The future of mining industry is a business of billions. It is also ultimately about the people who will make up the mining community years from now – though both are crucial to the sector’s future.
This was the sentiment of Mr Mike Teke, Chair of Council at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), during a virtual assembly that explored the Mining industry. The occasion was held under the theme ‘The Future of Mining. “A central element of mining’s future is technology, be it those ideas which keep miners safe or keep mining equipment moving in the most optimised manner. Mining creates development and deep poverty at the same time and this game has changed – it has created modernity.”
The event put a spotlight on female participation across various aspects of the mining industry. His speech delved on reimagining mining at a gender diversity ratio with women leading top positions. “We are trying our best to eliminate discrimination as this industry was known to be male dominant, Mr Teke explained.
Speakers at the assembly included: UJ Vice-Chancellor & Principal, Prof Tshilidzi Marwala; President of Convocation, Prof Boitumelo Diale; Exco member of Convocation, Ms Confidence Tshilande; Head of Department: Mining and Mine Surveying, Prof Hendrik Grobler and Executive Dean: Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment, Prof Daniel Mashao.
As a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Seriti Resources, Mr Teke emphasised that it was important that men were included in conversations concerning women in the mining industry. “Mining enabled discrimination and unity at the same time. We need our male colleagues to actively understand the need for change.” he elaborated.
In order to advance the natural resources and mining industries a focus on sustainable and socially responsible solutions is required. Even before COVID-19, new technologies were changing the mining industry. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, cheap sensors, automation, drones, and digitization of operations mean that new mines look very little like traditional ones.