One-of-a-kind bridge to be displayed at Electra Mining Africa 2016

Caption: Local engineering solutions organisation, SureGO!, will be displaying one of their first-ever,  uniquely built, flexible walkway bridges at one of the world’s largest mining and industrial exhibitions, Electra Mining Africa. Electra Mining Africa 2016 will be taking place from 12 to 16 September 2016 at the Expo Centre Nasrec in Johannesburg, Gauteng.

“We are thrilled to display this exciting and unique innovation at the exhibition. Attendees will see the world’s first safe and floating bridge prototype that was designed and tested at the harbour mouth in Richards Bay in 2014. The flexible and floating bridge was put to test for two months to see if it can endure strong storms and adjust to the ever-changing tides,” says Tex Neveling, owner of SureGO!

Neveling patented the flexible bridge solution in 2010 and SureGO! is now safely bridging the gaps in the industry. SureGO! specialises in three types of bridges, namely: SureGO! Walk, SureGO! Drive and SureGO! Utility.

“What makes our bridges unique is that they provide the ideal solution to safely move from point A to point B, be it through walking or driving, over shifting surfaces. Our bridges prove to be a safe passage in areas with fluctuating currents, tides or water levels as well as in swamp and marsh areas with sludge and sand. SureGO! designed bridges change position and adapt according to the ever-changing environment, while ensuring continuous flooring and hand rail protection,” adds Neveling.

The world-class event, Electra Mining Africa, started 44 years ago and is ranked among the top mining shows in the world. Once again, this year’s five-day exhibition promises to showcase premier innovations and trends across the mining, construction, industrial, power generation and machine tools sectors. Annually, the Electra Mining Africa welcomes over 40,000 visitors.

At the event, SureGO! will showcase a model of their flexible walkway bridge. “We invite members of the public to attend the Electra Mining Africa event and visit the SureGO! stand. Attendees will be allowed to walk on the bridge and take a closer look at the intricacies of this unique invention,” concludes Neveling.

For more information about SureGO! contact 082 519 4839 or visit www.surego.co.za.

 

Waste management industry body celebrates 40 years

Working towards a clean and healthy environment has been the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA’s) main objective for the past 40 years. Over the past four decades, southern Africa has witnessed immense strides in the waste management arena. With the ongoing support of the IWMSA’s committee and members, businesses and individuals are armed with the necessary information and skills to ensure that industry is aligned with national and international trends in waste management.

Jan Palm, President of the IWMSA says, “It is a great achievement for the IWMSA to celebrate 40 years of making a positive change in the industry! This would most definitely not have been possible were it not for our members and the dedicated approach that they take to achieve proper, sustainable and cost-effective waste management practices; we would like to thank them for helping us reach such a milestone.”

The IWMSA is continuously striving towards the protection of natural resources while promoting the value of waste as a resource. With the biennial waste management conference, WasteCon, the industry body aims to educate their members, the private sector and government on proper waste management practices. The conference takes place from 17 to 21 October 2016 at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg. “We also offer accredited and IWMSA recognised courses throughout the year; training is one of our most important portfolios,” mentions Palm.

Another exciting development in the waste management space is the introduction of a new waste management supplier website – allwastesolutions.co.za. The platform enables organisations and individuals to register their respective waste management products and services. Interested parties who require that particular service can locate organisations on the online platform. The platform is endorsed and recognised by the IWMSA.

“For the next two years, the IWMSA will continue to guide members in the waste management profession. We urge all interested parties to register for WasteCon 2016 where the changing landscape of the industry will be discussed and debated,” concludes Palm.

The IWMSA is a non-profit organisation comprising a body of dedicated professionals in their respective fields, who give freely and voluntarily of their time and expertise in order to effectively educate, promote and further the science and practice of waste management.  For more information, visit: www.iwmsa.co.za. The IWMSA is also on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Development of youth forms pinnacle of 2016 Skills Development Summit

[Caption] Dr. Matthews Katjene, CEO of PsychWell, shared his knowledge and experience on the development of transferable skills with delegates at the 2016 FP&M Seta Skills Development Summit that took place at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Tshwane last week (25 to 26 August 2016). [Photo Credit: ShutterMonkey Productions]

Top South African professionals from various industries across South Africa addressed the country’s skills shortage at one of the biggest skills development conferences, the FP&M Seta Skills Development Summit 2016, held at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Tshwane last week. Specific focus was drawn to the employable skills required of the youth in order to enter the workforce. Delegates shared their knowledge about skills development and were also urged to invest in the upskilling of their employees.

The 2016 FP&M Seta Skills Summit was abuzz with business owners, high-level managers and key executives from the corporate and private sector, all of whom shared their knowledge and expertise on business development. The latest skills training trends were a hot topic with a great deal of emphasis placed on the portability of employee skills (ie, the ability of a skill to have more than one function). Hosted by Achiever Magazine and the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority (FP&M Seta), this year’s event boasted a collection of interactive workshops presented by leading trainers and experts. Delegates were provided with valuable knowledge on how to get the most out of each employee by investing and implementing skills development programmes.

The programme director for the two-day event, Peter Ndoro, kicked-off proceedings by highlighting the importance of skills development in South Africa in moulding the economic future of the country. Ndoro mentioned that a skilled workforce is the ticket to overturning the country’s poor unemployment rate. Delegates were encouraged to take full advantage of the valuable workshops on offer by tapping into the knowledge and expertise of the exciting line-up of speakers.

In his opening keynote address at the Skills Summit, Thabo Mashongoane, the Director of the National Skills Authority in the Department of Higher Education, explained that the continuous advancement of South Africa’s skills development programmes and initiatives is critical to ensure positive economic growth. He emphasised that both the public and private sector should work together to develop solutions that will address the skills shortage amongst the country’s youth. While mentioning that skills development programmes should be focussing on upskilling the youth, he emphasised that people of all economic backgrounds should benefit from the initiatives.

The necessity of upskilling the youth of South Africa was reiterated by Wean Minnie, National Skills Fund CFO, who mentioned that the country’s youth represents around 55% of the workforce. He stressed that despite the large representation in the country’s labour force, the country still faces a high unemployment rate amongst its youth. Minnie advised that the upskilling of employable skills of both young and old should be the main focus in order to shift the unemployed to being employed. He believes that community and occupational skills programmes hold the key to skills development as it offers enhancement opportunities to the unemployed youth, as well as young, up-and-coming working professionals.

Another thought-provoking aspect of skills development touched on by Dr. Matthews Katjene, PsychWell CEO, was the growth and management of skills in order to ensure long-term profitability and to positively impact on business strategy, -drivers and service delivery. He mentioned that there are various elements of skills that need to be considered in order for a development programme to make a meaningful contribution. He explained that skills needs to be portable, impactful and mobile in order to address the specific skills shortages and challenges in the market. Special attention was given to the ‘porting’ ability of skills, which refers to the portability and ability to be transferred or transformed, through training, into different value-adding competencies that can be utilised within various departments of an organisation. This allows an employee’s skillset to be most effectively managed in multiple organisational areas and functions.

Carol Govender, Education, Training and Development Officer at Rand Water, continued by emphasising that organisations have three avenues through which to supplement their skills shortages: locating the perfect candidate with all the necessary skills and experience; taking the risk by providing an under-qualified or less-experienced individual the opportunity to prove themselves; or, to train promising employees and foster the necessary skills required. She insisted that organisations must plan for employees’ careers in advance, even before they enter the organisation, with regards to skills development and growth. Thorough planning will also serve as a good indicator of the skill-level needed within the organisation.

“This year was one of the most insightful Skills Summits yet!” says Beverley Stone, Event Manager at Cape Media, organisers of the FP&M Seta Skills Development Summit. “The high-calibre speakers and fantastic networking opportunities made for an extremely exciting event. Platforms such as these, where business owners, high-level managers and key executives from the public and private sector come together to engage with dynamic skills development and training providers, are of the utmost importance for the future of South Africa. We are proud to play a role in the upskilling of the country’s labour force and look forward to an even bigger Summit in 2017.”

Feel the earth move: South Africa welcomes the 35th International Geological Congress

CAPTION: The Honourable Minister of Mineral Resources, Mr Mosebenzi Zwane, opened the prestigious 35th International Geological Congress (IGC) at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) yesterday morning, 29 August 2016. From left to right: Professor Phuti Ngoepe, (Chairman of the Board – Council for Geoscience), Dr Richard Viljoen (co-president of the 35th IGC), Honourable Minister Mosebenzi Zwane (MP), Dr Jeannette McGill (co-president of the 35th IGC) and Simon Sikhosana (acting CEO – Council for Geoscience). Photographer: Frank Kurmmcher

More than 4000 delegates from 120 countries flocked to the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) yesterday to mark the opening ceremony of this prestigious International Geological event, occurring for the 35th time since 1878.

“It is fitting that the geological community has returned to the African continent,” said Minister of Mineral Resources, Mr Mosebenzi Zwane. Welcoming delegates to the “cradle of humankind” – “phecelezi’ imvelaphi yabantu” – Minister Zwane reminded the delegates that the 1929 IGC conference, in Pretoria, had “catalysed advancement of the profession resulting in a significant improvement and a better understanding of the country’s and regional geological prowess”. This year’s programme affords the opportunity to retrace some of these field trips and examine the advances made over the 87 intervening years.

This ground-breaking exposure to the wonders of South Africa’s geology enabled global mining concerns in particular to make major commercial breakthroughs. Now, it is time to square economic opportunity with social and environmental responsibility. As Minister Zwane put it, “It is both untenable and unjustifiable to sustain a structurally flawed economic model that places the African continent at the bottom quartile of development, notwithstanding its natural resources endowment that spans land, minerals, upstream petroleum and others.”

The best way to turn this state of affairs around is to reverse the brain drain from the country and keep African knowledge assets in-house.   To this end, according to professor Richard Viljoen, co-president with Dr Jeannette McGill (one of the Global 100 Women in Mining for 2016) of the 35th IGC, bridging distances between African geoscientists is a key goal of the IGC.

“This conference is not for South Africa alone but all of Africa,” Viljoen added. “The idea was to attract as many African delegates as possible.”

Another key idea is bringing the earth sciences closer together with other economic sectors, especially agriculture and tourism.

Minister Zwane emphasised this point: “There is an emerging narrative on the tension between mining and agriculture. But the truth is that through the creative cross application of the knowledge bases indicate that the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The connection between mining and agriculture is evidenced through geo-scientific research and interventions aimed at attaining food security.”

Empowerment is high on the agenda. Said Minister Zwane, “It is critical to empower women and the youth in geosciences to ensure continuity of the profession and its contribution to humanity. The African Continent has the largest population dividend that we must leverage.”

That’s why, according to Viljoen, “The intention is to cater to the needs and aspirations of young earth scientists through the GeoHost programme.” This is an assistance programme designed and developed by the IUGS to help young, financially disadvantaged geoscientists attend the IGC.

“The Young Earth Scientists Network is well represented at this year’s conference; they can now network and interact with world authorities to gain a broader perspective,” said Viljoen.

“Today you can have artificial intelligence displacing industries. How do you really pioneer the future? Geoscience is standing on the edge of an immense opportunity.”

Dr Greg Botha, senior specialist scientist at the Council for Geosciences (CGS) and secretary-general of the 35th IGC concludes: “The week is only just started. Delegates can look forward to a host of geological topics ranging from climate change and shale gas to environmental issues and geological professionalism.”

For more information about the IGC visit http://www.35igc.org/. Join the 35th IGC Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/35thigc/. Registrations are also still open. Visit http://www.35igc.org/Verso/60/Registration to sign up.

Fishing organisation develops successful female employees

CAPTION: Many of the women that have risen through the ranks at Sea Harvest come from humble beginnings; training and mentorship programmes have developed them into leading women within the organisation. Pictured above from left to right are some of the leading ladies at Sea Harvest’s Saldanha Bay plant, Gillian Felaar, Palesa Molelle, Idolene Macca and Sthoko Nyawo, who have benefitted from growth and skills development opportunities provided by the company.

As the largest employer in Saldanha Bay, employing more than 1 300 women, many opportunities for career growth and skills development have been created at Sea Harvest, which has a direct economic impact on the local community.

“Overcoming challenges and the support received from Sea Harvest are what motivated me to achieve more in my life,” says Gillian Felaar, Factory Shift Manager at Sea Harvest Saldanha. “I come from a single parent household and witnessed how hard my mother worked to provide for all of us. After matric, I completed my National Diploma in Food Technology and my goal was to become a manager before I turned 30. I achieved this goal in July 2014 when, at the age of 29, I was appointed as Quality Systems Manager at Sea Harvest. In this position my knowledge of the cold chain process and fresh fish produce grew,” Felaar explains. Today, thanks to her inspirational mentors, as well as her continued dedication and drive, Felaar is a Factory Shift Manager at Sea Harvest.

Factory Shift Managers and Quality Systems Managers at Sea Harvest ensure that both the employees and the processes put in place operate at the required levels to maintain the premium quality of products offered by Sea Harvest. For this reason, investment in training and skills development of staff take priority. “A total of 12 195 Sea Harvest staff members received training from the beginning of 2010 to the end of 2015, 60% of which were female, indicating the commitment made by Sea Harvest to empower women working at Sea Harvest,” explains Sea Harvest Human Resource Director, Mary-Lou Harry.

Staff members are encouraged to further their skills and qualifications by enrolling in part time courses, the costs of which are often covered by Sea Harvest. “Each step in our production line has an impact on the final quality of the product being delivered. With operations at sea and on land, the quality of the production line plays an important role in Sea Harvest’s overall success. We acknowledge the importance of, supporting and investing in the continuous training of our staff members.  This enables us to consistently deliver high quality products,” adds Harry.

For Idolene Macca, Factory Shift Manager at Sea Harvest Saldanha Bay, attitude is everything. “Hard work and determination is needed to be successful in life. I have been with Sea Harvest since 2013 and quickly learned that being a go-getter and doing work to the best of one’s abilities goes a long way. Since joining the company, I have been offered various opportunities for growth. In 2015, I was promoted to Factory Shift Manager. For me, continuous learning is important as it creates new opportunities to contribute to the success of the company. Fortunately, Sea Harvest assists with the costs related to training,” comments Macca.

“I have learnt that failure and obstacles are necessary to prepare for success,” says Sthoko Nyawo, Quality Systems Manager at Sea Harvest. “Throughout my life I have faced many challenges and it is only with sheer determination and a belief in achieving my dreams that I have been able to succeed. I have been with Sea Harvest for four years, and within this time I progressed from a Junior New Product Development Technologist to a Quality Systems Manager due to the ongoing support and guidance from Sea Harvest. To succeed, one needs to be willing to do whatever work is required and to remain humble, while continuing to learn every day.”

“The fresh fish operations at Sea Harvest is under the care of the many inspiring women who are driven by passion and commitment for what they do. Perseverance, having the right attitude and overcoming obstacles are all in a day’s work for these exceptional women,” concludes Macca.

For more information, visit www.seaharvest.co.za. Join Sea Harvest’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SeaHarvestSA/.

Celebration of women empowerment in Diepsloot

CAPTION: Dr Zinzi Mkhize-Hlubi, a general practitioner from Fourways, Johannesburg, discussed womens’ health and issues in a short speech at Friday’s Women’s Dialogue organised by the National Children and Violence Trust (NCVT).

“Viva, women, viva!”

Such were the shouts of the ladies in attendance at the National Children and Violence Trust (NCVT)’s Women’s Dialogue held in Diepsloot on Friday, 19 August 2016. Approximately 80 women gathered at the St. Mungos Church to celebrate and reflect on their power to overcome the physical and emotional challenges that they face on a daily basis.

After Nokwazi Dlamini, senior social worker at NCVT, welcomed the women, members of the NCVT’s youth choir entertained the crowd with their songs. They received a warm applause before Dr Zinzi Mkhize-Hlubi took the stage.

“Women’s Month is not only about celebrating women and their achievements, but also about taking stock of our health and changing bad habits to live a healthy lifestyle”, she said. Mkhize-Hlubi went on to emphasise her belief that women form the backbone of families and communities – they should receive regular health education. She quoted Brigham Young: “When you educate a man, you educate a man; but when you educate a woman, you educate a generation.”

Judith Mthombeni, senior social worker at NCVT, also gave practical tips as she engaged with the women about domestic abuse. Social workers encounter different types of abuse every day, including emotional, physical, sexual and economic abuse. Much of the abuse stems from the power dynamics in relationships; women are often financially dependent on the person abusing them, rendering them seemingly powerless to escape. “We must not allow the violence to continue,” Mthombeni urged. She explained ways that women can prevent or address abuse, including economic empowerment, legal avenues (such as protection orders) and counselling.

The official programme ended with music, boisterous dancing, socialising and a definite feeling of optimism in the air.

“Today was so inspiring,” says Dlamini. “Interacting with people living in areas where significant financial and emotional support is needed really motivates us to work hard and keep making a positive difference.”

The NCVT will be hosting a second Women’s Dialogue in Cosmo City at the Multipurpose Centre, on Tuesday, 30 August 2016 at 10:30. For more information and to join the event, contact the NCVT at 011 705 1960.

More information about the NCVT is available on their website at http://www.ncvt.co.za/. Join them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-National-Children-Violence-Trust-NCVT-197670257245796/ or Tweet them at @NCVT.za.

CAPTION: Members of the NCVT youth choir, with Nondumiso Nsibi, the musical director. 

Help your child become an ‘Academic Olympian’

As the 2016 Olympic Games came to an end, we can reflect on the achievements, camaraderie and celebration of sport on the global stage. In addition to the great successes, Edublox reading, maths and learning clinic, highlights important lessons that can be learned from the Olympic athletes, which is applicable to a child’s academic and sporting performance.

The Olympic Games is a prestigious sporting event and the highlight of any Olympian’s career. No athlete wins a medal or even qualifies to participate at the world’s largest sporting event without committing the majority of their time to perfecting their craft. It takes years of preparation to build a strong physical foundation and develop the necessary skills to compete on the highest level. “The same goes for a child’s academic performance,” says Susan du Plessis, director of educational programmes at Edublox.

“Children have to be able to read and concentrate in order to grow and develop academically. For children to learn how to read or improve their reading, they have to understand the language, as well as master the foundational skills of perception, memory and logical thinking. Children have to work hard and train their learning abilities with as much vigour and determination as athletes in order to become ‘Olympic students’,” says Du Plessis.

Another characteristic of an ‘Academic Olympian’ is the ability to concentrate. Concentration is a skill that can be taught, just like riding a bike. “Concentration and memory go hand in hand and play a major role in a child’s all-round development. These two aspects not only affect a child’s academic accomplishments, but also influence the performance of young and upcoming sportsmen and women on the sport field,” explains Du Plessis.

After his enrolment at Edublox, Stelios Charalambous, a Grade 3 learner experiencing learning challenges, surprised everyone with a dramatic improvement in all of his subjects on his second report card of the year. “When we received Stelios’ report card, we were ecstatic! His marks had jumped by 20% in all of his subjects,” says Christa Charalambous, Stelios’s mother. “Another big change we’ve noticed is that he is more confident and had improved significantly on both the rugby field and the tennis court,” she adds.

Du Plessis shares a few easy tips for parents looking to help their children become ‘Academic Olympians’ from a young age:

Improve reading

  • Your child’s fluency in language is a key determinant of his reading ability. Talk to your child and explain to them what you are busy doing while shopping, cooking and working in and around the house or even while taking a walk. This will help enhance your child’s vocabulary.
  • Read to your child as often as possible. Language develops through repetition. You can read the same book over and over again before moving to another book.
  • Teach your children nursery rhymes to stimulate their brain and improve memory.

Improve concentration

  • Let your child build age-appropriate puzzles from a young age.
  • Progressively read longer and more in-depth stories to your children.
  • Let your child play outside. This often improves the child’s ability to concentrate more than when playing indoors.

“Mastering the fundamental skills of reading and concentration is important for every child’s academic growth and development,” says Du Plessis. “Regardless of whether they find it difficult to read and concentrate or not, it is essential that all children work hard, similar to Olympic athletes, so that they can transform into great Academic Olympians,” she concludes.

Edublox are leading specialists in cognitive development with 26 reading and learning clinics across Southern Africa. Edublox offers multisensory cognitive training, aimed at developing and automatising the foundational skills of reading, spelling and Mathematics. For more information about Edublox, visit www.edublox.co.za or contact 0861-EDUBLOX / 0861 338 256.

Moving the Mother City forward by creating opportunity for all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creating cities of opportunity for South Africans are shaped by fostering enabling environments and by inspiring innovation. Local and international speakers addressed these topics at the SA Innovation Summit 2016 lead-up event, the High Impact Series, which took place on Tuesday, 16 August 2016 at Workshop 17, V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. Pictured from left to right is Thomas Wittig (CEO of WITTIGONIA, Switzerland), Abbas Jamie (Director of Innovation at Aurecon Africa), Aurelia Albert (Innovate Durban), Dr Morne Mostert (Director, Institute for Futures Research), Lance Greyling (Director of Trade and Investment, City of Cape Town) and Lesley Williams (Master of Ceremonies).

“The question that needs answering is what can we do with what we have to make a difference and create a city of opportunity? By bringing together thought-leaders, innovators, enablers and industry leaders at the High Impact Series, the discussion has started around co-creating and moving South Africa’s beautiful Mother City forward,” said SA Innovation Summit Chairperson, Dr Audrey Verhaeghe.

Creative approaches, innovative thinking and working towards social transformation were all topics at the top of the agenda for the day. “To innovate is to change one’s perspective. Creativity is all about attitude and what I have come to learn is that to be able to think out of the box, one needs to be out of the box and venture into unfamiliar areas to find new inspiration,” explained Martijn Aslander, well-known Funtrepreneur and Life hacker from The Netherlands, during his discussion on Value Thinking.

Talking about urbanisation and finding creative yet appropriate solutions to bring together divided cities, Abbas Jamie, Director of Innovation at Aurecon Africa, commented: “We need to reflect on alternative roadmaps for the future to address poverty and inequality in South Africa. It is important to move away from working in silos when developing towns and cities, rather focusing on integrated development to offer unique African solutions.”

In order to address silo thinking, how businesses and communities think about development and problem solving needs to change. “New developments trigger new and unfamiliar dynamics, and the challenge is to bring about transformation amidst existing resources and infrastructure that might not be optimal. Therefore, to bring about innovation and creative thinking, people’s mental models need to evolve,” explained Thomas Wittig, CEO of WITTIGONIA.

Aurelia Albert from Innovate Durban shared success stories achieved by making the youth part of solving problems within their own communities. “Our aim is to drive programmes that will provide solutions to social ills. Our competitions and ongoing support have led to many creative ideas being implemented that are bringing about change in our communities.”

The day ended with a thought-provoking panel discussion focusing on what a city of opportunity means, how to attract skilled minds, bringing corporate businesses and SMMEs together and how to unleash innovation. “The best way to unleash innovation is to not talk about risk and problems, but rather opportunities. As soon as we think problem, our mind starts to eliminate possibilities. Don’t focus on the problem, but rather think about where the opportunity is and what needs to be done to get there. There is always more than one possibility, and the same future can be achieved in many ways,” said Dr Morne Mostert, Director: Institute for Futures Research.

Putting ideas into practice, the SA Innovation Summit hosted a 24-hour Hackathon from 19 to 20 August 2016 at The Barn Khayelitsha, Lookout Hill Centre, in Cape Town. “Bringing together the community to ignite and accelerate change, as well as linking idea makers with funders and service providers that can take their ideas to the market, are main goals of this Hackathon,” commented Verhaeghe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caption: SA Innovation Summit Chairperson, Dr Audrey Verhaeghe discussing the purpose and vision of the 24-hour Hackathon that took place in Khayelitsha from 19 to 20 August 2016.

Teams that participated in the Hackathon were challenged to find solutions to four key challenges, namely: to alleviate crime, improve access to clean water and sanitation, care for the elderly and improvement of settlements in the area.

What is important is to take the needs of the community into consideration when formulating solutions. This Hackathon used the design thinking approach to ensure that the ideas shared, will be applicable when taken to the communities,” explained Lisa Parkes from the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI).

For more information on the 2016 SA Innovation Summit taking place from 21 to 24 September 2016 in Ekurhuleni, please visit http://www.innovationsummit.co.za/, email info@innovationsummit.co.zaor call +27(0)82 708 1960.

GeoHeritage and GeoHost: Legacy of the International Geological Congress

The 35th International Geological Congress (IGC) is building a legacy for geoscientists all over the world – now and in the future. The congress is taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in South Africa from 27 August to 04 September 2016.

The IGC’s legacy comprises of two initiatives: GeoHeritage and GeoHost. Both of these initiatives focus mainly on promoting geosciences within the African continent. GeoHeritage showcases Africa’s amazing geological wonders to the world, while GeoHost grants geoscientists from disadvantaged backgrounds full access to the IGC.

GEOHERITAGE LEGACY

In order to draw the attention of IGC delegates to the remarkable geological superlatives and heritage of the African continent, a special 35th IGC commemorative book titled “Africa’s Top Geological Sites” will be available for all delegates. This volume, with 44 chapters and over 50 authors and co-authors, is a primary GeoHeritage legacy project of the congress.

“The objective of this unique publication is to assist in bridging the gap between geoheritage, geoscience, society and tourism” says Richard Viljoen, co-President of the IGC. “The book is also planned to act as a catalyst for the eventual establishment of an African Geoparks Network,” he continues.

A number of the sites described, including Table Mountain, the Vredefort Dome and the Cradle of Humankind, are in the process of being recognised as part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)’s Global Geoparks Network, which will attract geotourism from around the world. In celebration of the IGC, some of these sites will be captured on a special commemorative stamp collection that will be issued by the South African Post Office on 26 August 2016.

Another unique publication for the IGC, titled “The Great Mineral Fields of Africa”, aims to showcase the African continent’s extensive and varied mineral heritage. The book provides an overview of the continent’s unrivaled mining heritage, including the Witwatersrand Basin (the world’s greatest goldfield) the Bushveld Complex (which contains the world’s greatest deposits of platinum, chromium and vanadium) and the fantastic diamond deposits of Africa. The information provided will assist in attracting future exploration and investment to Africa.

GEOHOST LEGACY

“GeoHost is a support programme; it gives individuals who are not able to attend this prestigious global conference the opportunity to do so,” says Jeannette McGill, one of the global top 100 women in mining* and co-president of the IGC. “It is an important initiative, as it allows the congress to give back to the broader geoscience community,” she continues.

In order to be considered for the GeoHost programme, applicants needed to either be under the age of 35 years or hail from low-income African countries. A greater weighting was given to young applicants from developing economies. Thanks to contributions made by the African Union, international organisations, industry and corporate sponsors and various South African government departments, the IGC was able to provide additional funding for members of the South African academic geological community to attend.

The GeoHost programme is providing full funding for 81 successful applicants from all over the world – the funding includes airfares, accommodation, conference registration and a daily stipend for the individuals. An additional 66 delegates received the registration fees, while 18 other delegates received funding through the associated partnerships mentioned above.

Besides GeoHost, the IGC is also promoting geoscience to high school teachers in the Western and Eastern Cape by offering a Geoscience Information for Teachers (GIFT) workshop on 27 and 28 August 2016, at the Iziko Museum in Cape Town. The workshop will be presented by world-class geologists and will provide participants with hands-on activities and exercises in the geological field. The attending teachers will also receive educational material to spread their love for geology to their pupils.

“The 35th IGC is set to leave a lasting legacy, not just for the South African geological society, but for geoscientists all over the world,” says McGill. “We are proud to have the GeoHeritage and GeoHost initiatives as part of the Congress and urge the African and global geosciences community to join the IGC,” she concludes.

Registrations are open. Visit http://www.35igc.org/Verso/60/Registration to sign up.

For more information about the IGC visit http://www.35igc.org/. Join the 35th IGC Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/35thigc/.

*According to Women in Mining, https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/ru/Documents/energy-resources/100-global-inspirational-women-in-miningl.pdf

Cape Town business hits the mark with water and energy saving

South Africa has been hard hit by a devastating drought coupled with repeated calls for water saving as dams run precariously close to empty. While businesses, under consumer pressure, must do all they can to reduce water consumption and take their environmental responsibilities seriously, reductions in energy consumption is just as important.

One Cape Town based business that has prioritised sustainability is Peninsula Beverage Company (PenBev). The local bottler and distributor of The Coca-Cola Company products in the Western and Northern Cape, which employs well over 1 300 people, has achieved significant results in reduced water and electricity consumption and a 97.3% recycling rate.

“Between 2004 and 2015, we halved our water use ratio and reduced the effluent use ratio at the Parow manufacturing plant by 68%.  These water savings are the result of targeted adaptions to our processes that make production more sustainable,” says Johan Breytenbach, Safety Health Environment and Quality Manager.

PenBev now uses ionised air to ‘rinse’ PET plastic and recovers the water used in the filter backwash process and bottle rinsing. Other plant-wide measures such as foot operated hand wash basins, water saving nozzles on hoses and new crate washing technology have added to the significant reduction in water usage at PenBev. The company have not stopped to rest on their laurels but have contracted water sustainability consultants to further advise on additional measures that can be taken to reduce water usage at the plant.

“In order to operate sustainably into the future we are constantly looking at how to refine our processes to be as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible. We’re proud to have almost halved our energy usage at the plant since 2008,” says Dirk van Schalkwyk, Senior Process Engineer. Installation of solar panels (30 kilowatt-peak) on the roof and a reduction in pressure on the bottle blowing machine are two of the recent energy saving interventions at PenBev. Most pumps used to run the production line have been replaced with Variable Speed Drive (VSD) pumps, another reduction in electricity consumption at the plant. “The warehouse and production areas have energy saving lights that automatically switch the lights off if there is enough natural daylight,” explains van Schalkwyk. The next plan is to adjust cooling temperature on the bottling line for even more energy saving.

PenBev have also embarked on a cooler replacement programme at stores which stock their product. Fridge coolers are installed with an energy saving controller, LED tubes and energy efficient fan motors and compressors, representing an energy saving of up to 25%.

“We encourage all businesses, whether they are in production or not, to assess their water and electricity consumption by investing in sustainable processes. Besides the cost saving, we benefit from improved customer confidence in our product and the values we uphold as a business,” says Breytenbach.

To find out more about Peninsula Beverages, visit www.peninsulabeverage.co.za or contact 021 936 5500. PenBev is also on Facebook www.facebook.com/PenBev.