Sibanye has partnered with the University of Johannesburg (UJ) to integrate mining education with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Sibanye will inject R15 million into the University’s mining engineering faculty over the next three years (R5 million each year: 2017 – 2019).
Sibanye’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Neal Froneman, said that although the primary aim of the investment is to provide high-quality teaching and learning, increased research and innovation intensity, and capital investment into facility expansion and maintenance, Sibanye also appreciates that a portion of the investment will be aimed at improving the lives of students via bursaries. Sibanye’s core purpose is that it’s mining improves lives, Froneman said.
The investment will be used to set up mining emulation infrastructure at the University’s Department of Mining Engineering and Mine Surveying at its Doornfontein Campus. The emulation, combined with virtual and real-life communication, will enable students to have an immersive learning experience and bring together multiple disciplines to advance teaching and research in the sector.
Speaking at an event for the handover of the investment, UJ’s Vice-Chancellor Designate, Prof Tshilidzi Marwala stated that the emulation could, for example explore the use of power-line communication (PLC) to integrate LEDs that could be used for communication, virtualisation, and determining where and when accidents could occur, using techniques such as pattern recognition or artificial intelligence. He pointed out that this component brings “real-life” into the cyber world and allows students to directly and practically integrate with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Prof Marwala emphasised that Sibanye’s contribution is an investment in the future of mining.
“The mine emulation will enable us to develop engineering education strategies to enhance undergraduate exposure and employability in mining specific areas. Only through partners like Sibanye can we adopt and adapt the Fourth Industrial Revolution into the mining sector and ensure our students will be work-ready and equipped when they transition from UJ into the world of work.” said Prof Marwala.
Sibanye’s newest investment of R15 million follows a previous investment by the mining house of R12.5 million paid over three years, towards UJ’s Doornfontein campus redevelopment project from September 2014 to 2016.