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The Fourth Industrial Revolution will not be possible without mining

Posted on September 25, 2019

The Fourth Industrial Revolution will not be possible without mining

With the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and the integration of cyber-physical systems, the internet of things, cloud computing, robotics, artificial intelligence-based systems and additive manufacturing, one must not lose sight of the fact that none of these would be possible without the basic elements that are extracted by the mining industry.

This was the message of Mr Sietse van der Woude, Senior Executive: Modernisation and Safety, of the Minerals Council South Africa, speaking at a public seminar hosted by the University of Pretoria’s Graduate School of Technology Management (GSTM), in collaboration with the Department of Mining Engineering, on 18 September 2019.

The topic of Mr Van der Woude’s presentation was “Challenges in Mining for the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. By asking delegates the simple question: “How many elements are there in your cellphone?”, he emphasised the importance of mining South Africa’s reserves of rare earth elements and other essential metals for the country’s technological development.

He concluded by stressing that the modernisation of the mining industry entails recognising the people who are at the heart of the industry: their skills, their health and safety, their wellbeing and their quality of life. It is only by ensuring that people are included in modernisation that the industry can succeed in growing employment and achieving equity; thereby ensuring sustainable development for the country.

Considering the challenges in mining for the Fourth Industrial Revolution at a public seminar hosted by the Graduate School of Technology Management (GSTM), in collaboration with the Department of Mining Engineering, on 18 September 2019. From left: Prof Elma van der Lingen, Head of Department: Technology Management, Mr Sietse van der Woude, Senior Executive: Modernisation and Safety, Minerals Council South Africa, and Prof Ronny Webber-Youngman, Head of Department: Mining Engineering at the University of Pretoria.

Published by Marlene Mulder

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