The University of Pretoria (UP) has announced it will host the South African Mining Extraction, Research, Development and Innovation (SAMREDI) Research Centre for Mechanised Mining Systems to improve data collection and equipment performance.
The announcement comes following approval by the Mandela Mining Precinct (MMP), an initiative of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and the Minerals Council of South Africa.
The MMP was launched in 2018 to help the mining industry to become a driver for technology and manufacturing capabilities worldwide, as well as economic development.
The SAMREDI initiative is designed to modernise the mining industry in South Africa. Funding from the DSI, four SAMERDI research centres are being established with various universities and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
According to Professor Francois Malan, head of the Mining Resilience Research Centre at UP, the university has been working with the universities of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research for several years as part of the SAMREDI initiative.
"The strategy focuses on research into innovative mining methods and capacity building by training the new generation of mining researchers," Malan said.
The MMP is being implemented through five thematic applied research focus areas: the longevity of current mines, mechanised mining systems, advanced orebody knowledge, real-time information management systems, and the successful application of technology centred on people.
The new research centre will establish expertise in automated condition and performance assessment of rock and equipment from the parameters obtained during drilling and blasting operations.
Malan said more data could be obtained from the behaviour of rock mass behaviour, which would allow designs to be adapted if a harder or softer rock mass is encountered in different areas.