On the 16 February 2024, Enaex Africa and Stellenbosch University (SUN) formed a partnership to fast-track AI and robotics in Africa while developing local skills and expertise in these fields.

Johan Fourie, Francisco Baudrand, Dr Callen Fisher and Ruben Olivier.

Johan Fourie, Francisco Baudrand, Dr Callen Fisher and Ruben Olivier. Supplied by Stellenbosch University

This partnership aims to enhance the safety of individuals currently engaged in deep underground mining while creating new educational opportunities to upskill students. With the establishment of this relationship, Enaex Africa has agreed to fund a research chair for the development of AI and robotics in mining at Stellenbosch University for the next three years.

By integrating AI and robotics technologies, Enaex Africa’s core value to humanise traditional mining methods will be initiated by introducing autonomous robotic systems for deep underground mining. This removes the need for people to work underground and will create new jobs within the mining process due to these new autonomous systems.

The collaboration with the robotics department of Stellenbosch University positions this partnership at the forefront of impactful research and development, emphasising safety, sustainability and efficiency as mutual and primary goals.

The CEO of Enaex Africa, Francisco Baudrand explained, “In our pursuit of transforming the mining industry into a safer, more efficient and technologically advanced sector, our collaboration with Stellenbosch University represents a pivotal step forward for the mining industry.”

“We are moving into autonomous processes and Artificial Intelligence, incorporating AI into our processes to reduce costs, to grow safety and efficiency and to optimise energy,” he stated.

Dr Callen Fisher, senior electrical and electronic engineer lecturer at Stellenbosch University, highlighted the crucial aspect of student upskilling within this initiative.

“The key to this initiative is the upskilling of students capable of developing robotics and AI systems. They are at the forefront of developing innovative solutions for the mining industry,” he stated.

As part of the collaboration, Stellenbosch University aims to nurture the next generation of talent, encouraging a growth in innovation and sustainability for robotics within mining practices.

“By nurturing the next generation of talent, Stellenbosch University aims to instil a culture of innovation and sustainability in robotics for mining practices,” Fisher concluded. This strategic partnership marks a significant step towards revolutionising the mining industry, combining industry expertise with academic knowledge to address safety challenges and drive sustainable innovation.

The collaboration between Enaex Africa and Stellenbosch University shows a commitment to evolving technology for the advancement of mining practices, ensuring a safer and more efficient future for the industry.

Source: Enaex Africa