As the University of Witwatersrand announced, the new Wits Mining Research Institute (WMRI) was launched on Thursday by Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu. The Institute is supposed to deliver new techniques for modern mining in the country as well as skilled postgraduates.
“It will expand mining research from geology and technical studies to include the social impact of mining, community participation, land rehabilitation and labour issues,” adds van der Merwe [Prof. Nielen van der Merwe, Interim Director of the Wits Mining Research Institute]. “The Institute will stimulate collaboration between disciplines as diverse as law, management, sociology, migration, economics, engineering, healthcare, materials science, geology, energy, environmental science and community development. Some of the key specific challenges are the extraction of gold in narrow reefs at depths hostile to human survival, and the identification and exploitation of resources in remote and sensitive environments.”
The Institute will also contribute to the opening of new mining areas, a national mine closure strategy, the development of a minerals beneficiation economy, and the nurturing of skills in a key sector of the economy. Research will include exploration, safety in mining, economic geology and the efficient extraction of resources, environmental sustainability, deep-level mining, safety and occupational health, and the full spectrum of social impacts and mine rehabilitation.