http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.04Change: -0.16
R/$ = 12.07Change: -0.10
Au 1204.60 $/ozChange: 1.40
Pt 1170.50 $/ozChange: 4.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters Contact Us
 
 
 
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Jul 20, 2012

Maximum benefit

Back
Engineering|Africa|Building|Education|Export|Flow|Industrial|Mining|Resources|System|Africa|Finland|Germany|South Africa|Sweden|Flow|Minerals Technology|Services|Paul Jourdan|The Engineering News|Minerals Technology
Engineering|Africa|Building|Education|Export|Flow|Industrial|Mining|Resources|System|Africa||Flow|Services|||
engineering|africa-company|building|education-company|export|flow-company|industrial|mining|resources|system|africa|finland|germany|south-africa|sweden|flow-industry-term|minerals-technology|services|paul-jourdan|the-engineering-news|minerals-technology-technology
© Reuse this



Much attention has been paid over the past few months to South Africa’s aspiration for greater value addition, or beneficiation, of its minerals ahead of export.

However, there appears to be a growing realisation that greater developmental benefits could, in fact, flow from the exploitation of the so-called backward and lateral linkages associated with mining. To be sure, having the mineral is not always a cost advantage for an industry seeking to move downstream.

During a recent presentation on the ‘State of the Minerals Sector’, or Sims, report, which was commissioned by the African National Congress in 2010 and released in early 2012, one of the coauthors emphasised this point.

Dr Paul Jourdan argued that South Africa should aim to replicate those countries that became industrial through the use of minerals – countries such as Finland, Sweden and Germany.

“They used minerals and natural resources to push input industries, particularly capital goods, services and consumables,” he said, listing a slew of brand names that had emerged through that process.

“Today they export more minerals technology than minerals,” he enthused.

Such backward linkages are not only knowledge intensive, but they generally spawn enterprises that are flexible enough to reinvent themselves in other sectors – a process known as lateral migration.

The problem is that the foundations for backward-linkage success in South Africa have been seriously eroded.

The first problem lies at the basic-education level. At the root of any process designed to exploit backward linkages is an education system that ensures high levels of maths and science competence. This, in turn, provides the feedstock necessary for the expansion of the engineering talent pool.

In South Africa, the performance in this area leaves much to be desired and, unless there is a dramatic turnaround, a key industrialisation ingredient will remain absent.

Besides this human capital building block, the other key to pursuing an industrialisation-through-resources economic development trajectory lies in research and development (R&D).

Here, too, South Africa has regressed.

Jourdan points out that, in 1994, there were about 2 000 individuals dedicated to minerals-related R&D. Today, the figure is about one-third of that.

The decline is most notable at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, which previously had large mining programmes but has since closed many of these down. But there are also said to be weaknesses and skills deficits at Mintek, which focuses on minerals processing and metallurgical engineering, as well as the Council for Geoscience.

Therefore, as South Africa debates Sims, as well as ways to secure more advantages from its natural resources, much attention will need to be given to both these challenges.

Failure to arrest the decline in R&D and turn around the education problem will prove fatal.

******

Finally, I need to point out that, as of this week, the Engineering News magazine will no longer be carrying tender pages. However, the information will still be available online at http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/page/tenders.

In the weeks ahead, we plan to upgrade the online tenders pages to take advantage of the reduced lead times, as well as the online publication’s ability to make information searchable.

Edited by: Terence Creamer
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Editorial Insight News
In a recent presentation on the effect of South Africa’s electricity crisis on the mining sector, Chamber of Mines chief operating officer Roger Baxter included a PowerPoint slide titled ‘Problem Statement’. He included the following bullet points under that heading:
South Africa’s prevailing electricity shortages, conventional wisdom holds, are not only undermining the country’s actual economic performance, but also its future growth outlook. South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago summarised this view following the...
The unhealthy developments at the very top of Eskom are quite obviously destructive and destablising. But they are also diverting attention from the very real operational and financial problems that should by all rights be the full-time preoccupation of all involved....
More
 
 
Latest News
Two influential US senators, central to the so-called ‘chicken war’, have announced their intention to pursue amendments to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) to secure greater access for US poultry into the SA market. “We believe passionately in Agoa’s...
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) on Friday published the findings of a discussion document on South Africa’s television and radio local content environment. Icasa last year requested industry input as it reviewed and revamped...
Buying the catering unit of cash-strapped state airline South African Airways (SAA) could work for Bidvest Group, its chief executive said on Friday. SAA is considering selling some of its units including its inflight and airport lounge catering business, Air Chefs,...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Today’s organisations execute projects within increasingly complex environments – particularly in the engineering sector. The ability to successfully execute these projects is what drives the realisation of successful projects and, ultimately, the achievement of...
SMART DISTRIBUTION Providing funds to introduce smart grid technologies in the absence of a clearly defined strategy will not result in the desired outcome
South Africa’s distribution grid is a twentieth-century relic, which must be changed to serve the country’s modern electricity needs, says South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi) Smart Grid Programme manager Dr Minnesh Bipath. “What we are...
There is a disparity in government funding provided to integrated transport networks – bus rapid transit (BRT) networks ¬¬– and that given to conventional bus services, says Putco executive director Thys Heyns. “We have neglected and strangled conventional bus...
The Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco) is building 502 rental housing units, valued at R200-million, in Dobsonville, Soweto, which are scheduled for completion in June 2016.
Automotive component manufacturer and distributor Metair is centralising its research and development (R&D) work in Turkey, in an attempt to bolster the company’s ability to produce affordable start/stop batteries. The new R&D centre is part of an expansion plan in...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96