Completion of new library at Wits University marks Gold Fields support for South African engineering

In November 2012, Gold Fields and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) officially opened the Gold Fields Engineering Library at the Wits Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment in Johannesburg, South Africa. This marked the completion of a key project under Gold Fields three-year, R18 million (US$2.2 million) sponsorship of the Wits School of Mining Engineering. The Gold Fields Engineering Library incorporates a range of modern features to enhance the learning environment for engineering students, academics and researchers. This includes, for example, state-of-the-art computer workstations, a fully equipped ‘electronic classroom’ and convenient access points for persons with disabilities

This support is particularly important in the context of the acute skills shortages currently facing the mining sector at both a domestic and global level. Gold Fields aims to increase the capacity of Wits to train talented mining engineers to the benefit of the South African mining sector as a whole. Currently, about 70 mining engineers graduate from Wits every year, but there are plans to raise this number to around 100 over the next five years.

Additional projects funded through Gold Fields sponsorship of Wits include:

  • Investment in modern mining technology at the Mine Design Computer Laboratory
  • Significant upgrading of the Rock Engineering Laboratory
  • Establishment of the Gold Fields Associate Lectureship programme, which enhances the salaries of mining engineering lecturers

In addition, Gold Fields is currently funding bursaries for 13 undergraduate and several postgraduate students at Wits – as well as providing vacation work for all students who do not receive bursaries.

Gold Fields also has a three-year, R8 million (US$977,000) sponsorship agreement with the Department of Mining Engineering of the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

These flagship agreements with Wits and UJ are in addition to well-established funding channels, through which Gold Fields has supported various South African mining faculties over several decades.

“We are hugely appreciative of the investment made by Gold Fields. It is an example of how a creative partnership between Wits and the private sector brings together our traditional strengths that enable direct benefits for our current students. More importantly, this investment will go a long way towards securing the future of the next generation.”

Professor Loyiso Nongxa, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Univers