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By Cheryl Kahla

Content Strategist


PODCAST: Wits Hackathon winners plan to revolutionise mining industry

In episode 5, I talk to Wits Hackathon winner, Taryn Michael, about her team's solution to digitising South Africa's mining industry.


The University of Witwatersrand held its first-ever Wits Hackathon in 2022. Students had less than 24 hours to find a solution to a serious mining problem.

Most of the data pertaining to South Africa’s mining industry are still in paper format. The last survey dates back to the 1980s.

Wits Hackathon

Digitalisation in Mining

The students were presented with a broad statement – Digitalisation in Mining – and had to find a working solution to transform the mining industry.

I invited Taryn Michael, a member of the winning team, to join me on The Citizen’s Tech Check podcast.

Listen: Hackathon interview

The judge’s panel consisted of:

  • Hewlett Packard’s CTO Michael Langeveld,
  • Senior full stack software developer at TDigital, Tumelo Baloyi,
  • Principal Consultant at Daemon, Vim Olivier,
  • Wits lecturer, Sandile Thamie Mhamie Mhlanga,
  • And myself
Wits Hackathon 2022: Digitisation in Mining
Photo: Thenjiwe Kubheka

The winning team comprised of Wits students in computer science and mathematics: Taryn Michael, Eli Nimy, Mfundo Monchwe, Clarence Mantiya and Kurhula Manganyi.

Transforming the mining industry

They presented a solution to digitise mining documents to PDF format using optical character recognition (OCR).

Creative Mines also utilised text analytics to provide insight into mining documents and social media analysis to detect regions of interest in the sector.

Their model also identifies geographic locations with the highest and lowest mining potential, predicts the potential of specific regions and simulates different scenarios of natural resources, environment sensitivity and the availability of water.

Creative Mines walked away with a R15 000 cash prize and NEMISA courses worth R50 000.

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