The African Development Bank, headquartered in Abidjan, has made a R 4,2 million grant from its Middle Income Country Technical Assistant fund to the South African government, for a UCT-led operation to develop skills and knowledge on the tricky questions of mining and sustainable development. The aim is to help turn the minerals extraction and beneficiation industries into a force for sustainable development in the country, and ultimately on the continent.
South Africa’s minerals industry has a critical role in the sustainable or unsustainable development of the country. Historically, this industry colluded with the Apartheid state, exploited workers and impacted negatively on environments on which communities depended for their livelihoods. Today, the sector is regulated under modern mining and environmental laws. But industry, government and impacted communities need management and leaders with new skills sets to operate within these laws, and turn potential wealth into a positive force for development.
This is where UCT’s interdisciplinary M.Phil. programme specialising in sustainable mineral resource development, running since 2014, comes into play. The grant makes use of the infrastructure established by the programme, with three distinct goals: 1) enabling more candidates to attend the programme’s short courses; 2) funding internships to support capacity-building through acquisition of field and practical knowledge; 3) generating knowledge, though research, on the interpretation of the sustainable development goals in the minerals industry.