A short CPD course on the Prediction of Acid Rock Drainage was convened by MtM on 21 November 2014. It was attended by 21 academics and students from three different South African universities, and was presented by a team of international experts, comprising Professor Lottermoser from the University of Exeter in the UK and Drs Anita Parbhakar-Fox and Julie Hunt from the University of Tasmania in Australia.
This course exposed participants to an integrated application of analytical tools and protocols for better ARD risk assessments and highlighted the importance of pursuing integrated analyses of processed ore and wastes so that they can be effectively managed throughout the mine life and beyond.
Associate Professor Jenny Broadhurst also participated in the International Alliance of Research Universities’ Global Summer School 2016 on Sustainable Water Management in Africa, convened by UCT’s new inter-disciplinary institute on Future Water. Lecture sessions focused on mine water in the context of socio-cultural relations, treatment approaches, the circular economy and wicked problems.
Professor Markus Reuter (Helmholtz Institute Freiberg) delivered a short course on Circular Economy Engineering and demonstrated the capacity and versatility of the HSC Chemistry software for modelling different circuits.
Part of the strategy of MtM is to develop and deliver additional CPD courses to further develop human capacity within the context of the sustainable development of Africa’s mineral resources.
Delegates representing a variety of disciplines, ages, nationalities (including four different continents) and experience were all challenged to engage with process mineralogy from a ‘new perspective’ on the CPD Process Mineralogy short course from 24-27 November 2015. In the delegates’ own words, they described the course as: ‘encouraging learning’, ‘being stretched out of my comfort zone’, ‘the importance of team work’,‘real learning in practical applications’ and ‘a privilege to be part of’.
The course is a unique problem-based learning experience facilitated by Dr Megan Becker and Professor Dee Bradshaw. The course includes various interactive discussions; physical identification of rocks and minerals; working with, reporting, and presenting process mineralogy data; in addition to traditional lectures. The course culminated in a final session facilitated by Adj/Prof Robert Schouwstra, on ‘Where to now, armed with process mineralogy?
National Hydrometallurgy Initiative
During 2012, MtM was contracted by Anglo American to undertake a review of hydrometallurgical research activities in South Africa, in response to a growing concern regarding the decline in the expertise and capability in this area. Professor Mike Nicol of Murdoch University in Australia was invited to execute this project: from a base in the Chemical Engineering Department at UCT, he visited several universities to have discussions with the staff and students, and met with Mintek and industry representatives involved in hydrometallurgical processing. He also completed a benchmarking exercise comparing local activities with those of major players in hydrometallurgical research in other Western countries. Largely on the basis of the responses of the industry representatives, a number of specific short term projects and longer term areas for research were identified, some of which have been submitted as proposals to SAMMRI (and have received funding).
The second part of this initiative was the holding of a workshop and seminar in Cape Town in August 2012, attended by some 30 postgraduate students from six South African universities, at which Professor Nicol presented a short course on the fundamentals of hydrometallurgy and a selected number of students made presentations on their research. Feedback from both the students and staff was very positive, and MtM hosted Prof Mike Nicol in the Department of Chemical Engineering twice a year for three weeks in 2013 and 2014, and arranged for him to present similar short courses and host student seminars in August of those years, with financial assistance from Anglo American and SAMMRI.
During his visits, Prof Nicol provided expert advice in electrochemistry to PhD students Thandazile Moyo (MtM) and Margreth Tadie (CMR), and contributed significantly to the development of the skills and expertise in this field in the Department. It is also gratifying to note that the number of post-graduate research projects supported by SAMMRI in the area of hydrometallurgy has been increasing in recent years.
Developed by the South African partners led by UCT. This is under development.
G-MRIM Safety Programme
As part of a worldwide initiative encompassing nine top universities in South Africa, Australia, Chile, Brazil, the USA, Canada and England, MtM has been involved since 2008 in delivering a safety risk management course to mining company managers and senior personnel, aimed at reducing the number of accidents and fatalities that occur in mining. The course was developed by Professor Jim Joy of the University of Queensland, and delivered for UCT by eight carefully selected non-GOB staff (mostly engineers with extensive managerial and operational experience in the mining industry), who were specifically trained to present this course. The course was originally developed for Anglo American, who then made it available to other mining companies through the Global Mineral Industry Risk Management program (G-MIRM). The course is offered as a Continuing Professional Development course within the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, and was presented around 12 to 15 times per year between 2008 and 2014, to approximately 1500 attendees in all. As a direct result of presenting this course, a programme of research into mining accident causality was initiated within MtM, with the first Master’s degree awarded in 2013. Over the years, the course was modified for Anglo American to include health and environmental risk, and operational risk, but was suspended in mid-2014 as a result of the Global Financial Crisis. The future of this initiative is under discussion; it is envisaged that sustainability principles will be included into the risk assessment, with material being developed by the South African partners led by UCT. This is under development