Post Event Report

Innovation, Digitisation & Skills in the South African Mining Supply Chain was the theme of the recently held MEMSA Mind Shift Conference, held in at the IDC in Johannesburg recently. The event was aimed at facilitating new technologies and partnerships to ensure the sustainability of the South African mining supply chain and the mining industry as a whole. The 2023 Mind Shift Conference drew together a wide range of stakeholders from the mining industry supply chain, research institutions, the skills sector and government to build a shared understanding of challenges, opportunities and strategies for succeeding together.


The conference was coupled with the second editions of the Manufacturing Excellence  and the Innovation for Mining Awards aimed at showcasing, publicising and driving innovation in the South African mining supply chain, and ultimately driving competitiveness in the sector. The winners of which received high praise from Mr. Sietse van der Woude, Senior Executive: Modernisation and Safety at Minerals Council of South Africa, who was impressed with the quality of the equipment manufacturing companies and their products and who was quoted as saying 'it takes real bravery to be an entrepreneur and an innovator'.

Alignment of regulations and legislation to create greater certainty and a supportive environment, could stimulate greater innovation. In addition to the innovation for mining awards winners there are currently excellent examples of the strength of innovation in the sector that speak to these new technologies. 


The Hydro Power Equipment (HPE) Maxi Bolter and PP3 power pack provide a safe, fast, environmentally friendly, water wise, and complete roof bolting solution which can be operated remotely via umbilical controls. The power pack delivers high pressure water to operate three maxi bolters in a typical bord & pillar mining section and can be transported via utility vehicle cassette.

Energy Densification Systems (EDS) have designed a compact vertical Multi-Shaft Mill utilising high-speed impacts to break down particles with large reduction ratios, low energy consumption and improved liberation compared to traditional milling methods. 

Multotec's Pulping Chute scrubs ore material in a carrier liquid. Through the innovative use of slurry deflectors, calibrated turbulence and reverse flows are created, improving the efficacy of scrubbing and laundering actions.

SME Khentsa Steel havedeveloped a tube pressure testing device, which will aid the seam welded tube industry to ensure the safety and integrity of products such as lancing tubes which are used in for mineral processing.


GR Mining has reduced the time and cost involved in commissioning underground refuge bays, by designing collapsible, easy to erect and legally compliant emergency toilets. Their vent trapdoor is designed to open automatically and improve airflow when dangerous levels of methane are detected.


In terms of digital solutions for mining, Riis worked with consortium partners to develop two innovative applications. The first supports SMEs through the process of qualifying as vendors with local mines; the while the second allows mines to assess digital leadership capabilities amongst its workforce.

In the South African context new technologies do not need to replace employment by mines, but can enhance human decision making and safety, and machines can be sent into depths and areas too risky for human operators and by manufacturing equipment locally, quality jobs are created in manufacturing.

Collaboration remains key, and Mining Equipment Manufacturers of SA (MEMSA), a member-based cluster together with a wide range of innovation partners such as the Mandela Mining Precinct is helping to drive innovation and competitiveness in the local mining equipment manufacturing industry through activities such as the first Mind Shift Conference and facilitating technology development partnerships. 

The feedback from delegates has been overwhelmingly positive; one participant reported, 'Words cannot describe the impact of this event'. 


We would like to sincerely thank our expert speakers and panelists, who took time out of busy schedules to address the conference and engage in lively discussions. The feedback from delegates has been overwhelmingly positive; one participant reported, 'Words cannot describe the impact of this event' .

Day 1. Speakers & Presentations

Day 2. Speakers & Presentations

A warm thank you to our sponsors, without whose support this event would not have been possible:

Old Mutual - Conference Sponsor: 

Syspro - Manufacturing Excellence Award Sponsor

ScanGlobal Logistics - Networking Cocktail Dinner

HydroPower Equipment (HPE) - Water Sponsor

Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) - Lanyard & Name Tag Sponsor


And most especially thank you to The South African Minerals, Extraction, Research, Development and Innovation (SAMERDI) initiative, a unique collaboration between the mining industry and government, and the main sponsor of the Mind Shift Conference, and the Innovation for Mining and Manufacturing Excellence Awards.


We have learned a lot during the course of the planning and execution of the conference and look forward to our second event in 2024.

Panel Discussions

Digital technologies increasingly play a role in manufacturing, and we have witnessed how our members are starting to leverage off these technologies to create customer-centric solutions for the mining industry, provide greater customer service and underpin their local and global competitiveness.

Bokang Kelepa, a SACMA Council Member, and the founder of the 4IR in Mining Seminar, led a lively discussion on 'Making the most of digital in South African manufacturing - risks, challenges, success factors'

The panel discussion recording will be shared shortly.....

The focus of Day 2. was on innovation, and specifically innovation done at home in South Africa. Themes included:

  • Local innovation supports the mining local mining industry through providing responsive and appropriate equipment solutions to specific and unique challenges of our mines,
  • Innovation underpins and strengthens local manufacture, and stimulates a vibrant, competitive local supply chain,
  • IP for mining, and capacity for innovation spills into other industries, and vice versa.

Despite many challenges, innovation is alive and well in South Africa, and we greatly look forward to sharing some excellent examples through our awards.

Moderator Tiaan Tromp from Nerospec and panel discussed the need for the standardisation of equipment, software and data collection, and the convergence of technologies. How legacy systems can be restrictive when it comes to integrating new technologies and although we would like to re-use our existing infrastructure, in some cases replacing is just more cost effective.

There are opportunities for smaller companies and start-ups, as they can be more agile and can bring disruptive technologies to the market. 

Collaboration not just cooperation – share the risk and increasing the potential for success.


We need a Mind Shift .... Automation is a sensitive topic with the connotation that technology will replace people - the reality is that technology is moving beyond the current skills available on the mines.

Safety is still one of the greatest drivers of innovation. Use machines to ensure the safety of miners. When its shift change – use the machines, when its not safe to put a person in – use the machines.

The panel discussion recording will be shared shortly.....

Following on from the Innovation for Mining Awards 2023, the panel was very impressed with the quality of the entries, the calibre of companies and their innovations. 

As Sietse said, "it takes real bravery to be an entrepreneur and an innovator. Resilience seems to be most important and abundant characteristic of the people within the room'.


It is interesting to see the evolution of innovation in mining, and the increase in innovation centred around miner safety. 'As a country we have decided that it is not acceptable to have a single fatality in our mines'. 

Mine safety does not happen by accident,it will take a concerted effort and commitment from the entire value chain.

Another trend it towards innovation in the ESG sphere, as a country we have one of the most challenging ESG environments, coupled with one of the most complex compliance regulations in the world. This creates both a challenge and an opportunity for innovators. Alignment of regulations and legislations, and a relaxation of the red letter for test phase products could stimulate greater innovation.

Innovators need to prove their product to the client, the client to their funders, and at the end of the day you still want to eat. A strong commercialisation partner can be the difference between success and failure. 

 The panel discussion recording will be shared shortly.....

MEMSA Manufacturing Excellence Awards 2023

MEMSA awarded the below companies, each of whom demonstrated how technology adoption in their manufacturing has created excellence in any of the following areas:

Digitised Services : NTGR Engineering Projects 

Improved & transformed service delivery to customers through digital technologies.

  • Customer focused & strategic approach
  • Identified potential value add using existing enterprise & supply chain data
  • Hiring additional staff with digital skills

Manufacturing 4.0 : African Mixing Technologies (Afromix)

Technology & Human Ingenuity in Manufacturing: Employment of technologies associated

with the 4th Industrial Revolution.

  • Greater efficiency through digital and automated equipment including robotic welding manipulator
  • Improvements in consistency, quality and turn around times
  • Developing an application to monitor & streamline production process
  • Training staff to operate new equipment

Future Skills Development : Bell Equipment Company South Africa

Developing 4IR-reLated skills to offer manufacturing competitiveness for the mining sector and initiatives taken to skill employees for 4IR.

  • Accredited training provider in 2 well-equipped facilities, 9 apprenticeships, 170 apprentices in 2022
  • Working with merSETA, DHET, YES programme
  • 2yr Graduate in Training Programme with focus on application of digital technology skills
  • Staff trained to use digital fleet, power, fuel & equipment monitoring systems

People Centred Growth : Buraaq Mining Services

Quality & skilled employment opportunities created based on use of digital technologies.

  • Design Engineer and Junior Engineer employed to develop mechanised remote controlled roof bolter
  • 13 out of 40 staff are artisans exposed to digital technologies

Manufacturer of the Year 2023 : Bell Equipment Company South Africa

Excellent performance across multiple categories.

  • A fleet management and maintenance system based on data via satellite
  • Power monitoring and synchronisation system reduces waste & maintains operations through load shedding
  • Smart digital systems to monitor effective use of equipment in the factory
  • Multifaceted skills development programme

MEMSA Innovation for Mining Awards

Awards were given in the following categories:

Innovation in Hard Rock Mining Equipment (The Navin Singh Award) : Nkangala Mining Equipment

Recognising achievements in innovation for the Hard Rock mining industry.

  • Intelligent bolter
  • PLC system & reporting of drilling data
  • Switch between diesel and battery power
  • Patented design to simplify switch between drilling and bolting
  • Improved consistency and accuracy, reduced fuel and maintenance costs

Innovation in Hard Rock Mining Equipment (Runner up) : Buraaq Mining Services

Recognising achievements in innovation for the Hard Rock mining industry.

  • Mechanised roof bolter
  • PLC-based operation - remote control up to 100m full drilling and bolting functions
  • Good safety features and compliance
  • Suitable for low profile environments

Innovation in Soft Rock Mining : Nkangala Mining Equipment 

Recognising achievements in innovation for the Soft Rock mining industry.

  • Hydrostatic drive controlled via CAN-BUS remote control or operator joystick
  • Combined with smaller diesel engine
  • Safety features (L9 & remote control)
  • Reduced maintenance, fuel consumption and emissions.

Innovation in Surface Mining : Bell Equipment Company South Africa

Recognising achievements in innovation in design and manufacture for Surface Mining.

  • Collision Warning and Avoidance Interface Conversion for ADT
  • Standard ISO interface allowing third party Collision Warning and Avoidance Device to slow/stop vehicle
  • Immediate L9 compliance and retrofitting
  • Software enhances safety features and simulator allows speedier testing and integration

Innovation in Mineral Processing : AZMET Technology and Projects

Recognising achievements in innovation in design and manufacture for Mineral Processing.

Carbon to Metal Converter

  • Recovers metal
  • Reduces waste
  • Converts coarse or fine activated carbon, wood chips etc.
  • Material can be wet or dry, contaminated or not.

Digital Solutions for Mining : Graf-In Tech

Recognising achievements in innovation and harnessing 4IR Technologies in design & manufacture for the SA mining industry.

  • End-to-end business intelligence driven fleet management solution for mining fleets
  • GPS, fuel sensor & camera inputs
  • Upload to cloud
  • Integration with additional data
  • Analysis
  • Actionable insights via dashboard

Innovation by an SME - Chairman's Award : Kapabrake Woven Wear Linings

Recognising achievements in innovation for the SA mining industry by small and micro enterprises.

  • Mine winder brake pad
  • Woven brake lining
  • Equipment and process locally developed
  • Tested in US and by CSIR
  • Cost savings and improved lead time
  • Customisation

Photos of the Conference


1. SYSPRO_Johan du Toit_MEMSA MindShift Conference 20230524.pdfdownload
2. Scan Global Logistics SA_MEMSA MindShift Conference 20230524.pdfdownload
3. PtSA Tapiwa Samanga_MEMSA MindShift Conference 20230524.pdfdownload
4. CSIR_Dr Gopal_MEMSA MindShift Conference 20230524.pdfdownload
5. NextGenOpx_Tebogo Mdhluli_MEMSA MindShift Conference 2023-524.pdfdownload
6. Resolution Circle_Gideon Potgieter_ MEMSA Mindshift Conference 20230524.pdfdownload
1. Ten Insights into 4IR_Presentation_JJ Verhaeghe_MEMSA Mindshift Conference 20230525.pdfdownload
2. The Mining Innovation Ecosystem_Riis_MEMSA MindShift Conference 20230525.pdfdownload
3. Innovation in Digital Tech_A Mahboob DigiMine WITS_MindShift Conference 20230525.pdfdownload
4.Connecting science and the Mining Industry_CSIR_MindShift Conference 20230525.pdfdownload
5. Innovating Processes_Mintek_MEMSA Mindshift Conference 20230525.pdfdownload