Every Friday morning, SAfm’s AMLive’s radio anchor Sakina Kamwendo speaks to Martin Creamer, publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly. Reported here is this Friday’s At the Coalface transcript:
Kamwendo: Anglo American has embarked on a very ambitious job-creation programme. The company is targeting the creation of five off-site jobs for every one mining job created.
Creamer: This is incredible for Anglo American. We know that mining creates a lot of jobs, but to actually give them a number around the mine, so they are talking about host communities around the mine and not all the jobs you generate in banking, engineering and supply. That is something separate.
They are saying in their host communities, for every mine-job they want to create five jobs in the host community. That is a very ambitious target. Another thing that they are doing there, which is also quite incredible, is that they want to get involved in education and they see that host communities education is often not up to scratch.
They have set a target for themselves that in the host community around the mine that they will strive to get that level of education in the top 20% of all State schools in the country. They will try and get into that level.
They are also going crazy about CO2 emissions, greenhouse gas emissions and they want to cut that by 30% and then actually improving energy efficiency that everybody is going for. They have set there target of 30% cuts and an even bigger one, it is raining now and often we don’t have a lot of water, but they are saying water scarce areas they are going to cut the consumption of water by 50%.
We see them actually active now in the platinum mine in the Greater Mapela region and they put out a release yesterday saying that they are working on solutions there. So, it is in line with all of the United Nations sustainability goals and it shows you that they have set the bar higher when it comes to sustainability.
This is going to do their industry a lot of good and also their peers will be following quite closely. They, of course, have fewer mines now in South Africa. They are in platinum and diamonds. They are still in iron-ore although they were going to move out of that and they are still in coal although they sold some of their coal assets. But, there was talk now, because the industry is lifting so well, they are looking around for acquisitions. It is going to be interesting to see where they end up.
Kamwendo: Advisory firm Deloitte this week launched Intelligent Mining to encourage digital transformation in South Africa’s biggest industry
Creamer: That is what is happening out here. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is popping up all over the place and all you hear about is the Internet of Things and how they are using this. They have got an Intelligent Mine programme, which they rolled out to journalists this week.
Deloitte we normally associate with auditing, but of course, they are also big in advisory. They are going into this Intelligent Mining Solution and one of the aspects that they showed was short interval control. This could do a lot for mines, because people in those mines often have challenges while the workers are at the rockface, but nothing is done about it until they get to surface.
They then discuss it and probably the next day they will look for a solutions. With this short interval control they are able to solve the problems immediately. Management is immediately made aware of the problem and solutions immediately put forward. This should do a lot for productivity.
Then there is also an interesting end-of-shift performance feedback while on the productivity front this could do well. There will be a sort of a gamified dashboard and as a team comes up they will know how their crew has done that day, are they the top crew, second crew? Individuals in the crew will also know how they have performed. An interesting way of trying to get people aware of productivity need.
Then the predictive maintenance, they are using the internet that will flag problems in equipment. Imminent failure will be flagged so that you don’t have to suffer that downtime. Digital twinning features for training. They will use their phones to digitally twin equipment so that they can train people or explain to people what needs to be done. A lot of interesting things. We see this digitisation spreading all across new projects and old projects.
We see it in the Gamsberg in the Northern Cape where Vedanta have got a smart ore movement system with digitisation. We know that ELB said that they are going into the Internet of Things in a big way and also Exxaro looking at big innovation.
Kamwendo: South African business luminary Patrice Motsepe has expressed the firm belief that South Africa will reach positive consensus on the Mining Charter matter as well as the controversial issue of the expropriation of land without compensation.
Creamer: It was interesting from Patrice Motsepe, who is the business leader around. He is the voice that we listen to now and he kicked off his meeting with these discussions around these comments around the Mining Charter and his confidence that even the issue of the expropriation of land will be solved in a constitutional and law-compliant way.
He didn’t wait for journalists to come and ask him these political questions, which normally is the pattern. He had fantastic results, 26% higher headline earnings, which also indicate the turnaround in mining. He exuded confidence that we will continue to attract foreign investment.
He says all the best countries in the world that have solved their poverty problems are the ones that are consistently attracted investment. He says he is confident that South Africa will be in that position.
Kamwendo: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly.