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Daniel Gerhardus Krige

The Order of the Baobab in

Daniel Gerhardus Krige Awarded for:
His immense contribution to and achievement in the field of engineering, his contribution to the field of science and geostatistics and for being an excellent ambassador for South Africa in the science and engineering field.
Profile of Daniel Gerhardus Krige

Prof. Daniel Krige was born on 26 August 1919 in Bothaville, Free State, and grew up in Krugersdorp on the West Rand. He graduated with a B.Sc (Engineering) Degree in Mining from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in 1938, at the age of 19. In 1938, he joined Anglo Transvaal where he gained enormous experience in surveying, sampling and ore evaluation from several gold mines until 1943.

Prof. Krige worked eight years in the Government’s Mining Engineer’s Department, where he participated in uranium negotiations with the British and American authorities and designed the uranium pricing formula for the contracts which led to the establishment of South Africa’s profitable uranium industry in the early 1950s.

During the same period, he began his pioneering work in the application of mathematical statistics to the valuation of new gold mines using a limited number of boreholes and ore reserves for existing mines. This led to the development of the science and concepts around the spatial evaluation of mineral resources and reserves known as geostatistics, which attracted international attention. His work on mathematical statistics proved ground-breaking, and contributed to improved ore evaluation techniques as well as the reduction of the financial risks involved in the mining business.

He served the Anglovaal Group as group financial engineer until 1981, and upon his retirement assumed Professorship of Mineral Economics at Wits. He retired from this position after 10 years but continued his activities as a private consultant for mining companies until 2011.

Professor Krige served on various government committees, notably the one for State Aid for Gold Mines (1967/68), during which he designed the state aid formula, which enabled many mines to survive a period of low gold prices. He also handled several of the post-war lease applications in the Free State and Klerksdorp goldfields.

His early research papers stimulated interest in several mining circles overseas, including Lê Centre de Geostatistique de Paris. The centre successfully initiated the term “kriging” for the application of geostatistical techniques for ore valuations on a worldwide basis. Prof. Krige has published many technical papers and has lectured at, and participated in, international congresses for many years.

The D.Sc. (Eng) Degree was awarded to him by Wits in 1963 and honorary degrees by the University of South Africa in 1996, the University of Pretoria, the Moscow State Mining University in 1997 and Wits in 2011. He has also received awards from Die Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns, the International APCOM Council in 1999, and from the South African President, with the Order of Meritorious Service, Class 1 Gold in 1988.

In February 2010 at the age of 90, Prof. Krige was elected a Foreign Associate of the United States National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer, and the first and only engineer from the African continent ever to have received this honour. His contribution to geostatistics has therefore been pioneering, and distinguished him as one of South Africa’s outstanding and internationally acclaimed scientists.