager at Thungela Resources Limited’s Greenside Colliery. She is an experienced mining engineer, having worked at Sasol Mining and Anglo American. She graduated from the University of Pretoria with a BEng (Mining Engineering) degree in 2007, followed by an honours degree in Technology Management and a Master in Technology Management degree from the Graduate School of Technology Management (GSTM). With more than 13 years’ mining experience, she has held various management positions, from underground manager to business improvement manager, section manager and technical services manager. In addition, she is the incoming President of SACMA, the professional body representing coal managers across the country. Kennedy Sengani Mr Sengani is Mining Manager at Anglo American Platinum’s Mototolo Der Brochen Complex. He is an experienced mining engineer, having worked at Anglo Gold Ashanti, Xstrata, Glencore and Anglo American Platinum. He graduated from the University of Pretoria with a BEng (Mining Engineering) degree in 2005, and is currently busy with his MBA at MANCOSA. With more than 15 years’ mining experience, he has held various management positions, from shift boss to mine overseer, production manager and mine manager. Leon Joseph Mr Joseph is Vice-President of Syferfontein Colliery at Sasol Mining. His qualifications include a National Diploma and a Higher National Diploma from the University of the Witwatersrand, and a BTech in Mining Engineering through the University of Johannesburg, with demonstrated experience in both gold and coal mining in South Africa. He has held various management positions at Gold Fields South Africa, Anglo Coal and Sasol Mining in a career that spans more than 30 years in the mining industry. He currently serves as a valued member of the Sasol Mining Executive Team. Mbali Phejaolema Ms Phejaolema is Relationship Manager: Mining and Metals at Rand Merchant Bank. She graduated from the University of Pretoria with a BEng (Mining Engineering) degree in 2009 and her qualifications include a BEng (Hons) degree in Technology Management from the GSTM and an MBA from the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS). She started off her career at Sasol Mining as a graduate trainee and left in 2011 as a mine captain. She then worked for Glencore SA as a mine planning engineer based at the Impunzi operation. She has over six years of investment banking experience and held various roles such as technical advisor in the Mining Energy and Infrastructure Team and credit analyst at Standard Bank South Africa. She was head-hunted to join Rand Merchant Bank in 2019, where she is responsible for the bank’s mining and metals portfolio. Charles Makgala Mr Makgala is Managing Director of AmandlaTM Group (Pty) Ltd. He graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand with a BSc (Eng) Mining in 2005, and is in possession of an MBA from the Wits Business School. With more than 14 years’ mining experience, he has held various management positions, from mine overseer to production manager and mine manager at Khutala and Wolwekrans Colliery and Penumbra Colliery in Mpumalanga, as well as General Manager at the New Clydesdale Colliery, Universal Coal, in the Kriel District. He is the executive partner of Boipelo Mining Contractors and has been Managing Director of the AmandlaTM Group since 2015.

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SHORT COURSES

Short courses presented during the period under review: •

Leadership Development Programme for Executive Leaders, Senior Managers, Junior Managers and Upcoming Managers for Harmony Gold

Course for Managers in Risk Management

Introduction to Functional English in the Workplace

Introduction to Mining

Bow Tie Analysis Master Class

Technical and Operational Surface Mining Excellence

Mine Closure and Land Rehabilitation

Blasting Engineering

HIGHLIGHTS Programme in Technical and Operational Surface Mining Excellence

The Department’s range of short courses, offered through Enterprises University of Pretoria (Enterprises UP), not only contributes to its third-stream income activities, but also elevates its standing in the mining industry. They make the Department’s expertise available to members of industry to achieve skills development and capacity building, and enable the mining sector to become more effective in the development of smart, long-lasting solutions for society. Despite the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 restrictions, the Department still managed to deliver several successful short courses during the period under review, several of which could be delivered via online sessions or blended learning.

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

This short course is presented over a ten-month period. It provides the technical knowledge that will enable delegates to become effective, value-driven managers at a surface mine. It is well received by industry as can be seen by the growth in the number of delegates and the feedback received from mining companies. The first course was presented in 2019 with 18 delegates. In 2020, the class grew to 33 delegates, and during the year under review, it rose to 38 with a good mix of male and female delegates, comprising mining professionals at all levels of mine management, as well as some delegates from industries related to mining. The classes are presented by industry specialists Johann Hager and Henk Fourie. Programme in Blasting Engineering This programme is currently in its seventh year. After a promising start during 2020, the presentation of contact lectures was forced to an abrupt halt. However, the presenters continued with online sessions on a virtual platform. Towards the end of the programme all the delegates were able to come together again for the remaining two modules. A total of 31 delegates successfully completed the programme. In 2021 a large number of 63 delegates registered for the programme, where they came together once a month for a contact session, maintaining all the COVID-19 protocols. Delegates came from as far as the Northern Cape, the Free State, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Several explosive supplier companies, mining companies, contractors and individuals attended the programme. It has been well accepted and supported by the explosives and mining industries. Harmony Leadership Development Programme This programme was initiated in October 2017. To date, the Department, under the leadership and guidance of Dr Johann Uys and Prof Ronny Webber-Youngman, has been involved in the training of 569 employees of the Harmony leadership group. This is made up of 386 junior emerging leaders, 145 senior management leaders and 38 executive leaders. It forms part of a three-year contractual agreement with Harmony Gold. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the training that was possible in 2020 due to social distancing and other regulation restrictions. The training restarted in 2021 with all courses adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols. The support and involvement of the Harmony Gold Executive is acknowledged and highly appreciated.

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ANNUAL REVIEW 2020/21


PARTNERS INDUSTRY PARTNERS

Intelligent Blasting

African Rainbow Minerals (ARM)

AEL Intelligent Blasting

Caledonia Mining Corporation

I-CAT Environmental Solutions

Newrak Mining

RPMGlobal

Rainbow Reservoirs

South 32

UNIVERSITIES

Clausthal University of Technology

Glencore

Kumba Iron Ore: Anglo American

Minxcon Mining and Exploration Consultants

Minerals Education Trust Fund

Sasol

DeNet South Africa

Gigajoule Group

Krypton Mining

Petra Diamonds

Anglo American

De Beers Group of Companies

Excavo Mining (Pty) Ltd

INSA Coal Holdings

Minerals Council South Africa

New Mining Conceptrs

AfriSam

CCS Mining & Industrial

Enprotec

Dust-A-Side

Maptek

Exxaro

Harmony Gold

Msobo Coal

Ukwazi

Murray & Roberts

Redpath Mining Contractors and Engineers

VBKOM

GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS

Department of Mineral Resources

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

Mine Health and Safety Council

Mining Qualifications Authority

SCIENCE COUNCILS

Association of Mine Managers South Africa

Engineering Council of South Africa

South African Colliery Managers’ Association

Council for Geoscience

Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

South African National Institute of Rock Mining

The Mine Ventilation Society of South Africa

CSIR Mining Precinct

DEPARTMENT OF MINING ENGINEERING

DRA Global

Mapondo Tanks (Pty) Ltd

REC Services (Pty) Ltd

Stefanutti Stocks

Assmang (Pty) Ltd

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Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

MINTEK

ANNUAL REVIEW 2020/21


Mining Engineering at University of Pretoria Department of Mining Engineering, University of Pretoria

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#UPMiningMatters #60YearsUPMining Department website http://www.up.ac.za/mining-engineering Enquiries Ms Abea Kgatshe Tel: +27 (0) 12 420 3763 Email: abea.kgatshe@up.ac.za

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