Midlands State University’s (MSU) Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering in collaboration with Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) won a joint research grant worth US$ 30 000 and 500 000 Pula whose aim is to solve challenges common to both Botswana and Zimbabwe’s mining sectors.
The research teams are focusing on developing nano-engineered flotation reagents for their respective mining sectors.
The project is funded by the Research Council of Zimbabwe and the Botswana Innovation Hub.
Currently, Zimbabwe and Botswana’s mining industries are importing their flotation reagents from overseas and neighbouring South Africa.
It is against this background that the research teams in both countries are working on generating highly efficient, low cost and environmentally friendly nano-enabled reagents from locally available cheap renewable materials and waste products.
The research outcomes will promote import substitution and thereby cut the huge fiscal import expenditure previously incurred in procuring flotation reagents.
Nanotechnology provides an opportunity to exploit novel properties of materials for the generation of low-cost and high-value products.
Seasoned Nanotechnologist and MSU Metallurgical and Materials Engineering department chairperson Tatenda Crispen Madzokere is the research team’s principal investigator.
Co-investigators working with Madzokere are MSU Metallurgical and Materials Lecturer Sheunopa Gumbochuma, Engineer Stanford Mudono of the National University of Science and Technology as well as Chief Director in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Professor Mercy Manyuchi.
The research team has already hit the ground running with the acquisition of waste agro-based products which are the primary raw materials for their research work.
“The same is also happening with our counterparts in Botswana. We look forward to generating revenue through the Intellectual Property (IP) and commercialisation of this research work. IP is an important tool for wealth creation for researchers, our institution and the country at large, “said Tatenda Crispen Madzokere.
Madzokere has also coopted MSU Metallurgical and Materials Engineering undergraduate students to enhance their research capacity and inculcate in them a culture of development-oriented research.
The research work has also received support from the mining industry with companies such as Mimosa Mining Company expressing their willingness to support the team when they eventually do field tests in the reagents development process.
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