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South Africa: Innovation Key for Sustainable Mining Future – Strategic Planner
Source: miningweekly.com
Source Date: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Focus: Information Access, Government Portal, Citizens’ Service Delivery, E-Government
Country: South Africa
Created: Aug 28, 2013

Schwartz posed the question of how South Africa could remain an active and relevant participant in the dynamic, global mining industry, while outlining three potential scenarios for the future of the domestic industry.
The first was a “paralysed” mining industry, which would be a result of low economic growth and low innovation and the second was a “propped-up” scenario, which would be a result of favourable economic conditions, without any innovation having taken place.
However, for the industry to be sustainable, which is his third scenario, innovation would be a key requirement. “Innovation would allow the industry to deliver irrespective of the economic environment and through this scenario South Africa could become the world leader in mining technology,” the strategic planner stated, adding that this sustainable vision for the mining industry would also be a sustainable vision for South Africa.
Schwartz added that there were also additional factors, besides the economy and level of innovation, that had to be taken into account when planning the future of the industry.
Human aspects had to be considered, such as the employees and communities affected by mining activity, he said. “Everyone wants better living and if we fail to acknowledge the human aspect we will have a fundamental problem.”
The mining industry also faced challenges on an ecological level, which included global warming and in South Africa, in particular, the availability of water.
A solution had to satisfy economic, ecological and human needs to lead to a sustainable industry, Schwartz stated.
He also stressed the importance of creating other opportunities for the labour that would be displaced through innovation and the move towards mechanised mining. “If this is not done, the innovation would only lead to strife and conflict.”
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