The MtM Forum is an important part of the institutional culture of Minerals to Metals. It has been a space where MtM students and staff can engage with the complexity of just what “building a platform for sustainable development in Africa through mining and metals” represents. More broadly it is a space somewhat different from the traditional academic seminar – it is a space where ideas meet in the interest of communication, understanding and the development of personal skills of a non-technical nature.
The forum takes place during the lunch hour on a Thursday where guests can enjoy good coffee, or tea, and rich conversation. Although we strive to host a forum every week, this is not always possible. Guests are notified of the next forum date via email - click here to join our mailing list . All are welcome!
The format of the forum is one where a presenter(s) presents on a topic relating to the various themes including the mining industry, sustainability, ethics and more. Below is a list of past forum topics and speakers, to give you an idea of topics covered. If you would like to suggest a topic or speaker, please send the forum team an email. forum email address
|21 November 2019||
Speaker: Nikki LaBranche - (The University of Queensland)
While there already exists a substantial body of knowledge on particulate matter and its impacts upon human health, it is also clear that there are major gaps in our understanding. After the ‘resurgence’ of coal workers pneumoconiosis (CWP) in Queensland, Australia, much work has been done to improve exposure monitoring and health surveillance in coal miners. As a result of this it has been recognized that it is not adequate to talk about particulate matter in general terms as both size and chemical content can affect the potential adverse consequences of excessive exposure. A broader look is required into inspirable dusts, respirable dusts, fine particles and ultrafine particles and the growing awareness of the contribution of silica to respiratory disease.
|14 November 2019||
Speakers: Professor Hannah Le Roux and Malaki Filliano, Wits University: School of Architecture and Planning
The question of township afterlives is central to re-imagining a post-mining world. Following a collaborative studio in 2014 between the Masters courses from KU Leuven and Wits University that proposed a strategic rethinking of the Rand region, including elements beyond bio-chemical remediation, a first project has taken this thinking to a detailed level. In his 2017 Masters of Architecture, Malaki Filiano has elaborated on the strategies of channeling acid mine drainage (AMD) through constructed wetlands, re-purposing infrastructures and reconnecting the fragmented urban fabrics of townships and towns across the blighted mining belt. His original contribution was to design these spatial interventions around industrial hemp as raw material for beneficiation in the surrounding industrial areas, creating new opportunities for employment and small scale or collaborative agriculture while remediating the toxicity of the landscape.
|31 October 2019||
CONCEPTUALISING A FIBROUS FUTURE INITIATIVE
Speakers: Aysha Lotter and Tapiwa Chimbganda
Fibrous plants (such as bamboo) can be used to transform degraded (mine waste) land into a restorative agricultural sector and a dynamic manufacturing sector which provides employment opportunities, inclusive socio-economic growth and poverty reduction in mining communities beyond the life-of-mine.
In this forum session, Aysha and Tapiwa will present aspects of the work done in the community of practice 'Resilient Futures', a larger interdisciplinary project focused on developing a fibre micro-industry to generate post-mining economic growth from degraded land. The forum will focus on the negotiations between various stakeholders. The presentation will build a fictional scenario based on an end-of-life mine looking to engage in a fibrous future initiative. The discussion will follow based on issues identified in the presentation.
|24 October 2019||
Sustainability reporting is a practice that ought to be a key communication channel with stakeholders, driving increased organisational accountability and transparency. However, the functionality and effectiveness of sustainability reports are affected by quality issues, resulting from the voluntary nature of reporting as well as the proliferation of standards.
In this forum technical session, David will present aspects of his work on stakeholders’ perceptions of the functionality and quality of sustainability reporting in the South African mining industry.
|17 October 2019||
Considering mining in Africa
In the first week of a new forum cycle we will take a look at the sometimes complex interplay between regulation and mining industry-led best practice guidelines – with a focus on how this manifests in Africa.
The aim of the session is to provide some background and context to this issue, leading into a framework for understanding some of its dimensions. We will consider examples ranging from historical disasters, to the state of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. We hope this will set the scene for a robust discussion and broadening of perspectives.
|10 October 2019||NO FORUM|
|03 October 2019||
Conversation with Richard Pakleppa
In previous forum sessions we completed the viewing of the documentary Dying for Gold. In this week’s session we will be joined by one of the directors of the film, Richard Pakleppa. Richard has directed and produced documentaries and fiction films in Southern Africa since 1990. His work has been screened at international film festivals and broadcast in many countries.
He will share his experiences and stories encountered whilst making the film. For those who did not have the opportunity to watch the full movie or one of the parts, to summarize:
The documentary explores the numerous ways in which the gold mining industry was a key force in shaping South Africa. In the first screening of Dying for Gold we engaged with the first part of the documentary which explored the impacts of the growth of the gold industry on migrant labour and rural communities in Southern Africa. In the second screening we engaged with the next segment of the documentary which continues to follow silicosis cases and the ramifications on communities.
|26 September 2019||
Sulfur and oxygen isotopes implications for ARD-related processes at a South African colliery
|19 September 2019||
Role play about circular: The case of waste management
|29 August 2019||
In this forum, we will continue screening the documentary Dying for Gold directed by Richard Pakleppa and Catherine Meyburgh. The documentary explores the numerous ways in which the gold mining industry was a key force in shaping South Africa. This forum session will be the second of a three-part forum series, in the first we engaged with the first part of the documentary which explored the impacts of the growth of the gold industry on migrant labour and rural communities in Southern Africa. In this second screening of Dying for Gold we will engage with the next segment of the documentary which continues to follow silicosis cases and the ramifications on communities. For the third session we will be joined by one of the directors of the documentary.
|22 August 2019||
In this forum, we will be screening the documentary Dying for Gold directed by Richard Pakleppa and Catherine Meyburgh. The documentary explores the numerous ways in which the gold mining industry was a key force in shaping South Africa. Through testimonies from communities in mining families throughout Southern Africa and extensive use of contrasting archive materials the documentary shows the impact the industry has had on rural communities. This forum session will be the first of a 3 part forum series, in which for the first two sessions we will engage with segments of the documentary and in the third session we will be joined by one of the directors of the documentary.
|15 August 2019||Forum postponed due to speaker cancellation.|
08 August 2019
Thabani Mlilo - Head of Sustainability at Anglo American Platinum
In this forum, we are joined by Thabani Mlilo, the Head of Sustainability at Anglo American Platinum, who will be giving a talk on leadership and sustainability in the mining industry. He will share the organisational challenges of embedding the Anglo American Sustainable Mining Plan which outlines a series of goals across three major areas – the environment, community development, and driving greater trust and transparency (see attached abstract).
Thabani has extensive experience in community relations, environment, health and safety and climate change. He served as a Senior Scientist at Sasol in South Africa for 4 years before transitioning into environmental consulting at ERM in Houston, Texas. On his return to South Africa he served as a Manager at PwC responsible for Climate Change services and Sustainability Assurance within the Governance and Sustainability group before joining AngloGold Ashanti where he served as the Environment and Community Manager for 7 years. He is currently the Head of Sustainability at Anglo American Platinum where he is leading the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the organisation’s sustainability strategy.
|01 August 2019||
Professor Miao Chen and
In this forum, we are joined by visiting researchers from CSIRO and RMIT University. Professor Miao Chen is a Senior Principal Research Scientist, OCE Science Leader at CSIRO Mineral Resources and leads a multidisciplinary team which focuses on the development of robust chemical sensors for in situ and on line monitoring mineral processing and mining site environment. Dr Chen is also a Professor at the School of Chemistry, at RMIT university and has developed a keen interest in the area of the fundamental issues related to low grade ore processing and resource recovery from mine waste and mining site environmental remediation. For the Minerals to Metals forum, Professor Miao Chen’s presentation will be on the Electrochemical study of sulphide minerals during leaching.
Xiyu Gao is a visiting PhD student from RMIT University, under Professor Chen’s supervision, and will give a background of her work on the Investigation of the effects of chloride ions on the dissolution of sulphide minerals.
|25 July 2019||
Xihluke Mabasa & Tapiwa Chimbganda
The Resilient Futures Community of Practice project, which is a multi-disciplinary project bringing together research from Minerals to Metals, the Centre for Bio-processing engineering, Mineral Law in Africa and the Development Policy Research unit, is currently investigating the potential for fibre-rich crops to transform post-mining land into a restorative agricultural economy. Fibre-rich plants, such as hemp and bamboo, have the potential to remediate land and create a post-mining economy through multi-product value chains.
In this forum, Xihluke and Tapiwa will present an overview of CeBER and Minerals to Metals work on fibre crop cultivation and multi-product value chains for post-mining industrial development, respectively, as part of their work on the Resilient Futures Community of Practice project. Xihluke is currently doing his MPhil on the remediation of mine land through fibre-rich crops and Tapiwa is doing her PhD on an integrated approach for the transformation of post-mining land use.
|18 July 2019||
Adjunct Professor Michael Solomon
In the last months we have seen significant news updates on mines closing. How do you plan for a post-mining economy? This week we will be joined by Prof. Mike Solomon, who will talk us through a case study on post-mining economic succession planning.
Prof. Solomon has 36 years’ experience as a mining engineer in the gold, platinum, diamond and coal sectors. He sits on the council of the SAIMM and is the chairman of its Mineral Economic Division, amongst numerous previous roles in the mining and minerals sector
|13 June 2019||
In this forum, Nicole will discuss three zinc sulphide processing operations: Trail (British Columbia, Canada), Flin Flon (Manitoba, Canada) and Mount Isa (Queensland, Australia).
The reasons for the initial design choices and any proposed or implemented design changes will be discussed in terms of techno-economic and environmental considerations.
The focus is on the commodity zinc, due to its strategic value coupled with a limited resource availability and the wide variety of substantially different process technologies in existence. Nicole is a PhD candidate within MtM.
|06 June 2019||
Remembering Dee's Legacy: One Year On
We would like to mark one year since Dee passed on with a special Forum this week. We would like to invite everyone to share how they have bridged the "Liminal Space" over the last year and how they are taking Dee's legacy forward by keeping the "Living Gold" shining.
|30 May 2019||
Chad Naude & Sfiso Mkhize
Rare earth elements (REEs) are essential ingredients for the high-tech industry, especially in the manufacture of permanent magnets, laser and optical devices, and chemical catalysts. Due to export restrictions imposed by the Chinese government, REEs are classified as critical and strategic metals.
In this forum, Chad and Sfiso will present on the evolution of REEs and review the complex geopolitics surrounding their processing and production. Both Chad and Sfiso are currently doing their MSc degrees on REEs within MtM.
|23 May 2019||
Prof Catherina Schenck
Professor Catherina Schenck of the University of the Western Cape's Social Work Department, is the South African Research Chair in Waste and Society. The Chair is one of South Africa's first ever research chairs on waste management, aimed at transforming the sector while contributing to the country's socio-economic development. Prof Schenck has been working with Minerals to Metals, particularly regarding urban mining and the electronic waste research projects.
In the presentation Prof Schenck will provide an overview of the focus of the Research Chair and stimulating interdisciplinary and inter institutional research on (1) opportunities to create jobs and improve livelihoods through the transition away from landfilling in South Africa; (2) business models to support a secondary resources economy, (3) required behaviour change to drive the transition away from landfilling.
|16 May 2019||
The Forum is about to start a new theme exploring mineral value chains and strategic metals.
We will begin with a brief technical talk from Reuben Dlamini who will update us on his MPhil research, after which we will branch out into a broader discussion.
04 April 2019
Brian Chicksen (VP Sustainability for AngloGold Ashanti)
Sustainable development has become somewhat of a buzzword in both industry and research. How companies approach and work towards achieving sustainable development is not widely publicised, and how they then measure their success in this is not obvious. Join us this week as Brian Chicksen discusses AngloGold Ashanti’s approach to sustainable development.
Brian currently holds the role of VP Sustainability for AngloGold Ashanti responsible for design of the Group sustainable development strategic framework, supporting its integration into the business and assisting disciplines in the sustainable development portfolio with its translation into discipline strategies. He holds an appointment as Adjunct Professor with UCT, and is a non-executive director of AngloGold Ashanti Health and the Global Compact Network South Africa.
|28 March 2019||
Prof. Harro von Blottnitz
With terms like “zero waste”, “clean energy” and “sustainability” becoming common parts of the wider discourse, it is worth discussing the value of some of these. To what extent do the semantics and divergent definitions of such words influence their use? In this week’s forum we will discuss the term “zero waste”, examining it from the perspective of thermodynamics in the context of open and dissipative systems.
Harro is a lecturer and researcher with the Department of Chemical Engineering at UCT. His academic interests span a number of sustainable development issues within the fields of systems analysis, renewable fuels as well as waste management and sustainable consumption.
|14 March 2019||
Dr Elisee Isheloke
In this session he will be discussing one of the projects running in his postdoc fellowship, titled: “An investigation into the impact of, and the challenges towards, regional mineral beneficiation policy interventions: a SADC perspective”. The project itself builds up from his PhD which investigated the effects of BRICS partnership on mineral beneficiation in South Africa.
The project is still in its early stages and Elisee would like to spark some discussion within our team to hopefully help build the picture
|07 March 2019
Dr Theo Hacking
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are receiving increasing attention in the private sector, and initiatives are underway to develop processes and tools that can enhance the contribution by business operations to their attainment. Efforts in relation to capital projects are lagging somewhat, and it is not yet commonplace to structure impact assessments, such as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), to support the SDGs explicitly.
If the SDGs are accepted as setting the sustainability agenda, and the aim of impact assessment is to direct decision making towards sustainability, then it would seem natural to seek to align this commonality of purpose. There has been progress towards this by extending the thematic coverage of impact assessments beyond purely environmental/biophysical issues. Amongst the key challenges remaining are how to address trade-offs and how to connect the global-level SDGs to the local-level where projects are considered.
Dr Hacking is the Director of Graduate Education at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership – please join us as he takes us through these challenges, particularly in terms of the gap that still exists between theory and practice.
|07 February 2019||
Professor Jack Gillies
|29 November 2018||
Adjunct Professor Michael Solomon
In the last few weeks we have seen significant court rulings concerning land and mining rights, namely involving the communities in Bakgatla, Mabola and Xolobeni. This week we will be joined by Prof. Mike Solomon, who will talk us through the industry perspective and potential implications of these rulings.
Prof. Solomon has 36 years’ experience as a mining engineer in the gold, platinum, diamond and coal sectors. He sits on the council of the SAIMM and is the chairman of its Mineral Economic Division, amongst numerous previous roles in the mining and minerals sector.
See link to an article covering the recent Xolobeni ruling: xolobeni-judgment-is-vital-to-land-debate-20181124
|22 November 2018||
The future of mining in South Africa
This Thursday we will be showcasing a video broadcasted by Aljazeera on the issues surrounding mining companies in South Africa as well as addressing their intended plans to cut thousands of jobs in accordance to low commodity prices and high production costs. Consequently, this has the potential to be crippling for a large component of the working class as the country is currently struggling with the high unemployment rates.
The video includes panel discussions represented by Senior research fellow at the Trade collective-Lebohang Pheko; Deputy general secretary at the South African Federation of Trade Unions and Ralph Mathekga-Researcher and lecturer at the University of the Western Cape.
|15 November 2018||
A presentation on presenting
In the transformative space of today, effective communication is increasingly becoming a vital skill. This “soft skill” however is often de-prioritised in favour of technical proficiency and therefore remains underdeveloped. This week’s forum underlines the importance of effective communication skills in both the personal and professional spaces and outlines the benefits of developing these skills through an educational program such as Toastmasters International.
Toastmasters International is an organisation aimed at the development of communication and leadership skills in an encouraging and constructive environment. The resulting skillset facilitates the development of professionals who are better equipped to lead and communicate in the challenging space of our transforming and transformational society.
|8 November 2018||
Outlooks following the Maledu judgement
A recent judgement of the Constitutional Court sets an important precedent in the context of community consent to mining operations, and what this means against the tapestry of South Africa’s disparate forms of land ownership and title security. This forum session will highlight and explain a few key pieces of the judgement, with the aim to generate discussion on the implications of these for the mining industry and the communities it so often affects.
We would like to thank the Land & Accountability Research Centre (LARC) for providing the attached document titled" "The problem with the Traditional and Khoi San Leadership Bill (TKLB) as illustrated by the Maledu Constitutional Court judgment". This document was provided by Dr Aninka Claassens of LARC and provides valuable insight into this topic.
|27 September 2018||
The MtM Forum team invites you to join us this week for an informative and interactive session on Toastmasters International which will be hosted by members of the UCT Toastmasters Club. Toastmasters is an international organisation aimed at providing an encouraging and constructive environment where members may practise their communication and leadership skills and learn from one another. The skills set nurtured in the Toastmasters space is built on support, empathy and respect which is translatable to the professional and personal spaces. This facilitates the development of 'T-shaped' professionals who are better equipped to lead and communicate within interdisciplinary teams and navigate trans-disciplinary challenges.
|6 September 2018||
case study discussion
The MtM forum team would like to invite you to join a discussion on the some of the aspects of dust from mining activity. The MtM Green Mining Initiative has been an ongoing program of MtM Forum focused on promoting responsible mining practices. This week we continue the theme as we discuss mine dust by looking at a case study regarding the impact mine dust in a residential community.
|30 August 2018||
Future of the forum
The forum team would like to invite you to join in a discussion about the future of the forum itself; Although there appears to be an implicit consensus on the role the forum is intended to play within MtM, this remains somewhat open to interpretation. Indeed, throughout the year there have been a number of questions raised and new ideas proposed along these lines. The session would therefore aim to bring together some of these thoughts and discuss a forward-looking plan.
|23 August 2018||
Following on from the previous Green Mine “brainstorming” session, this week’s session will involve a report back on the synthesised elements from the various group inputs: The forum team would like to use this session to discuss and receive feedback on this synthesis. This will hopefully allow us to improve our picture of what a Green Mine could/should look like, and how MtM sees its projects playing a role in this
|16 August 2018||
Tracing loose threads
Six years after 16 August 2012, the Minerals to Metals forum team would like to invite you to join us in both remembering the tragic events of this day, as well as discussing the fate and trajectories of some of the individuals and groups involved.
What has changed and where are these stakeholders now? The session will start with a short presentation contextualising some of these trajectories, followed by an open discussion.
|2 August 2018||
How can we plan to move beyond the myth?
The beginning of the year saw the launch of the “Green mining beyond the myth” publication. From this, discussions sparked on how we can begin to envisage and integrate the concept throughout the various layers of the mining sector. To follow up from this and maintain the momentum of the discussions we would like to open the forum space to collectively brainstorm green/sustainable mining concepts. The aim of this session will be to draw on the knowledge from all the different projects and people in MtM and/or individuals interested in green mining.
Ultimately, this brainstorming session is planned to help facilitate the conceptualisation of a green mine from many different viewpoints, including environmental, social, economic and technical/technological, to allow for the creation of a wholistic 2D diagram of what a green mine would look like.
|19 July 2018||
The legacy and future of dust from mining in South Africa
South Africa is facing a recent predicament where mining companies are currently being brought to account for their previous impacts of their dust emissions. This has taken the form of a class action lawsuit between known mining companies and generations of workers who have contracted legacy developed respiratory diseases from dust related exposure. The following presentations aim to address both the legacy of South Africa’s major mining industries, as well as possible Engineering solutions to mitigate future dust emissions for the benefit of workers on the mine site, the surrounding community and the environment.
In this session we will be joined by Emeritus Professor at the department of Chemical Engineering CPUT, Eugene Carincross as well as Fanus van Wyk, the Executive Director at Agreenco Group, South Africa. The titles of their presentations are as follows:
|14 June 2018||
With the passing of such a remarkable and loving person as Dee Bradshaw who touched each of us in her own special way – there comes a multitude of new and unfamiliar emotions. This weeks’ Forum focuses on helping us understand and process these emotions.
In honour of her life and her work - particularly her contributions to the UCT community, we would like to reserve some time to commemorate her and comfort one another through this difficult time. This session will be facilitated by Gillian Fowler, a clinical psychologist who will give us some guidance on how to deal with these emotions, answering question such as “What should we expect to feel?” and “How can we deal with these feelings?“. Following this, there will be an opportunity for discussion, which in itself will represent a safe space for individuals to come together and show support for one another.