The Botswana International University of Science and Technology’s (BIUST) team of researchers visited Midlands State University’s (MSU) Gweru and Zvishavane campuses from 23 to 30 April 2022 on a familiarisation tour.

Midlands State University’s (MSU) Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering is collaborating with BIUST on a research project worth US$ 30 000 and 500 000 Pula, focusing on developing nano-engineered flotation reagents to solve challenges common to both Botswana and Zimbabwe’s mining sectors.

The project is jointly funded by the Research Council of Zimbabwe and the Botswana Innovation Hub.

The two research teams discussed progress and shared data analysis techniques on their collaborative Mineral Processing project titled ‘Development of Nano Engineered Flotation Reagents for the Mining & Mineral Processing Industry’.

The main purpose of BIUST’s visit was to meet with their Zimbabwean based collaborators led by the Principal Investigator and Chairperson of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering Department Mr Tatenda Crispen Madzokere, one of his Co-Investigators Mr Sheunopa Gumbochuma and four 3rd year undergraduate students working on the project.

The students working on the project are Messrs Blessing Zireva (Materials Engineering) and Munashe D Mutengwa (Metallurgical Engineering), Miss Lisa Chingandu (Metallurgical Engineering) and Miss Ester Saravoyi (Metallurgical Engineering).

The Zimbabwean research team also includes co-investigators; Chief Director in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Professor Mercy Manyuchi and Engineer Stanford Mudono of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the National University of Science and Technology.

The two Batswana visitors were Professor Gwiranai Danha, a Professor in Chemical Engineering and one of his co-investigators as well as Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) student Mr Poloko Nenguba.

Professor Danha is the Principal Investigator of the Botswana research team, which also includes researchers from other institutes such as Dr. Tlhabologo Kabomo from the University of Botswana (UB) and Dr. Isaac Beas from the Botswana Institute for Technology, Research and Innovation (BITRI), who could not make it for the trip.

On Tuesday the 26th of April, the BIUST visitors were invited to a special Faculty of Engineering Board Virtual Meeting chaired by the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Geosciences Dr Anthony Mamuse to discuss and explore other possible research collaborations beyond this project.

The meeting was also attended by the MSU Zvishavane Campus Director Professor Advice Viriri, Deputy Registrar Mr Shava and the Acting Executive Dean of Faculty of Arts Dr Viola Matunhu.

The visitors had the opportunity to tour MSU’s Research and Innovation Hub, Industrial Park and the National Pathology, Research and Diagnostic Centre as well as the Gweru campus library.

“We were warmly welcomed to this institution by almost everyone. We were well treated by the very sociable Campus Director and our hosts Mr Madzokere, and Mr Maregedze made us feel at home.

“We had the opportunity to share and exchange ideas, all in a good spirit that is meant to uplift the current knowledge. We have also identified areas for possible collaborations. We want to go beyond this project,” Prof Danha said.

The Principal Investigator of the Zimbabwean research team in the project, who is also MSU’s Metallurgical & Materials Engineering Department Chairperson Mr Tatenda Crispen Madzokere said that MSU was very excited to receive the BIUST research counterparts.

“Our research team is also very grateful for the highest level of support we are getting from the university management in this project. With regards to the progress of the project, quite some significant ground has been covered despite the covid-19 pandemic challenges.

“Our research team will make a reciprocal visit to BIUST to enable further data analysis and sharing of ideas after we have done the first phase of nano-reagent testing in June in a real industrial set-up at local mining companies. We all look forward to generating tangible research outputs which are in tandem with education 5.0”, said Mr Madzokere.

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