Mining Resilience Research Centre established at the University of Pretoria

Posted on July 19, 2016

A Mining Resilience Research Centre (MRRC) has been established at the University of Pretoria (UP). The Centre will focus on conducting multi-disciplinary research activities within the mining industry and developing lasting partnerships with leading international research and academic institutions.

Prof Jan du Plessis, Sasol Chair in Health, Safety and Environment in the Department of Mining Engineering at UP, says that although mining faces severe challenges under the current economic conditions, it remains an important sector for growth and transformation in Africa. 'Issues around legacy, responsibility, impact and innovation need to be addressed in order to achieve a resilient mining industry in Africa. At the heart of any strategy to achieve resilience in African mining lies the requirement that mining leaders of the future exhibit appropriate knowledge, capability, attitude and behaviour. The establishment of the MRRC is the result of extensive consultation with industry and the main aim of this Centre is to provide  modern approaches, world class facilities and globally relevant topics, making it possible for researchers to excel and for the industry to build capacity,' says Prof Du Plessis.

According to the World Bank, Africa is home to about 30% of the world's mineral reserves, 10% of its oil, and 8% of its natural gas. South Africa's mining industry is responsible for an estimated 19% of the country's total economic activity and supports at least another 25% of upstream and downstream economic activities. Despite its considerable wealth in this regard, the continent is plagued by poverty, social inequality, and slow economic development. However, mining remains a key driver for growth and is inextricably linked to Africa's future. With mining comes employment and skills development, investment in education, the construction of infrastructure and the generation of much-needed revenue.

The MRRC is establishing multidisciplinary collaborations that will address, among other things:

  • the future of mining education, with the aim of co-creating, developing and adopting a Resilient African Mining Model as the blueprint for mine designs of the future;
  • future technologies including mechanised mining, automation, robotics and the workplace order and culture associated with these developments;
  • future socio-economic aspects of mining, including how empowered, technologically enabled and educated communities relate to mining operations; and
  • the standard of mining governance in Africa and how it can be improved for the future.

The MRRC currently facilitates collaboration among the faculties of Humanities, Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Economic and Management Sciences, Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology, and Law. It is intended that more UP faculties will eventually become involved in the MRRC's activities, making it a fully interdisciplinary mining research centre. The MRRC is currently conducting six research projects in Engineering, Built Environment and Humanities.

As part of the Centre's strategic intent, it will continue to form partnerships with leading international and local universities. This will include student and lecturer exchanges, joint research activities and opportunities for postgraduate studies in various speciality fields.


- Author Liesel Swart

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences