Liquid Intelligent Technologies’ Chief Business Officer for the Southern African Region, Lorreta Songola has highlighted the need for better connectivity in the mining sector in the wake of Covid 19; which has seen businesses rely more on technology to remain viable.
The Covid-19 pandemic saw the reality of digitalization of operations and working from home spreading across the world and the southern African region was not left untouched in this wave.
Songola was speaking on a panel discussion under the topic ”Operating in a post COVID world: Health and Safety under Scrutiny” at the Africa Mining Forum event alongside other renowned African technocrats.
The forum which was held this week was attended by experts from across the region.
She said Covid-19 had left businesses and individuals with no option but to intensify their digital presence.
“Because they now see the value, we are now hearing mines actually raising concern about lack of connectivity in some areas. Today I really want to zero in on the mines because I have been given that chance. The mines are present in Zimbabwe and they are present in the Democratic Republic Of Congo and connectivity has been an issue for most mining firms so this is a good opportunity to talk about these issues.”
She added that in most mines, the systems in use are not compatible with the latest technologies and emphasized the need for the mining sector in Africa to embrace modern technologies.
“There is need for our mining companies to graduate from old technology to current modern technology,” said Songola.
Most mining firms are still using radio systems as a way of communicating and this is subject to interference.
She therefore called on mining firms to invest in new technology so that they can benefit from real-time information management.
Through the use of modern technology they can improve on their monitoring and mitigation of incidents.Songola’s call comes at a time when several tragedies have occured at mines across the country.
” We need to ensure that the conversations we are having now are bordering around using technology and connectivity to mitigate the challenges we have with information sharing in this time of Covid-19,” said Songola.
Simon Doleschal the Head of Competence at the Centre for the Mining and Mineral Resources , German Chamber of Commerce, South Africa shared Songola’s sentiments saying connectivity is key if any mine is to be competent and be able to meet its objectives considering mining provides the large chunk of GDP in Africa.
Other speakers on the panel included Carla Clamp , who is a Director and Expert on Governance, Risk Management Internal Audit Sustainability, BDO, SA alongside Charles Deacon, the Business Development Manager of Draeger, South Africa and Jeffrey Ngobeni, the Senior Manager Social Performance and Development for Anglo-American, SA.