Small Scale Mining & Beneficiation

Mintek supports the SMME sector through research and development of appropriate technologies, and by providing training and support so that development can be as sustainable as possible even though based on limited resources.

Ceramics Incubator

Mintek SSMB Industrial Minerals Unit’s role is to support and promote pottery manufacture and to facilitate the development of South African pottery enterprises, so that they realise their full potential. Traditional craft skills will be honed and integrated with contemporary pottery/ceramic techniques. Mintek’s Timbita Ceramic Incubator is also accredited at MAPPP SETA as a learning provider for the Skills Program: Craft Production.

With a need for employment and the availability of a clay mineral resource the principal aim is to develop viable craft centres and to position the informal pottery craft sector as a driver of economic growth, poverty alleviation and empowerment of people primarily in the rural areas of South Africa. This not only facili

tates the transfer of skills to people who have traditional craft skills, but also encourages the entry of all South Africans into the ceramic craft industry.

The framework for this intervention is provided by national priorities which talk to the following.

  • Job Creation,
  • Skills Development,
  • Supporting developments in the second economy & creation of SMME’s,
  • Providing sustainable livelihoods for poor rural communities,
  • Preserving and realizing value from indigenous knowledge systems
  • Promoting local beneficiation of minerals.

Training is conducted according to MAPPP Seta requirements. The beneficiaries that successfully complete the NQF Level 2 Skills Program and found to be competent can further develop their skills by progressing to the next level at a registered Seta learning provider.

When small communities do not have deposits of the more “exciting” minerals such as gold and diamonds in their immediate areas, they often have clay or sand. These materials can be beneficiated into saleable products, thereby creating a source of revenue for the community.

Often rural communities are using indigenous knowledge skills (IKS) to manufacture pottery. We are enhancing these activities by incubating them for commercialisation. Mintek SSMB has set up a ceramics incubator, called Timbita, where different clays can be tested for their suitability for making pottery or bricks. A clay database has been set up to record the geographical location of suitable types of clay that can be used by local communities. Potential potters are also allowed to become interns in the Timbita incubator where they are trained in the practicalities of ceramics and pottery. They are then able to use their creativity to make new designs.

Some of the products from the Timbita Incubator are shown below. For more product ranges, please see our Timbita Ceramic Catalogue.