Technology, digital evolution and innovation is a key enabler to our three-dimensional strategy. Innovation is core to the delivery of our strategy and is reflected in the addition of the i (for innovation) in our iCARES strategy.
As a digital-first organisation, Sibanye-Stillwater aims to uphold global best practice in digital technology adoption, while mitigating against ICT risks. This material matter is about the need to stay competitive and to reshape the way we work if needs be, as reflected in the strategic differentiator Inclusive, diverse and bionic.
In 2022, we spent R125 million (US$7.6million) on strategic innovation, digital transformation and technology adoption initiatives, of which R72.6 million (US$4.4 million) was distributed via the BioniCCube capital allocation mechanism. (R55 million (US$3.7 million) in 2021).
New senior leadership was appointed to take charge of the three portfolios within the Group Technical and Innovation function with the following objectives
- Innovation: establish an innovation culture and capability that helps embed innovation as a value
- Digital transformation: embed digital as an enabler to our strategic objectives
- Technology development and adoption: drive industry leading technology development and adoption in support of our strategic objectives
Progress is already evident in the development and strategic repositioning of the three portfolios.
Strategic innovation initiatives
We have partnered with the Wits Mining Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, to develop a state-of-the-art digital mining laboratory. The DigiMine Laboratory is a one-of-a-kind laboratory, complete with a mock mine, that simulates actual underground mining conditions and enables researchers to develop and test digital systems in a simulated environment to design the mine of the future.
DigiMine is a multidisciplinary research programme, combining skills from various disciplines. Among other objectives, DigiMine is focused on digitally-enabled health and safety and seismicity research.
2022 marked the eighth year of the partnership, over which time Wits has received R68.5 million in funding from the Group, with a further R5.5 million committed for 2023.
Learn more at www.wits.ac.za/wmi/digimine/
Under a similar partnership model to that of DigiMine, Sibanye-Stillwater is funding Simulacrum, a state-of-the-art training facility within the mining faculty at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). The aim of the facility is to enhance the practical experience of undergraduate students within the mining faculty, through virtual and augmented reality training solutions.
To date we have contributed R38.5 million to this partnership, with a further R5.5 million committed for 2023.
Learn more at www.uj.ac.za
Sibanye-Stillwater is an active participant in the Mandela Mining Precinct (MMP) which is a public-private-partnership involving government and several other mining companies facilitated by the Minerals Council of South Africa and the Department of Science and Industry.
In 2022, the MMP funded centre of excellence programmes for Wits and UJ. Wits was allocated the centre of excellence programmes for Real Time Information Management Systems and the Successful Adoption of Technology Centred Around People initiatives (RTIMS and SATCAP respectively). UJ was allocated the centre of excellence programme for the Longevity of Current Mining initiative. We are proud to be part of these initiatives, creating shared value through research and development.
The iXS initiative is a Sibanye-Stillwater-led investment programme that supports innovators and entrepreneurs. It has three primary objectives: develop non-core expertise to solve mining-related challenges through entrepreneurial and innovative solutions; progress technology development to proof of concept level through seed funding; support startup businesses (focusing on mining-related technology) to become commercially viable and globally applicable.
iXS comprises two key components
- An incubation and development centre focused on entrepreneurial management and innovation skills; including internship programmes (for innovators and entrepreneurs)
- An investment programme to help startups scale up their operations; capital investment of up to US$1 million for early stage opportunities and US$5 million for later stage opportunities
In its first year (November 2021 to November 2022), iXS achieved: the establishment of a full cohort of entrepreneurs and innovators; a pipeline of 19 early stage investment opportunities; investment in two early stage ventures.
Besides benefitting budding entrepreneurs, iXS is helping to establish an ecosystem of partners to solve industry challenges. The initiative also helps bridge the gap between concept and implementation for certain research from adjacent programmes. iXS is managed in partnership with an external service provider, but is wholly funded by Sibanye-Stillwater.
Digital enablement continues to explore novel mechanisms to establish effective capability and capacity in support of digital adoption, without compromising organisational flexibility. In 2021, we developed international partnership models and infrastructure, intended to support the adoption of novel and competitive digital solutions.
The development considers two imperatives as fundamental concerns: the ability to execute with agility, while maintaining a flexible organizational structure; and the ability to deploy internationally across our organisation, as and when required, in order to digitally integrate and optimise current and new assets.
This development follows an extensive and objective review of our digital strategy, capability, and capacity in 2021 which has informed the design of a flexible model in H1 2022. If successful, group-wide consolidation and planning will be executed in H2 2022 for rollout in 2023.
The SA Innovation League is a collaborative initiative between Innocentrix, the Milpark Business School and the Da Vinci Institute’s Technology Top 100 (tt100) Awards, which assesses organisations’ innovation management strategies and practices. At the 2021/2022 league, the approach, for the first time since inception in 2014, aligned with the series of ISO/SANS 56002 Innovation Management Standards. Sibanye-Stillwater announced on 20 Many 2022, that it achieved second place in the 2021/2022 awards, competing in the Large Organisation category.
- Partnership with Heraeus Precious Metals, a leading provider of precious metals products and services, including refining and recycling
- R&D and commercialisation of novel, PGM-containing catalysts for Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolysis to produce green hydrogen
- Current catalysts contain platinum and relatively high loadings of iridium – one of the most scarce PGMs, with limited availability
- Project aims to develop a new, robust solution looking at the substitution of iridium with other metals, as well as developing more sophisticated metal oxide structures
- Success would result in a more sustainable and cost-effective catalyst that encourages the adoption of PGM-containing PEM electrolysers and enables a multi-GW green hydrogen ecosystem
Please note that some of the links below are not hosted by Sibanye-Stillwater. Sibanye-Stillwater is not responsible for the content or availability of third-party websites.
- Integrated report 2022: Harnessing continuous innovation
- May 20, 2022: Media release: Sibanye-Stillwater awarded second place in SA’s Innovation league rankings for Large organisations
- January 26, 2021: Media release: Sibanye-Stillwater further extends and increases investment in tertiary education
- January 19, 2021: [Seeking Alpha] Sibanye Should Benefit From Hydrogen Wars Thanks To Its Iridium Exposure
- December 09, 2020: [Mining Weekly] Froneman promotes digital first strategy for mining companies
- December 08, 2020: Media release: Sibanye-Stillwater CEO presents at the Wits DigiMine digital technology seminar
- October 19, 2020: [Engineering News] Hydrogen fast-tracking will be much quicker than imagined – Sibanye-Stillwater
- August 21, 2020: Media release: Sibanye-Stillwater and Wits University collaborate on face shields for frontline health workers
- March 21, 2020: Media release: BASF launches a new Tri-Metal Catalyst, developed in collaboration with and sponsored by Sibanye-Stillwater and Impala Plat