This week, the Wits School of Mining Engineering hosted the official unveiling of the Danie Krige Display Cabinet in one of its state-of-the- art lecture rooms in the Chamber of Mines Building on the Wits campus. The collection includes bound volumes of all his research papers, as well as certificates and awards that Professor Krige received from numerous universities and dignitaries from around the world.
“The ‘Danie Krige Display Cabinet’ serves as a reminder of Krige’s contribution to the local and international industry and will afford researchers the opportunity to access his many awards and accolades, but also his research and documents as they wish,” says Prof Richard Minnitt, JCI Professor of Mineral Resources and Reserves at the School of Mining Engineering.
The Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment at Wits, Professor Ian Jandrell, spoke of the Universities delight at being able to house this living memorial to Professor Krige. “This is precisely what we need for our young students in these current times – a real privilege,” he said.
Widow of the late Professor Danie Krige, Ms Ansie Krige, who donated these items to the School and officially performed the ribbon cutting ceremony, spoke of her gratitude to the School for honouring her late husband. Their children also attended the occasion.
Professor Cuthbert Musingwini, Head of the Wits School of Mining Engineering thanked Mrs Krige for the donation and expressed his appreciation for her understanding of how items of this nature would encourage both current and future students to undertake research in the minerals industry. “The event is befitting to a luminary from our alumni,” he said.
The late Danie Krige is remembered for his outstanding contribution to the understanding of how mineralisation was distributed in the many new mines that were developed in the middle of the last century. His is a global household name to anyone who studied or practiced the science of evaluating mineral resources for mining purposes. ‘Kriging’ – named after Krige for his development of the process of applying mathematical statistics to the spatial evaluation of ore-bodies – has helped improve ore evaluation techniques and reduce the financial risk of investing in mining projects. The technique is now applied worldwide mainly in the fields of exploration, environmental analysis, petroleum, hydrology, agriculture and other disciplines.
His contribution has not gone unnoticed as evidenced by the many accolades bestowed on him during his life and on display at the Wits School of Mining Engineering. These include a DSc (Eng) degree from Wits in 1963, A DIng (honoris causa) degree from the University of Pretoria in 1981, the Southern Africa Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM) highest award – the Brigadier Stokes platinum medal in 1984, an Honorary Doctorate from Wits in 2010, his admission to the National Academy of Engineers in the United Sates and the Order of the Baobab from President Jacob Zuma in 2011. He sadly passed away on 23 March 2013 at the age of 93.
The unveiling ceremony was followed by the second Danie Krige Memorial Lecture. Entitled, “Memories of over 35 years of association with Danie Krige, my mentor and friend,” the Lecture was presented by Dr Eduardo Magri, from the University of Santiago, close friend, academic associate and co-author with Prof Krige on many publications. The event was held at the Wits Club and hosted by the Wits School of Mining Engineering, in conjunction with the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM) and the Geostatistical Association of Southern Africa (GASA).
Musingwini concluded the event quoting William Shakespeare from his Twelfth Night referring to Krige as an example of greatness: “Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them. Professor Krige had greatness written all over him.”
About the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Mining Engineering
The School is the largest English-speaking school of mining engineering in the world and boasts one of the most expansive programmes. With a student body in excess of 800 students, among which over a third are women undergraduates, and with 200 registered postgraduate students, Wits School of Mining Engineering offers world-class, accredited programmes for South Africa, Africa and the world. The School prioritises multi-disciplinary research into best-practice innovations and technology to forge a mining sector that is safer, more productive, environmentally and socially responsible, and economically successful.