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Danie Krige display cabinet of memorabilia

- By Wits University

The School of Mining Engineering honoured the late Professor Danie Krige for his outstanding contribution - globally and locally - to science in geostatistics and mining economics, by officially unveiling of the Danie Krige Display Cabinet.

The cabinet, housed at the Chamber of Mines Building on the Braamfontein Campus West, and contains acollection of bound volumes of all his research papers, as well as certificates and awards that 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,” said Professor 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 about the University’s delight at being able to house the living memorial to Professor Krige.

“This is precisely what we need for our young students in these current times – a real privilege,” said Jandrell.

Ansie Krige, Danie’s widow, who donated these items 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 the widow 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,” said Musingwini.

The late Krige is a global household name to anyone who studied or practiced the science of evaluating mineral resources for mining purposes.

The technique is now applied worldwide mainly in the fields of exploration, environmental analysis, petroleum, hydrology, agriculture and other disciplines.‘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.

His contribution to the understanding of how mineralisation was distributed in the many new mines that were developed in the middle of the last century 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, a close friend, academic associate and Krige’s co-author on many publications. 

Musingwini concluded the event quoting from William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night: “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.”