Declining availability of talent and skills is increasingly undermining industry’s productivity, particularly in areas of tailings monitoring, volume reduction, and repurposing. Underlying this challenge is a decline in investment by both governments and industry in academic institutions resulting in the shrinking and closure of core academic departments. While borrowing from R&D outcomes from other sectors (e.g., robotics and automation) is sensible and economically astute, the industry investment trends are now impacting mining industry core sciences of geosciences, mineral processing, and extractive metallurgy. These cannot be borrowed from any other sector.
Amira is working to identify and support new and additional sources of intellectual resource. One component is to incorporate a regional researcher capability development built into Amira’s projects, another is to design the research programs with regular training and development, benchmarking, and industry translation. Transfer of learning within the projects continues to be a key design element of Amira’s projects.
Amira has also embarked on an ambitious goal to establish a Centre of Excellence in Mining based in Africa. Preliminary discussions with agencies, academic institutions, and members indicates an elevated level of support. While initiatives of this scale do take time to eventuate, Amira it is gratifying and encouraging to see the levels of support we are receiving.
In 2023 is developing a Prospectus to invite participation and sponsorship in a Pan African Decarbonisation Institute, supported by researchers from across Africa to develop the talent and skills required to unlock the minerals great challenge.