South Africa and China celebrate milestone with new mineral resources joint research centre

These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

South Africa and the People's Republic of China celebrate another milestone today in joint cooperation that will enhance both countries' abilities to use science and technology for economic growth, in the important domain of mineral resource beneficiation. 

The Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, is currently in China, where she and her counterpart, Vice Minister Zhang Jianguo, today launched the Chinese node of the Joint Research Centre for the Development and Utilisation of Mineral Resources between South Africa and China.  The node is based at the Beijing General Research Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (BGRIMM). 

The launch of the Chinese node follows last week's successful launch of the South African node of the Joint Research Centre (JRC), which will be located at the mineral research organisation Mintek. Researchers from a number of universities and the CSIR will work together at the JRC.

New technologies that maximise the beneficiation of mineral resources while reducing environmental damage will benefit industries in both South Africa and China. The cooperation provides an opportunity for both countries to supply new cutting-edge technologies to other countries. The JRC represented the next logical step in advancing a research collaboration that was established between the parties in 2014 and which has benefited both countries. 

An Action Plan for South Africa and China to establish a series of joint research centres was signed during President Xi Jinping's state visit to South Africa on July 2018. These virtual centres will enable research institutes in both countries to deepen cooperation by sharing experience, expertise and resources in pursuit of jointly defined common strategic research and innovation agendas. 

This momentous occasion demonstrates the equal partnership between the two countries and represents an important milestone in the further strengthening of cooperation in science, technology and innovation between South Africa and China – an objective both Minister Kubayi-Ngubane and her counterpart are firmly committed to. 

"Both South Africa and China are committed to investment in strengthening research and innovation capacities for the mining and minerals sector, given the critical role this sector play in our economies, especially with regard to employment creation. South Africa is privileged to be able to work with a prestigious partner such as BGRIMM in this crucial domain," said Kubayi-Ngubane. 

She added that the overall political, economic and development partnership between both countries would be significantly strengthened. 

The Department of Science and Technology last week also signed a memorandum of understanding to work with China towards the establishment of another JRC, focused on the forestry sector. 

Kubayi-Ngubane said that, whether through exchange programmes for young scientists or our cooperation on the SKA radio telescope project, collaboration between South Africa and China in science, technology and innovation is going from strength to strength.

This release was first published 21 September 2018 by the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST)

Never miss an update from Science|Business:   Newsletter sign-up