Nababeep, Northern Cape: Copper 360 (Altx: CPR) today launched its School of Mining, a project designed to close the near-term skills deficit in the sector while futureproofing against forecast shortages skilled human capital.
The facility will be based in Concordia, in the Northern Cape.
Jan Nelson, chief executive of Copper 360 said that the Copper 360 School of Mining aims to minimise the risk of the diminishing availability skills for both the company and the greater industry. “Part of the reason for the shortage in available skills is that people don’t view the mining industry as a funky industry. You know, they don’t see all the potential jobs that are available in this industry”.
Nelson plans to change that. Apart from the school, Nelson said that the company will be reaching out to learners to pique their interest, and to make mining ‘cool’ again.
Initially the School of Mining will offer unaccredited, practical courses and workplace training while, simultaneously, developing courses for later, formal accreditation. Nelson said that Copper 360 has taken a long-term view of the project, and to grow the institution concomitant to the expected upward trajectory of the resources sector in the Northern Cape.
“If you look at the Northern Cape, it is not just the next mineral province of South Africa. It is probably one of the richest mineral provinces in the world. The resources are there, the people are there, but the people need skills to be able to, in this modern era, drive the mining advancement that we need.”
“If these skills are not developed, mining is at risk. The global scramble for minerals and natural resources to power the green economy cannot see South Africa left behind. The country cannot afford that. Yet, presently, even though we have substantial wealth in resources, if we don’t do upskill generation next, we are all going to lose out.”
Nelson cited Copper 360’s commercial rationale for developing the school. “We have a business that’s got a 300 year plus life, and we need to lay the foundation for the next 300 years. We have the minerals; we have the people. But if there is no skills development, we will not be competitive and we will not develop our business or the whole area to its full potential,” Nelson said.
The Copper 360 School of Mining, according to Nelson, is simultaneously a social and commercially driven initiative. “We need to attract, develop, and nurture talent. We have such incredible diversity and potential in South Africa, and companies must be leading initiatives to harness that.”