BME General Manager Technology and Marketing Nishen Hariparsad

The positive energy at this year’s Investing in African Mining Indaba is an encouraging sign that stakeholders in mining are embracing the many challenges that the industry faces.

“The complexity of mining has been rising, driven by a range of factors from geopolitical tension and fast-changing battery technology to climate change and skills shortages,” said Ralf Hennecke, Managing Director of Omnia group company BME. “Topics discussed at the Indaba, however, indicate that positive disruption is underway to build a path forward.”

This direction was visible in presentations and discussions that emphasised environmental, social and governance (ESG) good practice, responsible mining, company-community engagement and the just energy transition. Hennecke noted that the mining ecosystem was gradually strengthening across Africa, as mining supply partners entrenched themselves in regions where their customers were active. This process introduces valuable services, infrastructure and expertise into African countries where mining is initiated.

“The evolution of mining in Africa has seen closer partnerships between companies like BME and their customers – to tackle key priorities,” he said. “Blue chip miners at the Indaba have reiterated their focus on critical areas like operational efficiency, business continuity and people development in the sector.”

Highlighting the human factor, BME General Manager Technology and Marketing Nishen Hariparsad highlighted recent research showing that over 70% of mining leaders found that talent shortages held them back from delivering on production targets and strategic objectives. A panel contributor in the Indaba’s Young Leaders session on ‘New knowledge, new mining: the research and technology that drives innovation’, Hariparsad argued that the mining sector needs repositioning to attract young talent.

BME MD Ralf Hennecke

“The Indaba’s focus on positive disruption applies to the question of attracting and retaining expertise,” he explained. “As a sector, we need to showcase the great strides being made in developing and applying digital technology in the mining space.”

This is creating career opportunities for young professionals in exciting fields like data science and software development. In the blasting field, for instance, BME is forging solutions for mines that help drive their mandate for safety, productivity and sustainability. He emphasised that mining companies were relying increasingly on their technology providers to forge the tools for achieving efficient and responsible mining.

“A key way that mines are positively disrupting traditional mining practice is to collaborate with partners to release value through the supply chain,” he said. “This includes doing more with the data that we generate, and empowering personnel to drive efficiencies and safety on mines.”