By: Tshegofatso Teseletso
Research Council Zimbabwe (RCZ) and Botswana Digital Innovation Hub (BDIH) recently descended the BIUST campus for appreciation of the advancement of the projects that they have collaborated with the Palapye based institution on, and to map a way for-ward on further progression of the ventures.
This alignment which operates under the Science Granting Council Initiative seeks to instigate and implement a collaborative research project in Mining and Mineral Technology between the two countries. The role of BIUST is to do research & develop commercial products that will heighten the Mining and Mineral Technology sector across the globe.
“It is a great honour indeed to be hosting you here at our campus so that we can be able to touch base with each; to compare notes and take stock of our collective achievements so far,” said the BIUST Deputy Vice Chancellor-Research Development and Innovation Prof. Abraham Atta Ogwu when he welcomed the distinguished guests. He went a step further to applaud BDIH and RCZ for playing a pivotal role in propel-ling the appetite for research in the region.
Prof. Ogwu unraveled that ZRC and BDIH have funded a jointly implemented project between BIUST and Zimbabwe University on coal benefaction in support of the metal-lurgical industry in Botswana and Zimbabwe, which obviously may extend to other parts of the region.
“The project seeks to develop a process which can produce coke from Botswana and Zimbabwe coals, and we anticipate that it will go a long way in growing and consolidating the industrial capacities of our economies in safe and clean benefaction of our coal resources,” he explained.
According to the Deputy Vice Chancellor-Research Development and Innovation, this project seeks to assess the feasibility of producing metallurgical coke through the blending of various Botswana and Zimbabwean coals to improve their cok-ing properties.
“Given the abundance of coal reserves in both Botswana and Zimbabwe, the innovative coal washing processes which are more likely to be developed through this pro-ject gives me the confidence to anticipate that a much pool of beneficiaries, including small scale miners, also stand a huge chance to gain more access into the mainstream coal production and coal export industries,” he said.
Furthermore, he delineated that metallurgical coal is a critical component in the production of steel, which also is consumable in infrastructure development and will cer-tainly provide our economies with the much-needed push to facilitate economic growth.
Prof. Ogwu emphasized and implored that the resultant research output from this project should not be underestimated. “I trust that project co-principal investigators will put all of us to speed on the milestones achieved so far and the challenges if any, and how we can collectively act to mitigate against them,” he concluded his speech.
In response Botswana Digital Innovation Hub’s Director of Innovation and Technology, Dr. Budzanai Tacheba stipulated that their union with BIUST came after a thorough call for proposal towards bilateral research was made in which BIUST splendid proposal has rendered them to victory. In brief, Dr. Tacheba indicated that this initiative stands to create collaboration and pave a lucrative way to further the mineral technology sector. “We are here to appreciate what our outstanding researchers are doing on the ground and to map the way forward to ensure that we meet our project completion timeframe,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Research Council, Finance & Administration Manager Ms.Rudo Taman-gani applauded BIUST researchers both staff and students engaged in these projects for their dedication and great progress made. She further indicated that coal is the right tool to use to reclaim African mining sites; on basis that high-quality coal is essential for steel production and both Botswana and Zimbabwe have large coal deposits. “BIUST’s proposal is marvelous in the sense that it is fixated on global industrialization evolvement,” said the passionate Ms.Tamangani said.
In addition, Ms.Tamangani elucidated that the expectation is for the researchers to merge the two uniquely diverse coal deposits from the two countries, to produce commercial products that are in high demand like steel, cooking coal, and more. Addressing the investment return Ms. Tamangani explained that the duo has a lot of coal deposits and the research result would lead to large production of steel hence widen-ing industrialization.
The visitation took an adventurous route, as patrons got to explore the progress rate on specific projects they have ventured into with BIUST. The distinguished guests got to fully express and get first-hand information from staff and students who are en-gaged in these projects on challenges and the progress rate of these projects.
The exploration was summed up by a discussion amongst the sponsors, researchers, Deans, and Directors of the institution. The mandate of this discussion was to map a way forward in order to ensure the successful completion of these projects within the given timeframe. Challenges and strategies were brainstormed and the team con-curred to adjust to these strategies moving forward.
Zimbabwe Research Council’s Acting Executive Director Dr. Timothy Marango appreciated BIUST researchers, Deans, and Directors for their dedication and the remarkable progress they have made thus far. He implored all team members to continue to engage and work in unity towards the success of these impactful projects.