Coal and heavy resources company, Exxaro Resources, has pledged to improve the educational and technological sectors of its home country of South Africa. As part of its promise, the company has announced its collaboration with the University of Pretoria to tackle ongoing issues facing the mining industry and aid in the development of technology that, in theory, will allow these obstacles to be easily overcome. And innovation looks bright as, together, the partners have begun working to establish the very first Exxaro Chair in Extended Reality (XR) Technology.
Extended Reality Technology and what this means for the mining industry
Granted, it might sound a little futuristic and out of place when it comes to the mining sector, but XR Technology could very well be key to ensuring the future of the industry is streamlined, sustainable, and flexible. But what exactly is it? The computer technology that generates all real-and-virtual combined environments and human-machine interactions includes augmented, mixed, and virtual realities. Exxaro and the University of Pretoria are optimistic that they can fine-tune this technology to benefit the mining industry, and thus have a positive knock-on effect on South Africa’s educational and technological sector, going some way in fulfilling Exxaro’s promise.
Theoretically, the Exxaro Chair in XR Technology will ensure the tech can be adapted to suit the sector, as well as the technologies of choice to provide the appropriate solutions, contributing towards the increased sustainability and safety of future mining operations.
“We are proud to have such a strategic partnership with the University of Pretoria and to be amongst the mining companies to explore the potential benefits of XR Technology as a strategic intervention across its operations,” states Mxolisi Mgojo, CEO at Exxaro Resources. “Together, we are expanding upon the practical capabilities of XR in the South African context while supporting our need for the industry to embrace the opportunities of the fourth Industrial Revolution.
“The possibilities of what we could develop are really exciting.”
Exxaro helps South Africa to spur technological advancements
The Exxaro Chair in XR Technology programme will aid in the design and delivery of technological interactions with the virtual environment, while simultaneously offering user testing of solutions to ensure it resolves as many issues within its capacity.
“We are extremely excited for this partnership as part of our drive to support research that overcomes the obstacles associated with the fourth Industrial Revolution,” continues Mgojo. “We believe that XR Technology has immense applications for dealing with mining-related challenges and that can optimise the resources of companies like Exxaro.”
Alongside the transformation of the mining industry’s processes, South Africa’s contribution to the technological advancements looks set to stimulate industrial and innovative growth within the country, benefitting its education systems and, hopefully, securing future investment into a wider range of research projects to take place within the region.