Original Research

The socio-economic effects of mechanising and/or modernising hard rock mines in South Africa

Hlangabeza Gumede
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 21, No 1 | a1848 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v21i1.1848 | © 2018 Hlangabeza Gumede | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 March 2017 | Published: 16 May 2018

About the author(s)

Hlangabeza Gumede, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa


Background and aim: This article aims to explore stakeholders’ views on the potential effects of modernising hard rock mines in South Africa.


Methods: This objective was achieved through eliciting and bringing together the views of different stakeholders. Different stakeholders were interviewed using qualitative research methodologies. The sample demographics were fairly representative and ranged from operators to executives and from employee to employer representatives. The main form of data collection was one-on-one face-to-face interviews.


Results: One of the major findings of this research is that stakeholders have different levels of understanding of mechanisation and modernisation. The levels of understanding were found to be proportional to the levels of education.


Conclusion: There seems to be general support for mechanisation and modernisation among the participants. The identified socio-economic challenges and benefits were relatively similar and aligned among participants. The main difference, however, pertained to the depth and scope of the problem or opportunity as perceived by different participants. Interviewees were also unanimous in identifying the social-economic benefits of mechanisation; these were in line with those identified in the literature, namely benefits in occupational health and safety issues, efficiency, costs and improved life of mines. Furthermore, participants viewed mechanisation and modernisation as an opportunity to reskill themselves and to improve operations and quality of life. More importantly, stakeholders seemed to share a common vision and interest of the future; as such, they were able to see beyond their constituencies and interests.


mechanisation; socio-economic effects; stakeholders


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