SHiP Copper uses tech to clean up mining’s ‘dirty reputation’

Shirley Hayes is chief executive at SHiP Copper in South Africa, where technology and innovation have the potential to change the bad reputation of mining.

Based in the country’s Northern Cape province, the firm is gearing up to lead the process through its Team Zero initiative. And it’s philosophical mandate is quite simply: “zero emissions, and zero harm.”

“Copper drives the green economy yet its mined traditionally, open cast or underground. That’s an immutable fact, but the way we work with nature to exploit resources must change. There is no doubt about it, and neither about the urgency,” said Hayes.

The demand for copper is expected increase, and so will mining activity. Hayes stated that new technology must also be developed and adopted to support this growth. She added, “We cannot stand by and two decades from now contemplate the same challenges and bemoan environmental damage, when we can do something about this now.”

Hayes commits to greener mining

Beyond implementation electric mining trucks on mining sitesHayes says that while this is a great start, the company has many more innovations in mind. The company is seeking development partners to join Team Zero.

Smarter mining means greener mining and presently Hayes’ is researching solutions from heavy-duty drone technology through to microgrids across plants to reduce energy consumption and digitally interconnect entire process flows in copper production. Hayes is currently investigating off-the grid power solutions in high-demand environments such as mining and copper production.

Hayes said that blasting activities can be controlled and the emission flow reduced by greater precision.

She predicted that the markets would demand greener credentials of producers.

“Key markets like the European Union is likely to implement some form of regulatory oversight on the origin, environmental impact and offset initiatives associated with any product sold in the market. This will apply to mined metals, among others. Gearing up to meet this likely future, now, is not only a moral charge on miners but also a likel future commercial benefit.”

Next year’s World Mining Congress, scheduled for July in Australia, already lists emission targeting, greener mining and greater socio-economic touchpoints as key areas for development in mining. This, and the enabling technology.

Hayes believed that the momentum behind global green initiatives will drive demand for the sector.

“With the accelerated development of artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, the scope for cleaning up mining processes is widening rapidly. Not, it’s to harness the technology and implement it in a sensible and responsible manner that will, over time, reduce the impact of environmental damage that metal and mineral exploitation can do during operations,” she said.

Get latest news from African Startup ecosystem

Latest stories

You might also like...