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Mintek SCi Programme Announced

On 19 July 2024, Mintek, South Africa’s mineral technology science council, will host its Science Convention of Innovators, dubbed Mintek-SCi. This symposium is designed to provide a platform for budding researchers and postgraduate students aged 35 and below to showcase their research and projects. Mintek has officially released the event's programme, featuring some of the leading experts in the fields of mineral innovation, science, engineering, and technology.

Discussing the release of the programme, Mintek CEO, Dr Molefi Motuku, stated that Mintek is hosting Mintek SCi to create a platform for knowledge exchange between young researchers and industry professionals, fostering mutual learning and insight sharing. "This is a very important platform for Mintek as it creates opportunities for young researchers, scientists, and engineers to interact with leading experts on their work. This event forms part of our Mintek@90 celebrations and through it, we hope to help contribute to supporting the next generation of mineral innovators." The event also seeks to serve as a catalyst for the career growth of emerging researchers by recognising and showcasing their work to propel their professional development. Furthermore, it aims to drive innovation by inspiring fresh perspectives and shaping the future of mineral and metallurgical advancements through the convergence of experience and innovation.

Taking place at Mintek at no cost to the delegates and institutions exhibiting, Mintek SCi will kickstart with a plenary address by Prof Fulufhelo Nwelamondo. Prof Nwelamondo is South Africa’s National Research Foundation CEO, the youngest South African to receive the prestigious Harvard-South Africa Fellowship, and has been awarded the Order of Mapungubwe in Silver, the highest civilian honour bestowed by the President of the Republic of South Africa. He has contributed immensely to science innovation and technology in the country and is a true inspiration to the upcoming generation of leaders.

The programme also features Miss Confidence Tshilande, a Senior Geotechnical Engineer at SRK Consulting, the CESA Young Engineer of the Year award winner (2021), and one of Mail and Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans. Tshilande will kickstart the Environmental, Social, and Governance session. Prof Indresan Govender, Group Executive at Mintek and an Honorary Professor of Particle Technology & Mineral Processing (UKZN), will lead the Emerging Technologies session. Prof Christie Dorfling, Chairperson of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Stellenbosch University, will kickstart the Unlocking Resources/Critical Minerals session.

The symposium will also feature a panel discussion with experts from universities, post-university training programmes, and industries, focusing on attracting and retaining talent. The experts include Prof Glen Nwaila, former Director of the Wits Mining Institute and currently Professor of Economic Geology and Geometallurgy at the School of Geosciences.

Dr Palesa Mothapo, who expertly assists researchers in transitioning from academia to industry with a holistic focus on the development of PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers, will also contribute. Dr Mothapo is one of the 2020 Inspiring Fifty Women in STEM, an alumnus of the 2018 Mandela Washington Fellowship, and part of the GreenMatter WWF Nedbank Green Trust Emerging Leaders Programme.

The symposium will also feature Bridgette Mathebula, a Senior Regional Manager at the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA), and Kondwani Banda, Chairperson of SAIMM-YPC, Engineering Project Manager at Hatch Technologies, and former Chairperson of ECSA Metallurgy Code of Practice. Additionally, Ms Bedelia Theunissen, HR Executive Manager at Mintek, recognised as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Global HR Professionals, will contribute to the discussion on upskilling and retaining talent.

Download the programme here.