The research introduces the fourth industrial revolution philosophically, exploring the application of innovation and automation in broad terms and the Internet of Things (IoT) specifically within the mining industry. It explains the business and societal motivation for such interventions, highlighting some of the key benefits. It further explores the inadvertent risks, some of which have already manifested in mining applications and others which can be inferred from other industrial and social applications.
A critical analysis is conducted of the application of the South African Mine Health and Safety Act and Regulations on such applications in the mining environment, as well as considering key other pieces of South African legislation. A comparative analysis with Australian legislation confirms that Western Australia has recognised the need for regulation and have started regulating, primarily mining automation, at least. Through these analyses it is established that a legislative vacuum exists, despite the general application of many requirements in relation to safety considerations during the utilisation of IoT applications.
The paper concludes by recommending collaboration between the Department of Mineral Resources and the Chamber of Mines to seek ways to lead legislative and regulatory developments in this space in order to enable the sustainability of the South African mining industry. In particular, the research suggests the emphasis should be to legally encourage and permit the implementation of IoT solutions in the mining industry in as many instances as reasonably possible, whilst consecutively addressing the new and emerging risks created through such.
Mini Dissertation (LLM)--University of Pretoria, 2017.