Mining engineering students at Wits University will be better exposed to the contribution of modern survey technology in a range of mining disciplines, following the donation of equipment by Maptek Africa.

Laser scanner donation to keep Wits at leading edge

At a handover to the Wits Mining Institute (WMI) today, Maptek’s Nick Venter said the company’s I-Site 8800 Laser Scanner will give students valuable insight into how this technology can assist in functions like survey, geology, geotechnical and mining. It is applied in both open pit and underground environments. The value of the laser scanner, including all its auxiliary hardware and software, is in excess of R6 million.

“Using our technology combines long range laser scanning hardware with processing and modelling software for the mining industry,” said Venter.

He said the data collected by the scanner can be applied in various duties, including: stope and drive survey; drive mapping; rock bolt identification; geotechnical analysis; stockpile volumes; mine modelling; and identifying tailings dam deformation. The equipment scans a large number of cloud points very quickly, providing detailed data that can be analysed with three-dimensional modelling and analysis software.

WMI director Professor Fred Cawood emphasised that real-time visualisation of underground environments for risk management is very important for safe mining. 

“The ability to scan complex scenes and then add risk management content to the point cloud, allows for a ‘realness’ that other forms of augmented reality are not capable of,” said Professor Cawood. “It is in this context that the Maptek scanner will be put to very valuable use by the Wits Mining Institute.”

The WMI hosts the Sibanye-Stillwater Digital Mining Laboratory (DigiMine), the Centre for Sustainability in Mining and Industry (CSMI) and the Centre for Mechanised Mining Systems (CMMS).

Said Head of the Wits School of Mining Engineering, Professor Cuthbert Musingwini:  “The School of Mining Engineering deeply appreciates the Maptek laser scanner donation to the Wits Mining Institute because it will be beneficial for both teaching and research in geospatial techniques. This aligns well with our re-designed curriculum – which focuses on Mining 4.0.”

Venter noted that Maptek has maintained a long and healthy relationship with Wits, recognising the importance of strong partnerships between academia, the mining sector and its technology suppliers.

Seen signing the agreement: (l-r) Huw Thomas, senior lecturer at the Wits School of Mining Engineering, Nick Venter, outgoing general manager – Maptek Africa and Prof Fred Cawood, director of the Wits Mining Institute

Seen at the handover:

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(l-r) Huw Thomas, senior lecturer at the Wits School of Mining Engineering and Nick Venter, outgoing general manager – Maptek Africa

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(l-r): Prof Fred Cawood, director of the Wits Mining Institute and Nick Venter, outgoing general manager – Maptek Africa

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(l-r) The Maptek Africa team: (l-r) Ayanda Njotini, mine surveyor; Nick Venter, outgoing general manager –Africa and Vuma Lazola Nokwe, geotechnical engineer.


The Maptek 8800 scanner donated to Wits today

About the Wits School of Mining Engineering

The Wits School of Mining Engineering is located at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, a leading research-intensive university in Africa.

The School is recognised as one of the world’s top mining engineering schools, having been placed 13th in the QS World University Rankings in 2019. It is the only mining school on the African continent to feature in the top 50 schools worldwide. Its expansive programme includes: researching deep level mining techniques; developing new methods to ensure the safety and wellbeing of miners; researching new technologies in mechanised mining systems; and working to ensure the sustainability of the mining industry in the interests of all stakeholders. The School also has one of the highest growth rates of any of the engineering schools or departments at Wits, having seen a consistent increase in students to its courses. Its contribution to excellence in mining dates back over 120 years.

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About the Wits Mining Institute (WMI)

The WMI is located at Wits University, a leading research-intensive university in Africa.

The WMI boasts expertise in mining-related fields of study, dedicated to help forge a 21st century model of mining that is both sustainable and competitive. The future role of mining in the social economy depends heavily on innovation in every associated dimension. This includes: extractive technologies; the full range of up-stream and down-stream economic linkages; the distribution of socio-economic benefits; health and safety; environmental externalities; and post-mining economic sustainability. It will also require an enabling environment for the industry’s future. The primary focus of WMI is relevant, high-quality research that addresses multi-disciplinary and complex questions. The institute seeks to influence the world through generating new knowledge, influencing policy, building strategic partnerships and leading society.


About Maptek

At the forefront of innovative mining technology for over 35 years, Maptek values its people - experts in product development, engineering, geology and survey.

Maptek provides the world mining industry with innovative, high quality solutions for the business critical technical challenges that operations face every day. We make the most widely used, advanced and successful products in the industry, and that is all we do.

Our products span mining types and commodities, providing the link between the geological, spatial design, execution and measurement details of a mining operation and the business outcomes and profitability of our customers.

We strive to build collaborative and productive relationships with our users. We work to develop and deliver innovative, technically robust solutions to meet their needs.


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Munesu Shoko
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

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Bennie Venter
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

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