Two graduates from the Wits School of Mining Engineering in Johannesburg – Tabotabo Talane and Levine Mnisi – have begun their tenure in the coveted Anglo American Building Leaders and Shaping Talent (BLAST) programme.
Professor Cuthbert Musingwini said, “The School is proud to be associated with the BLAST programme as it is testament to the quality and relevance of our degree programme.
“The opportunity seeks out long term solutions for the mining sector.”
According to Talane, the priority is for management, employees and communities to agree on common goals for the sector.
“They all need to be on the same frequency, and to pull together as a unit,” he said. “If everyone is facing the same way, a spirit of collaboration can prevail, and our decision-making will be more concrete and inclusive. We are still struggling in our mines to get everyone going in the same direction, so our stakeholder engagement must be reinforced.”
He highlighted the need for “a more robust and effective coalition between the mining companies and relevant legislative bodies” – which would lead to more constructive and realistic mining laws and regulations. He also warned of the threat that safety issues pose to the social licence to operate for mining operations, and the need to remove employees from high-risk areas of the mining operation.
“This can be made possible with the implementation of mechanisation and automation,” he said. “I want to be involved in seeing this implementation through, so that new technology to make mining safer and more efficient can be applied to our mines.”
Mnisi agreed, emphasising the vital role that technology adoption will play in the future of mining – especially in narrow-reef underground operations – alongside the continuing development of competent and skilled labour.
“My time on the BLAST programme so far has made me realise that opportunities within mining are vast; we must just apply ourselves, particularly in the field of mechanisation,” he said. “If we do not reinvent ourselves as a mining sector we are going to lose relevance in the future. It is imperative that we take up the baton of automation and run with it.”