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  'Working together to promote premier, multi-disciplinary research and development in the area of minerals beneficiation'
New Initiatives and Evolving Research

Projects under development

A partnership to co-develop resilience and innovation for sustainability, which will involve trans-disciplinary research, education and training, and stakeholder and community engagement, is being developed with the sustainability manager for Anglo Gold Ashanti, Dr Brian Chicksen. Prof Dee Bradshaw is coordinating the engagement from UCT which includes the GSB, d-School and MiLA, in addition to MtM.

Attendance at an Australia Africa Universities Network (AAUN) workshop in December 2015, “Mining for a Healthier Community”, led by Dr Helen MacDonald from UCT, indicated that there are a number of inter-connected issues of relevance to mine dust. It was against this background that a multi-disciplinary “Mine Dust Working Group” was established under the auspices of MtM, comprising more than 20 specialists and academics in areas such as immunology, geology, nanoscience, health anthropology, chemical engineering, law, mineralogy, environmental management and control, and occupational health. The inaugural meeting of this group was held in June 2016, followed by a working meeting in July 2016. The primary purpose of these meetings was to develop awareness of current expertise, capabilities and activities; to highlight the key issues; to identify current gaps and deficiencies in terms of dealing with these issues; and to explore opportunities for developing trans-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder approaches and activities going forward. On the basis of these meetings, a framework for trans-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder research in the area of mine dust has been established. A preliminary project aimed at establishing a particle size classification system to support such a framework is being conducted by two 4th year chemical engineering students under the supervision of Dr Rahul Ram and Associate Professor Jenny Broadhurst. Three literature review papers are in preparation, covering aspects of legislation and policy, health anthropology, and the characterisation and management of mine dust. A preliminary meeting with the Wellcome Trust has indicated that the organisation would be keen to consider funding of a trans-disciplinary research thrust in this area.

It is in the arena of evolving research where a number of inter-disciplinary, trans-disciplinary and inter-institutional research themes are being pursued. The research carried out through the MPhil has been particularly instrumental in this. As stated, the growing understanding of the complexity of introducing principles of sustainable development into mining requires a more integrative research approach. Building on a number of seminal projects in the past, MtM aims to grow its research in depth and width. By reaching out to other experts at UCT, it has been possible to enhance existing research in topics like water, dust, waste, recycling and repurposing, amongst others.