Online portal opens access to local mining supply chain
Titled the Technology Availability and Readiness Atlas or TARA for short, the online portal was unveiled at the recently held seventh biennial conference of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
According to a statement, TARA is designed to assist the industry in achieving increased local content and manufacturing. It also allows original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and mining component suppliers to demonstrate their commercially available technologies.
Furthermore, its aim is to provide the mining industry with a central access point into the offerings of local OEMs, to showcase the technologies and equipment offered by local OEMs, and to create a central platform for suppliers and producers to access the local mining supply chain.
Beeuwen Gerryts, the Department of Science and Innovation’s (DSI's) chief director for technology localisation, beneficiation and advanced manufacturing, says the department expects the portal to raise awareness of locally-produced technology within the industry. “The idea of TARA is also rooted in making the country's mines safer, more efficient and cost-effective.”
Sietse van der Woude, senior executive for modernisation and safety at the Minerals Council of SA (MCSA), adds the council supports localisation, as long as it is globally competitive, feasible and practical.
Mandela Mining Precinct is a public-private partnership between the DSI and MCSA. Jointly funded by the DSI and MCSA, and managed by the CSIR, the precinct works towards the revitalisation of mining research, development and innovation in SA, to ensure the sustainability of the industry.
The TARA online database was developed by the precinct through its Real-Time Information Management Systems (RTIMS) research programme, reads the statement.
“As the Mandela Mining Precinct, we understand and are able to address the unique challenges associated with the merging of the distinct but mutually dependent worlds of research, testing, finding solutions and development, and manufacturing,” explains RTIMS programme manager Jean-Jacques Verhaeghe.
According to Verhaeghe, future development plans for TARA will involve expanding the product and services offering range to include not only mining equipment, such as haulage trucks, drills, etc, but also local RTIMS solutions, such as underground network communications, software and systems integration options, edge computing solutions, and positioning and tracking systems.
MEMSA was involved throughout the development process of TARA, providing input on the system from the perspective of OEMs.
“A considerable portion of capital and operational expenditure is spent on an annual basis, and OEMs need all the assistance they can get to satisfy this requirement,” states MEMSA director Ossie Carstens. “Fit, form and function of products is a key requirement for efficient and effective mining practices. TARA is a great enabler to achieve these targets.”
In addition to OEMs uploading their product offerings along with technical specifications and images, TARA allows adding of items that are still under development, with the aim of facilitating potential research, development and innovation partnerships between product developers and end-users.
The statement notes South African OEMs have already begun showcasing their offerings on TARA, with over 130 offerings from local mining OEMs currently available for viewing by mining houses, and more to be added on a regular basis.
Currently, MEMSA membership is a requirement for listing equipment on TARA. Enquiries can be made at email@example.com.