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Minerals Council supports training innovation in mining

The Minerals Council South Africa congratulates the winner of the Reimagining Training in Mining Innovation Showcase, an open innovation challenge that investigated the use of technology in training to upskill and reskill the mining workforce effectively for the fourth industrial revolution.

At the beginning of 2021, the Minerals Council and Harmony, in partnership with RIIS, set out to identify ready-to-implement training innovations for piloting in Harmony’s operational context. A call for proposals resulted in the submission of solutions that feature virtual, augmented and mixed reality solutions as well as components of gamification that could be used to revolutionise skills training in mining.

During July and August, a panel of judges composed of the Minerals Council, Harmony’s learning & development, technology and health & safety teams, and behaviour experts shortlisted the top six submissions. These finalists went through a final round of judging this week by showcasing their innovations at virtual and physical events. This culminated in the announcement of WinWin International as the showcase winner and the Boiler Room and BizAR Reality being named the first and second runners up respectively. The other finalists were Virtutec, Edutouch and sts3D.

“The Minerals Council is looking at innovation and modernisation not just from a technology perspective, but importantly also to support social and business model change – moving from purely engineering-led innovation to people-centred innovation,” said Sietse van der Woude, a Senior Executive of Modernisation and Safety at the Minerals Council.

The Minerals Council recognises that innovative approaches to training and learning, leveraging cognitive and behavioural sciences, enhances the effectiveness of training delivery through improved understanding, better retention, increasing motivation, and embedding positive behaviours. These trends, in combination with 4IR technologies, have great potential to improve healthy and safe production outcomes.

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“Extended Reality, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality technologies allow employees to learn in a safe environment while being fully immersed and interacting with virtual information in real-time as they encounter their physical environment – such as equipment or hazards, among others,” said Mustak Ally, Head of Skills Development at the Minerals Council.

The piloting of new technology in the mining industry can optimise the cost-effectiveness of training while taking the industry closer to its ultimate goal of Zero Harm, he added.

The showcase is the practical demonstration of the Minerals Council’s journey to a peoplecentred, technologically enabled modernised mining industry in South Africa – one that brings its people along with it; one that helps us reimagine mining.

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