BRICS Youth Energy Summit Visits Mintek
On the 4th of August 2023, Mintek welcomed a group of young energy leaders from Russia, India, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan, and Brazil for the 2023 BRICS Youth Energy Summit technical tour. This event, organised by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy in partnership with the BRICS Youth Energy Agency (BRICS YEA), aimed to encourage discussions and share ideas on energy and climate change among BRICS member countries and other key countries.
The BRICS Youth Energy Agency represents the voices of young people from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and our home country South Africa, addressing important energy and climate challenges in these nations. During this special anniversary summit, a key theme was the importance of critical minerals for the energy transition, using energy to promote a circular economy and resilient food systems.
Mintek, renowned for its leadership in mineral processing and extractive metallurgy, offered a unique opportunity for the young leaders to see mineral processing and energy use across the value chain. As a significant contributor to the BRICS pool of resources, South Africa's mining-related professional services added value to the tour.
The technical tour at Mintek showcased various cutting-edge facilities and infrastructure. One of the highlights was the Dewatering Unit used in Minerals processing, which impressed the delegates with its contribution to environmental sustainability. By recycling water, the unit has reduced the use of freshwater in plants, setting an example for other nations.
The delegates also visited the Mineral Processing and Hydrometallurgy units, witnessing the pre-concentration of minerals and the separation of essential metals from waste. These visits left a lasting impact on the attendees, with a young energy leader from South Sudan envisioning the need for an advisory body like Mintek in his country to optimise mineral processing and energy efficiency.
At the beginning of the visit, Professor Indresan Govender from Mintek presented the young leaders with pressing challenges faced by the African continent. Notably, he emphasised the need for more local manufacturing to reduce the export of raw minerals and re-importing processed products. To tackle logistical issues, such as high transportation costs, the delegates were encouraged to devise innovative solutions, as transportation is a significant energy-consuming sector, especially in Africa where petroleum consumption is high.
The 2021 BRICS Energy report highlighted the importance of building sustainable and efficient energy systems while increasing access to low-carbon energy.
As the tour concluded, the president of BRICS YEA from Russia commended Mintek's expertise in mineral processing, making it an ideal case study for critical minerals on the BRICS agenda. In their closing remarks, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy expressed gratitude to Mintek for opening its doors to the BRICS Youth Energy Summit, emphasising the need to maximise Mintek's efforts.