From left to right: Martin Sweet managing director of Primestars, Karabo Motshane winner of the Primestars ’Step Up 2 a Green Start’ Competition, Faith Khanyile chairperson of Primestars, Petu Ndlovu winner of the Primestars ’Step Up 2 a Green Start’ Competition and Mkhuseli Faku chairperson YouthStart Foundation. Photo: Supplied
From left to right: Martin Sweet managing director of Primestars, Karabo Motshane winner of the Primestars ’Step Up 2 a Green Start’ Competition, Faith Khanyile chairperson of Primestars, Petu Ndlovu winner of the Primestars ’Step Up 2 a Green Start’ Competition and Mkhuseli Faku chairperson YouthStart Foundation. Photo: Supplied

Two 17-year-old students win competition with creative start-up idea to turn mine waste into building material

By Xolile Mtembu Time of article published Dec 16, 2021

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TWO students from Sir Pierre van Ryneveld High School in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni, Petu Ndlovu and Karabo Motshane walked away as the winners of the Primestars “Step Up 2 a Green Start” Competition.

The pair had the winning idea of converting hazardous mine waste into building materials such as bricks.

Motshane, 17, said what interested him in the competition was his desire to change the way global warming was affecting the world.

The learners conducted research into the mine waste and found out it was dangerously impacting the community. They settled on using tailings (ground rock and process effluents that are generated in a mine processing-plant) for their venture.

Mine waste can be extremely hazardous and poisonous, so the pair collaborated with their investor Omnia, a chemical manufacturing company which developed a neutraliser to make using the mine waste safe.

“The mines in Mpumalanga affect the communities around them. We decided it could be possible to turn that mine waste into building material,” Motshane said.

Ndlovu, who is also 17-years old, said he was happy and surprised when he found out that they had won.

The pair plans to continue to build their start-up and create more building materials out of the recycled items.

Ndlovu and Motshane won a collection of prizes, including bursaries from Regent Business School, Richfield and the University of Johannesburg and a cash reward from Primestars. The theme of the competition was centred around entrepreneurship and climate change, and how sustainable businesses as start-ups can positively impact climate change.

Regent Business School Associate director Vikesh Rampadarath said, “We see it as necessary to help with the issue of climate change like many other companies, and look at ideas for new businesses that are innovative and cutting-edge, such as start-ups. We want to add value to sustainability, and having a greener future from an educational and developmental perspective as a higher learning institute.”

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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