Affirming the commitment of government and industry to localisation in support of increased local manufacturing, the Mandela Mining Precinct and Mining Equipment Manufacturers of South Africa have launched the Technology Availability and Readiness Atlas (TARA).

The launch took place as part of the 7th biennial conference of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria on Thursday, 12 November.

The Mandela Mining Precinct is a public-private research, development and innovation partnership between government – represented by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) and Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) – and industry represented by the Minerals Council South Africa. The Precinct is jointly funded by the DSI and the Council.

TARA is an online portal of locally manufactured mining equipment 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.

The portal aims to provide the mining industry with a central access point into the capabilities and 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.

The DSI's Chief Director for Technology Localisation, Beneficiation and Advanced Manufacturing, Beeuwen Gerryts, said 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," he said.

Sietse van der Woude, Minerals Council South Africa's Senior Executive for Modernisation and Safety, said the Council supports localisation "as long as it is globally competitive, feasible and practical".

The TARA online database was developed by the Mandela Mining Precinct through its Real-Time Information Management Systems (RTIMS) research programme, and can be accessed at https://miningtara.co.za/.

The Precinct was uniquely positioned to develop TARA, as it drives mining research, development and innovation collaboration among stakeholders ranging from organised labour, researchers, product developers and manufacturers to government, mining companies and industry bodies.

"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," explained RTIMS Programme Manager Jean-Jacques Verhaeghe.

TARA was designed to enable the extension of the technology and product lifecycle and its management from conceptual and applied research to product commercialisation and go-to-market. "The beauty lies in the fact that the loop, from commercial product back into research, is enabled by the different stakeholders along the journey," Verhaeghe said.

Mining Equipment Manufacturers of South Africa (MEMSA) was involved throughout the development process, 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," said 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."

MEMSA Board Chairperson Freddy Mugeri said TARA was a long-awaited development in the journey to reindustrialise southern Africa through manufacturing equipment inputs for the mining industry.

"It answers all the questions procurement managers and other stakeholders may have regarding who is a locally owned manufacturer? What do they manufacture and how do we find them? Can they help us achieve our Mining Charter goals? The benefit of exposure provided by TARA will result in growth of the local mining equipment manufacturing sector and the creation of numerous jobs in South Africa and the rest of the African continent," Mugeri said.

Verhaeghe said future development plans for TARA involved expanding the product and services offering range to include not just 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.

A research initiative involving MEMSA and TARA was recently launched to provide enhanced information about OEMs, original technology manufacturers (OTMs) and their technology, product and service offerings. Together with a mining supply landscape study facilitated by MEMSA in 2019, the outcomes of this work will provide a clearer understanding of the local OEM/OTM landscape.

The TARA platform is positioned to foster the modernisation and mechanisation of mining in South Africa. The platform allows OEMs to upload their product offerings, along with technical specifications and images, according to set data fields aligned with mining extraction value chain processes. OEMs can also add their own choice of features and specifications, lending the system greater flexibility.

TARA also allows for the 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.

South African OEMs have already begun showcasing their offerings on TARA. Among others, Rham Equipment has successfully uploaded 35 items, Fermel has uploaded 23 items, while Aard Mining Equipment has 17 items on display. Currently, over 130 offerings from local mining OEMs are available for viewing by mining houses, with more items being added on a regular basis. The listings already demonstrate the range, quality and sophistication of mining equipment that is locally available.

Currently, MEMSA membership is a requirement for listing equipment on TARA. Enquiries can be made at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Issued by the CSIR, MEMSA, Minerals Council South Africa, and Department of Science and Innovation

For enquiries, please contact:

Reyhana Mahomed

Mandela Mining Precinct

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073 473 0398

Elizabeth van Vuuren

MEMSA

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083 235 1233

Thabang Setlhare

Department of Science and Innovation

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072 659 9690