On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. vol.109 n.3 Johannesburg Mar. 2009
The challenge of building local capacity to support the development of a sustainable mining industry in emerging mining nations
African Mining and Trust Company Limited. Formerly: School of Mining Engineering, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Mining companies are increasingly looking to the developing world for the next generation of mining projects, often in countries that have little or no previous history of large-scale mining. One of the major challenges for such projects is hiring-and retaining-personnel that have technical skills and experience in iningrelated disciplines.
Staffing a mine with an expatriate workforce is neither costeffective nor sustainable, and many countries now insist that mining companies 'transform' the profile of their workforce to more closely mirror the demographic profile of the host population. The need to nurture mining-related skills in emerging mining nations is not solely limited to the workforce: there are also pressing economic and sustainability imperatives to develop capacity within local service providers such as consultants and contractors, as well as to facilitate informed engagement between mining companies, government and civil society.
However, few educational institutions in emerging mining nations currently have the ability to offer practical training in mining-related disciplines. Local employees who are sponsored by companies to develop their skills through international study may be impeded by language and cultural barriers, and may also be taught using course content that is of limited relevance to the specific challenges of their future working environment.
This paper addresses the challenge of skills development and retention in emerging mining nations and uses examples from sub-Saharan Africa and the Asia Pacific region to explore practical means of developing capacity in mining-related disciplines. It examines the need for companies to implement strategies to develop local technical capacity in countries where they envisage a longterm operational future and also highlights the need to foster partnerships between academia, developmental institutions, mining companies, governments and civil society to establish the critical mass of mining-related skills required to nurture the development of a sustainable mining industry.
“Full text available only in PDF format”
DEPARTMENT OF MINERALS AND ENERGY. Broad-Based Socio-Economic Empowerment Charter for the South African Mining Industry. 2004. [ Links ]
KNOL, R. former HSE Superintendent, Geita Gold Mine, Tanzania, personal communication. 2001. [ Links ]
MAGNAWSKI, D. Resource nationalism on way to Africa. Business Report, 19 June 2007. www.busrep.co.za/general/print_article.php?fArticleId=3892276. Accessed 26 July 2008. [ Links ]
Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act. Act. 28 of 2002, Republic of South Africa. 2002. [ Links ]
MINERALS CORPORATION. Research on the status of mining legislation in Africa presented at Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference, Toronto, March 2007. [ Links ]
PHILLIPS, H.R. A long-term approach to the education of mining engineers. First International Seminar on Strategic vs. Tactical Approaches in Mining, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2006. [ Links ]
REICHARDT, C.L. Is the mining industry any place for a woman? Workshop on Women in Mining, Student Mining Engineers' Association, University of the Witwatersrand (unpublished), South Africa, August 2007. [ Links ]
UNESCAP (undated) Mining activities in New Caledonia. UNESCAP Virtual Conference. www.unescap.org/drpad/vc/conference/bg_nc_147_man.htm. Accessed 1 August 2008. [ Links ]