Hub for creativity and cooperation fosters digitalization of South Africa’s mining industry

 Johannesburg, South Africa. Mining is a critical sector of industry for South Africa with its rich mineral deposits. Despite this vital importance or maybe because of it, the country is faced with the challenge of modernizing its mining industry and also solving its mining engineering skills shortage. The Digital Mining Incubator (DMI) is an important platform for the qualification and recruitment of skilled labor. The initiative was launched by Siemens in close cooperation with Wits University and Tshimologong Precinct. Its aim is to engender enthusiasm for mining among young graduates, to advance the mining industry towards the digital transformation, and utilize the widespread possibilities opened up by digitalization. There is plenty of scope for optimization across the mining industry when it comes to digitalization and its benefits. South Africa, where mining looks back on a long tradition but also has a bright future, is embracing this challenge. Not only is it seeking to address the tangible skills shortage which is particularly prevalent in this sector, but its government and industry are also endeavoring to unleash the benefits of digitalization for the mining industry. The DMI platform is one way of addressing both these needs.

Sustainable advancement for mining

The Digital Mining Incubator is what is termed a Co-Creation space in which customers and partners are able to focus on the development of mining-related skills. The DMI is integrated in the Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, part of the University of Witwatersrand. Here, young people interested in mining are mentored by experts from the University and Siemens, with the aim of providing them with the tools and skills to effectively transform and develop the South African mining sector. The aim of the project is to utilize data in conjunction with machine learning, artificial intelligence and additive manufacturing as the basis for developing the “smart” mines of the future. Digitalization will bring about a sustainable, positive transformation of the value chain in the mining industry. Benefits will include a shorter time to market, increased flexibility in volatile global markets, optimized productivity and the creation of safer operations on site.

Creating perspectives

Professor Barry Dwolatzky, Director of the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering at Wits University and founder of the Tshimologong Precinct, summarized:

– Having Siemens open a digital incubator dedicated to promoting innovation in mining is a very significant landmark in bringing the benefits of 21st century digitalization to one of the most critical sectors in the South African economy. The DMI will provide a dedicated platform for developing innovative solutions to some of our mining industry’s greatest challenges including health and safety, environmental protection and improved productivity.