R/€ = 13.71
R/$ = 10.96
Au 1193.80 $/oz
Pt 1224.50 $/oz
Jul 01, 2005
Cape Town|Engineering|Pretoria|Africa|Engineering News|Mining Weekly|Nuclear|Systems|Water|Africa|South Africa|Switzerland|United States|Finsch Mine|Building|Energy|Mining|Nuclear|Products|Systems|Word Technology|Diamonds|Albert Einstein|Frithjof Bergmann|John Perlman|Jonathan Oppenheimer|Martin Creamer|Neil Gershenfeld|Water|Massachusetts|Engineering News|Mining Weekly|Century Technology|Fabricator Technology|Word Technology
© Reuse this Every Friday morning, SAfm's AMLive's radio anchor John Perlman speaks to Martin Creamer, publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly. Reported here is this Friday's At the Coalface transcript:
Perlman: Most people think of Kimberley as a hole where diamonds use to be, but I believe there are still plenty in the dumps.
Creamer: Kimberley, the old lady of diamonds, is still dripping with precious gems 134 years later. It had a record production last year, the best production since 1914, where it produced something like 2-million carats of diamonds, which was nearly a million more than the year before. So, there is definitely more life in Kimberley and Jonathan Oppenheimer, who now leads De Beers Consolidated Mines and who is only 35 years old, says that his company intends to be in Kimberley for as long as he is around. In South Africa as a whole, De Beers produced about 13,7-million carats last year, which is a record figure, and Kimberley produced 15 % of that, as many carats as Finsch mine. Despite all the hardships of the strong rand and currency influences, the production of diamonds is still up, because the demand for diamonds is still very much there. So we can look to Kimberley and the other mines producing at an even better rate in South Africa next year.
Perlman: When we talk about eradicating poverty the word community comes up. The word technology also often comes up, and I believe they are trying to combine the two in Krugersdorp.
Creamer: Remember the name Ethembalethu, because it may just end up as a model village that could be a national trendsetter. South Africa is trying to alleviate poverty and to improve the poor image of urban informal settlements, which are often eyesores. A visionary out here from the United States is trying to do so and we hope that he can turn squatter camps into model 21st century villages. He is from New Work, which is a civil society organisation from the US. Prof Frithjof Bergmann has been working with many South African authorities on his plans. He not only wants communities to grow their own food in these areas, purify their own water and produce their own energy, but he is looking to achieving economic sustainability in these areas and he is looking to using 21st century technology to help achieve this, not the least of these hitech items the personal fabricator. His plans do sound incredibly far-fetched, until we learn that Neil Gershenfeld, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is the father of fabricator technology, is in South Africa this week to talk about realising the fabricator dream. While fabricators are till regarded by some as the figment of 'lunitune' imaginations, having personal computers on our desktops may also have sounded that way not that long ago. Computers produce in two dimensions; the envisaged personal fabricators on desktops would produce in 3D - items and goods for people in three dimensions - provided that they are fed with the correct digital information. They are talking about creating economically self-sustained informal settlements, also using other advanced technology to make sure communities can grow their own food, purify their own water, generate their own electricity and also employ themselves in 21st century villages.
Perlman: We often talk about the importance of science in schools and building up the next generation of technicians, people are really comfortable with the subject. What is happening with that, in this the 'World Year of Physics'?
Creamer: A hundred years ago a patent attorney in Switzerland produced five papers in 12 months, which revolutionised the world of physics. His name was Albert Einstein. In fact, the initial important paper on relativity was produced 100 years ago yesterday and the South African Science and Technology Minister is wanting to use this year, which has been declared the World Year of Physics, to encourage South Africans to re-enter the world of physics, which, after all, is not only about nuclear and atomic matter, but about so many things that we use today that are influenced by Einstein's theories of a hundred years ago. His theories are applied in the fields of electronics, in laser systems and even in modern products like geographical positioning systems, which take into account what Einstein decreed on relativity. In South Africa there are going to be quite a few highlights around the World Year of Physics. For instance, the MTN Science Centre down in Cape Town has produced 'Imagining Einstein', which is a play that is doing the rounds and it will also be preformed in Pretoria next week, when the South African Institute of Physics gathers for World Year of Physics meetings to commemorate those five papers, three of them written in one year, 1905, the year they wanted to call annus mirabilis, the year of miracles, in which the world got a new understanding of physics and matter.
Perlman: I never did understand physics, hopefully the people who need it will be better at science than I am. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly, he'll be back with us at the same time next week.
Click here to hear original audio
Edited by: Yolande Botes© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
This Week's Magazine
JSE-listed real estate investment trust (REIT) Rebosis Property Fund achieved a distribution growth of 8.1% to 99.45c per linked unit in the financial year ended August 31, despite volatile market conditions.
A low-cost, inflatable incubator won this year’s international James Dyson design award, which aims to encourage and inspire the next generation of design engineers.
The World Bank released its ‘Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency’ report last month and ranked South Africa 43 out of 189 global economies for its ease of doing business, with Singapore topping the rankings.
Air Products South Africa officially launched its R300-million Eastern Cape air- separation unit (ASU), at its new manufacturing facility in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), earlier this month. It is the second facility that Air Products launched in South...
BMW South Africa (SA) has signed a power purchasing agreement with energy company Bio2Watt. The offtake partnership will bring renewable energy to the carmaker’s Rosslyn plant, north of Pretoria.