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Innovation future of mining industry- experts

Publishing Date : 14 August, 2018

Author : REARABILWE RAMAPHANE

In the wake of diminishing confidence and uncertainties in the mining industry due to its increasing complexity, and hike in expenses as well as unexpected decline in some commodity prices from time to time, the sector continues to introspect, and reenergize itself with new ways of doing business and innovative techniques to stay relevant. 


Debswana Diamond Company , Botswana ‘s premier  mining outfit , Its parent companies, De Beers and Anglo American , gathered industry experts in the areas of metallurgy   and mineral processing in Kasane last  week to discuss  current and future technologies , opportunities and challenges in the field of mineral processing.  The Debswana Metallurgical Conference convened professionals from Botswana, Canada, South Africa, and Namibia to deliberate on ways to improve mineral processing.


The conference saw leading metallurgy specialists engage to facilitate shared insights, dialogue, and planning towards an even stronger metallurgical discipline under the theme: “Chemical Reaction and Physical Attraction which delivers future mineral processing plants”.
Topics discussed include amongst others; processes improvement through technology, innovation and development with Debswana Technology partners such as Schneider Electric and Siemens as well as experts from the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BUIST).


Guest Speaker at the conference, Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Chamber of Mines, Charles Siwawa challenged metallurgists attending the Conference to be innovative in the development of mining and mineral processing solutions for the future.  Some of the future challenges he highlighted includes increasing costs, aging assets, increasing mining complexity, and water and power challenges.


“Innovation and step-change requires bold aspirations and bold action. As they say, be bold and great and mighty forces will come to your aid.’ We must speak into action what we want to see and do,” he said. Debswana state that the annual conference is testament to the fact that metallurgists are actively seeking innovative ways to collaborate and improve their craft.


“The purpose of the conference is aligned to Botswana’s Vision 2036, which sees innovation at the core and which is a key part of the Nation’s blueprint towards a more prosperous future. It is aligned with the future business of Debswana which seeks to be driven by research and development.” reads a statement from the company.  Edwin Elias, Head of Ore Processing at Debswana noted that the conference was successful with a lot of output in the form of shared thinking and learning.


“It is not often metallurgists across the different businesses have an opportunity to discuss innovative means and future technological needs that will improve the overall productivity of their respective businesses,” his said. Elias highlighted that Debswana yearned for mineral processing plants that address future challenges and leverage technological opportunities.


“This conference was our opportunity to learn and develop robust plans and relationships that advance our discipline. It has been a privilege as Debswana to host the 2018 edition of the Conference,” observed Elias. Some of the key sentiments shared at the conference include the fact that future technological needs have to take into consideration the main challenges that come with the next horizon.
 
These are: increasing costs, aging assets, the quest for large stones as a niche, increasing mining complexity, increasing water and energy requirements, and external market challenges as well mine closure legal requirements.  Metallurgy refers to commercial methods that concern the chemical, physical, and atomic properties and structures of metals. The discipline further explores the principles whereby metals are combined to form alloys, and thus is central to the mining process.


The 2018 Metallurgical Conference brought together Metallurgical Technical teams, their leadership and Strategic Partners around the globe to engage on various areas. Some of the key areas discussed during the conference include: Gender Diversity, Technology and Innovation; and Business Improvement amongst others

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