Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are becoming more important than ever with rapidly changing technology in the mining industry – hence the return of the popular Wits Mining Institute (WMI) online GIS course.

“Understanding the critical need for GIS skills, we are delighted to announce the return of our highly successful online course – GIS for 21st Century Mining,” said Ahsan Mahboob, the head of the Sibanye-Stillwater digital mining laboratory DigiMine, WMI’s flagship project.

Ahsan Mahboob, head of Sibanye-Stillwater Digital Mining Laboratory hosted by Wits Mining Institute. Images supplied by WMI

Ahsan Mahboob, head of Sibanye-Stillwater Digital Mining Laboratory hosted by Wits Mining Institute. Images supplied by WMI

Mahboob said that the industry was rapidly advancing into the era of Industry 4.0 and is on its way to embracing Industry 5.0 – increasing the importance of GIS significantly.

“In these transformative times, our course serves as a comprehensive guide to understanding and implementing GIS,” he said. “The digital format of the course ensures that anyone, regardless of their geographical location, can seize this opportunity to reskill and upskill. In an industry where technological innovations determine success, mastering GIS can give professionals a considerable edge.”

Taking place from 16 to 18 October 2023, the course will cover applications and lessons from research being conducted at DigiMine. It will also include hands-on training in advanced GIS software to address complex challenges in mining and to ensure reliability and sustainability of mining in the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The course is aimed at people working in the mining sector, government and academia, and will cover applications throughout the mining value chain. Mahboob highlighted that GIS provides evidence-based and scenario-based spatial solutions and services for intelligent decision making.   

“GIS proficiency in aspects of mineral resource management will assist participants to improve efficiency, health and safety, profitability and sustainable utilisation of assets,” he said.

According to Dr Iqra Atif, senior lecturer in the Wits School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies (GAES) and the course instructor, mining is not just about digging into the earth.

“It is about digging into data to get insights and guide data-driven decisions,” said Dr Atif. “GIS is the compass that directs decision makers towards the sustainable future mining journey. This course is therefore about more than just skills: it is about imagining and shaping the next era of mining.”

Dr Iqra Atif – senior lecturer at the Wits School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies (GAES). Images supplied by WMI

Dr Iqra Atif – senior lecturer at the Wits School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies (GAES). Images supplied by WMI

She noted that GIS software, combined with associated technologies, is a cost effective and efficient way to do this – helping companies to turn more resources into reserves and to operate smart mines. The course content is tailored to meet the needs of today’s mining professionals.

“Participants will be given an introduction to GIS and a comprehensive understanding of GIS software,” she explained. “They will also gain proficiency in spatial data models and techniques for the collection, creation and editing of geospatial data.”

The course will provide expertise in designing and managing geo-databases, and in geospatial analysis for comprehensive information extraction – as well as skills in geo-visualisation, cartographical design and map layout for enhanced data representation.

“Join us in this transformative journey and seize the chance not only to advance your professional growth but also become a driving force in reshaping the future of responsible and prosperous mining,” urged Mahboob.

For information and bookings, contact Lileen Lee at email Lileen.Lee@wits.ac.za phone +27 (0) 11 717 7037 or mobile +27 (0) 82 829 6839.