Mintek joins SA environmental-observation network

Mining researcher Mintek committed itself to strengthening environmental and socioeconomic research in minerals processing and metallurgy by joining forces with the South African Environmental Observation Network (Saeon) on Friday, September 1st.
 
The two entities signed an agreement to exchange information every six months, which will be made available to all Saeon’s participants and to the public. This will, however, exclude information that is commercially sensitive or confidential in nature, Saeon head Johan Pauw said.
 
Saeon is a government-funded organisation aiming at establishing better cohesion between research programmes locally and globally and ensuring that data is archived and accessible as a national asset for future generations.
Speaking at the signing ceremony at Mintek’s head office, in Johannesburg, Mintek’s Gavin Flemming said that the partnership would complement the company’s own research in the area of sustainable development and strengthen its alliance with government and industry.
 
?¨The major benefits for Mintek include access to long-term environmental observation data, and closer collaboration with other researchers, as well as stimulating observation science and monitoring activities within Mintek itself,?Æ the company said.
 
Flemming said that the mining industry conducted numerous environmental and socio-economic observations, for various reasons, but that a coordinated management approach to the storage and reuse of the data was still lacking. Saeon, managed by the National Research Foundation and funded by the Department of Science and Technology, aims at filling that gap.
 
The organisation claims not to be a green activist or conservation agency and operates on a network of ‘nodes’, each of which comprises a constellation of sites linked to a geographical area or theme, Pauw explained.
 
He said that it seeks to identify, understand and predict environmental problems that threaten sustainable growth and development and then recommended policy interventions to tackle the issues.
 
?¨The scientific question driving Saeon is to distinguish between human-driven and natural environmental change.?Æ
 
Seaon had partnerships with various South African organisations, such as the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research and the Chamber of Mines, and universities, government departments and conservation agencies.
 
It also had strong links with similar international initiatives, such as the Environmental Long-Term Observatories of Southern Africa, the International Long-Term Ecological Research Network and the Group on Earth Observation.
 
Mintek runs its sustainable-development programme, through its Sustainable Development Unit, and contributes to the Department of Minerals and Energy’s Sustainable Development through Mining initiative.
 
(Credits Miningweek


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