Material Network


The Witwatersrand, Johannesburg’s gold basin, crosses the city from West to East. Historically its landscape has been dominated by mine dumps. However, nowadays most of these tailings are being re-mined to retrieve the gold that old technologies could not extract. The west rand, especially, the section referred to as the Soweto cluster, is now under a project for its re-mining. Remining brings new opportunities for raw materials apart from gold and other precious metals. Gold sand dumps and slime dams are rich in minerals such as SiO2, Al2O3, CaO and Fe2O3, which make them very attractive for the production of construction materials since these oxides are the main constituents of cement as well as of key alkali-activated binders. This map shows the main tailings within Soweto’s proximity. The project seeks to create a network of Mine Waste cement-based products such as bricks and 3D printed houses as a solution for the housing shortage and the increasing backyarding practices in the area. The raw material in the tailings will be transformed and fitted back into the city’s growth.


Sanne van den Breemer
Filip Geerts
Ilmar Hurkxkens

Director of Studies

Salomon Frausto


Nigel Alarcon(MX), Pooja Bhave(IN), Mariano Cuofano(IT), Fabiola Cruz(PE), Alonso Díaz(MX), Xiaoyu Ding(CN), Ines Garcia‑Lezana(ES), Sandra Garcia(ES), Martino Greco(IT), Sebastian Hitchcock(ZA), Alejandra Huesca(MX), Yesah Hwangbo(KR), Takuma Johnson(US), Yi-Ni Lin(TW), Paola Tovar(MX), Cristhy Mattos(BR), Preradon Pimpakan(TH), Adi Samet(IL), Raymond Tang(US), Kulaporn Temudom(TH), Danai Tsigkanou(GR), Jesse Verdoes(NL), Rongting Xiao(CN)