Hiring: Short term consultancy, new tech in South Africa
In-Country Consultation on the Impacts of New Technologies in Mining in South Africa
The New Tech, New Deal project will examine the impacts of new technologies in the mining sector and propose pragmatic options for allowing the mining sector of the future to make its full potential contributions to sustainable development. The project is a partnership of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)/Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF), the Columbia Center for Sustainable Investment (CCSI), and Mining Shared Value/Engineers Without Borders Canada—the three partners that produced the 2017 study, Mining a Mirage. It also draws on other strategic partnerships and collaborations. The project is funded by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
Disruptions and technological innovations are fundamentally changing the face of the mining industry by reshaping competitive dynamics or completely altering their business and operating models. For the mining industry, most new technologies allow for operations that are greener and safer. Mine sites will have lower greenhouse gas emissions and fewer workplace accidents, and—after the initial up-front investment—will be more efficient with cheaper running costs. While a broad suite of innovations is needed to deliver improved productivity, safety, and other objectives, different types of technologies will have different impacts on host countries and their communities. Some technologies, like connectivity and green technologies, will provide opportunities for communities and the local economy, while others, such as automation, will result in significant drops in employment per unit of value as low- and mid-level skilled jobs are replaced.
Positive impacts will have to be enhanced and capitalized. Negative impacts will have to be managed, as their consequences may affect companies’ social licence to operate and overall relationship with host countries. The solutions do not lie in trying to prevent technological progress; this would make the affected operations less competitive internationally and would limit the many employee-related benefits of new technologies. But it does beg the question: If the implicit “deal” between mining companies and host countries is thrown off balance by reductions in employment, local procurement, and the associated GDP contributions, how can that balance be restored?
Purpose of This Consultancy
The purpose of this consultancy is to support the New Tech, New Deal project. The consultation is part of a series of five consultations (four national and one regional), each focused on slightly different questions appropriate to the location. The overall aim of the consultations is to inform the final report of the New Tech, New Deal project by adding depth and detail derived from a specific national or regional context. The consultant will assist by facilitating consultative in-country meetings and facilitating follow-up in-person interviews between the project organizers and selected stakeholders.
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