Major innovation needed in the mining sector
The mechanisation of mines has become a buzzword in the SA mining sector, construed as something of a panacea for investors especially in the platinum sector where estimates suggest that two-thirds of production is still cash negative. For unions, however, mechanisation implies looming job cuts.
According to Griffith, mechanisation is neither one of these things entirely, although he acknowledges that there is a long-standing debate on the effect of mechanisation and the impact on jobs.
“However, it is common cause that better productivity is better for the economy,” said Griffith in a presentation at the Mining Indaba conference earlier this month. “Jobs don’t get lost – they get created in new areas,” he said, adding that mechanisation was “a social and economic imperative”.
Tell that to Lonmin shareholders who witnessed the