4IR helps to boost South Africa’s mining sector.
Since 2014, the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence for Integrated Mineral and Energy Resource Analysis (CIMERA) has studied the origin, distribution and character of earth’s mineral and fossil fuel resource systems. Its aim is to ensure that these systems are used sustainably, not only in South Africa, but across the African continent.
Hosted by UJ, and co-hosted by Wits University, CIMERA focuses on high-quality and world-leading basic and applied research, and on developing the people who work in this field. Many of its 69 projects use advances in technology to make the sector greener, safer, more efficient and more cost effective – in a word, more sustainable.
The following projects offer just a glimpse of the ways in which CIMERA is using 4IR to improve one of South Africa’s most important industries:
Coal exploration and quality assessment is an expensive and time-consuming exercise. But if the hyperspectral scanning of coal cores provides enough information on coal quality and washability, then it has the potential to save the coal mining industry a significant amount of time and money.
New methods of mining exploration are required to increase efficiencies, reduce costs, ensure maximum personal safety and secure public buy-in. The use of multi-scale remote sensing techniques is being considered to improve efficiencies and minimise the footprint of exploration.
The seismic reflection method is a valuable, but expensive, tool for discovering and quantifying major mineral deposits and hydrocarbons. To maximise its potential, legacy data can be reprocessed using modern processing techniques.