SAAE Academy Lecture 2016

Prof Cyril O’ Connor delivered the first presentation of SAAE’s 2016 Academy Lecture on 1 December 2016 at Kelvin Grove in Cape Town. The topic of the lecture is “The Challenges Facing the South African Mining Industry” and the lecture will once again be presented in other centres.
A summary of his lecture can be read here.

Academy Lecture 2015 

The 2015 Academy Lecture “Karoo dilemmas: Prospective shale gas development in the Karoo – What is the outlook?” was presented by Prof Maarten de Wit of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU). The lecture was presented at the University of Stellenbosch in October 2015, at the University of Natal in April 2016, at the Development Bank of Southern Africa in Gauteng in May 2016 and in September 2016 at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. All the presentations were well attended.

Prof Maarten de Wit is a geologist and director of the Africa Earth Observatory Network (AEON) at NMMU and is presently a visiting professor at the University of Southampton, UK. He is an honorary Fellow of the Geological Societies of London, UK, and of the USA, and a founder member of the Academy of Science of South Africa.

In the lecture Prof De Wit explored the receiving environment of the Karoo in terms of its geological, environmental and broader social context, which is unique, both internationally and within South Africa; and encouraged  “are we ready?” discussion that locates the ongoing process and broader shale gas debate in the historical context of South Africa’s hydrocarbon legacy, as well as the more contemporary socio-economic context and energy imbalances across southern Africa, at a time when there is a dire need to overcome insufficient local technical capacity and lack of social trust to ensure that shale gas might become a positive game-changer. The decision-making process to pursue or prohibit shale development in South Africa revolves around regulatory and legislative reforms that are strongly connected to a complex mix of competitive issues.