3 November 2009 – Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Derek Hanekom says it is not ANC or government policy to nationalise mines. The minister was speaking at the MINE-Tech International 2009 conference and exhibition in Johannesburg on Tuesday where he was the keynote speaker.
While the global mining industry has not been immune to the worldwide recession, the sector is already in an upswing and many mining houses are looking are looking at recent advances in technology to help them address the myriad challenges they face. MINE-Tech International 2009 assembles the foremost researchers, major and junior mining houses, and solution providers to the mining community, and showcases the latest technological advances and key global trends now available to the industry.
During his keynote address on “The role of technology, innovation and human resource development in the mining sector”, the Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Derek Hanekom said imaginative and innovative, more and better technology, was key to the long-term profitability and sustainability of the sector.
“To a very large extent, the mining sector has driven the technological development of South Africa over the last century, with advances achieved mostly through government and industry-supported research programmes. Regrettably, most of these research facilities have closed over the past 30 years, as have many similar research facilities around the world. As a result, the current South African expenditure on research and development in the mining sector is minimal. In 2006/07 figures the proportion of GDP spent on primary mining and minerals processing research was 0,06%. In the same year, Australia’s expenditure on mining research and development was 0,32% of GDP”, according to the Deputy Minister.
Says Mr Hanekom: “that is particularly important since we are now confronted by a situation in which the expansion and consolidation of high-level engineering and scientific competence within the mining terrain is urgently required. Closing the doors of research laboratories has aggravated the problem, placing a number of young scientists in a vulnerable position. The Department of Science and Technology’s Ten Year Innovation Plan sees the increase of human capital as a key action and driver in our planned transition from a resource-based economy to a knowledge based economy. We cannot afford for our best players to be off the pitch.”
To access the minister’s speech, click here.