Well-respected mining figure and consultant Roger Dixon has been honoured with the 2020 Brigadier Stokes award by the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM).
Having worked at mining houses Anglo American and Anglovaal, Dixon joined SRK Consulting in 2004 – becoming chairman of the South African company in 2009. He is the third SRK chairman to receive this accolade; it was awarded to Dr Oskar Steffen in 1995 and Professor Emeritus Dick Stacey in 2008.
Approaching his 50th year in the mining sector in South Africa, Dixon said the Brigadier Stokes Award – bestowed for its recipients’ outstanding and unique contribution to mining – was a proud moment.
“The mining business, and the country as a whole, is of course very different now to what it was when I arrived in Welkom as a graduate in 1971,” said Dixon. “But there has been one constant in my journey, which is the quality of the people I’ve worked with and the excellent teams that we have created.”
He said he was fortunate to work with some of the sector’s leading visionaries, which led to his key role in developing the country’s first mechanised underground gold mine – the Target mine in the Free State province – from 1995. This was regarded as a pioneering technological step into 21st century mining practice.
Ever a team player, he has long been an active participant in the SAIMM, initiating the South African Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves (SAMREC). He was also integrally involved in global efforts on this front, through the Committee for Mineral Reserves International Reporting Standards (CRIRSCO) – which he chaired in 2009 and 2010. In these efforts, he said, he worked ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with his expert colleague Dr Ferdi Camisani.
According to SRK managing director Vis Reddy, the company was inspired by Dixon’s passion to contribute to the future of the mining industry in a responsible and sustainable manner.
“For SRK, we are privileged to have someone like Roger as a senior leader and now as corporate consultant to our organisation, where he constantly challenges us to improve ourselves at every opportunity,” said Reddy. “During his tenure as chairman, he pointed us to the future of the mining industry; this included helping develop the next generation of mining consultants, embracing big data, technological advancement and highlighting the social challenges in the industry.”
He noted that SRK had its roots in mining, and this award to a third past-chairman cemented its strong association with recognised leaders in the sector.
“We want leaders in the mining industry to join our various teams and contribute towards making mining the positive force that it can be in South Africa,” said Reddy. “Technical development is vital to the mining industry, and we embrace in particular this element of what the Brigadier Stokes Award stands for.”
SAIMM President Mzila Mthenjane pointed to Dixon’s central role in the formation of the organisation’s Young Professional’s Council (YPC) – now a fully-fledged committee of the SAIMM.
“I have personally been inspired by professionals like Roger, which is why I’ve been committed to the SAIMM since graduating in 1992,” said Mthenjane. “I see his commitment to the country – closely aligned to a passion and care for the industry – as demonstrated through his many initiatives.”
He said the industry needed more leaders like Dixon, who could inspire South Africans to make a difference to society – making use of the country’s untapped mineral endowment.
Receiving the Brigadier Stokes Award at an online AGM of the SAIMM, Dixon paid tribute to the great teams he worked in, “forming strong friendships and fantastic memories”. He concluded by noting the many young South Africans who had chosen the mining and metallurgical industry as their future career – but who currently had been unable to find a job or have been retrenched. “It is to these young people that I dedicate this award,” he said.