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"Paves the way to develop digital technologies that will reduce risk in… mining"

Sibanye-Stillwater (SJ:SGL) and the University of Witwatersrand’s Wits Mining Institute (WMI) have launched the Sibanye-Stillwater Digital Mining Laboratory (DigiMine) to assist in creating safer mining environments.
"Paves the way to develop digital technologies that will reduce risk in… mining" "Paves the way to develop digital technologies that will reduce risk in… mining" "Paves the way to develop digital technologies that will reduce risk in… mining" "Paves the way to develop digital technologies that will reduce risk in… mining" "Paves the way to develop digital technologies that will reduce risk in… mining"

The DigiMine initiative at Wits University

Staff reporter

WMI said the launch advanced the application of digital technologies in support of safer and more efficient mining operations.

According to Sibanye-Stillwater, the initiative leverages a growing range of on-site facilities with multi-disciplinary research that draws on expertise from other departments at the university and from partners locally and abroad.

It is a simulated mining environment in the Chamber of Mines building on the West Campus of the university, with facilities that include a vertical shaft in a stairwell, a tunnel and stope in the basement, and a range of communication and digital systems to enable research that will "help to create the mine of the future".

Sibanye-Stillwater was already a WMI sponsor, but added a further R15 million (US$1.3 million) over three years to a R27.5 million total sponsorship between 2015 and 2020.

The miner and Wits are supporting students, strategic projects and growing the DigiMine programme.

WMI director Professor Fred Cawood said the partnership "paves the way to develop digital technologies that will reduce risk in the mining environment".

"Safety and competitiveness are cornerstones of a sustainable mining sector, which can contribute to the National Development Plan by reducing poverty and inequality. Our interventions will explore any innovations that can apply real-time digital solutions for reducing mining risk and increasing mining efficiency," he said.

Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman said it was important for the mining industry to fully benefit from advances in digital technology through close ties with research institutions.

"The launch of the DigiMine establishes a unique programme that is instrumental for the application of digital technologies in support of safer and more efficient mining operations," he said.

Wits acting vice-chancellor and principal Professor Tawana Kupe said the Digimine initiative was part of the university's strategy of integrating technology, teaching, learning and research in academia.

"This partnership ensures that we can continue to develop the specialised skills and knowledge as we move into the fourth industrial revolution," he said.