• Deep understanding

    Deep understanding

    South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg is set to open a new unit that’s designed to prepare students for ‘mining of the future’. Focused on technology solutions, the Wits Mining Institution aims to introduce various disciplines based on fast-developing technologies and practices from different sectors that make mining safer and more sustainable.

    The school already has a ‘mock mine’ to give students a taste of life underground. It includes a 67m life-sized mineshaft called Nick’s Tunnel – a stairwell equipped as a vertical shaft with a stope, lamp room and control room. Automated operations will also be a key focus of training, allowing students to experience mines at depths that humans would typically be unable to operate in safely.

    Pioneered software, sensors and related high-tech infrastructure – which enable developments such as real-time underground airflow modelling and access systems – will introduce the next generation of South African miners to the concept of an ‘intelligent mine’.

    In addition to teaching, the facilities will also be used for research pertaining to security, systems integration and video analytics, according to a Mining Review report.

    5 July 2016
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images