Improving the consequences of mining as a case study for diversifying economy in the current legal framework: A Community of Practice (CoP) guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

This project investigates whether fibre-rich biomass can be used to remediate degraded land in a way that is economically feasible, leading to enhanced economic complexity, the establishment of a fibre micro-industry, higher value-add in output and job creation. To do this, several environmental, chemical processing, economic and legal questions need to be answered.

What is a CoP?

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Research Foundation (NRF) have awarded funding for Communities of Practice to existing Research Chairs under the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) funding instrument.

Logos of the CoP members

Communities of Practice (CoP) are defined as research-led alliances, in which established researchers collaborate to produce solution-oriented research findings with an intention to translate research outputs into tangible outcomes and influence policy development and implementation through communication of the necessary research findings. Collaborations through CoP are specifically formed to respond to the National Development Plan (NDP) by doing research that aims to find solutions to societal challenges. Therefore, CoP’s have the following objectives:

  • To form strategic partnerships within the local and international research community, with the aim of producing solution oriented scientific research findings.
  • To make research meaningful to society by translating research findings into actionable policy activities. It is envisaged that this new knowledge will afford South Africa a competitive edge internationally and contribute towards growing the economy of the country and improving the quality of life of South Africans.
  • To conduct evidenced-based research with an intent of influencing policy implementation.

The overall aim of a "Community of Practice" (CoP) is for Research Chair-led alliances to communicate their solution-oriented research findings in given forums to various stakeholders, government officials, practitioners, policy makers, academics and civil society, with an intent to provide solutions that can mitigate social and economic challenges faced by South Africa.

What is the context of this CoP?

Sustainable and inclusive economic growth is desperately needed BUT South Africa’s growth constrained by its inability to undergo structural transformation. There is a need for high productivity, high growth and an export-oriented agricultural sector, with a dynamic manufacturing sector that is both employment- and export-intensive, i.e. economic complexity.

Case study: Bioremediation and restorative agriculture in mining

Critical elements include:

  • Integrated land use planning
  • Mining land and water use in relation to agriculture and communities
  • Developing the framework for interdisciplinary work
  • Alignment with the NDP


National Research Foundation




Jennifer Broadhurst, Sue Harrison

More info is available on the Resilient Futures website.