Mining Engineering Education South Africa (MEESA) will allow more cooperation and information sharing among institutions, which will be important in addressing the challenges that the South African mining industry is currently facing.
Established last year as the Mining Heads of School Forum and recently re-branded, MEESA is currently chaired by Professor Ronny Webber-Youngman of Pretoria University's Department of Mining Engineering, and includes his counterparts Professor Cuthbert Musingwini of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) , Dr Hennie Grobler of the University of Johannesburg and Israel Dikgwatlhe of the University of South Africa.
Emphasising the need for closer collaboration between mining schools, Professor Webber-Youngman highlighted research, funding and work experience as key issues for MEESA.
"Since mining research capacity has decreased over the last few years, research collaboration is imperative in addressing the challenges the South African mining industry is currently facing," says Youngman.
[quote] "The country just does not have enough researchers to be competitive in this regard. Our four schools look forward to collaborating more meaningfully in the near future in our research activities," says Youngman.
Since its inception, MEESA has already been able to interact more effectively with the Mining Qualifications Authority to collectively resolve challenges encountered by each of the schools.
"I believe that a co-ordinated approach in dealing with challenges is one of the major benefits we all derive from this association," says Youngman.
In addition, MEESA has also been able to collectively secure a number of vacation-work placements for their undergraduate students.
"Key to this collaboration is that there is more information-sharing across all four schools," says Youngman.
"Unlike in the past - when each school had relationships with other mining schools internationally - we will now be able to strengthen local collaboration and leverage this to ensure more sustainable collaborations globally," Youngman concludes.