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Lifelong learning in real mining conditions

Practical training and learning over the mining value chain are among the key components of lifelong knowledge building of mining experts and recognised as a challenge in the development of sustainable mining sector. However, it’s not so easy to find meaningful training opportunities, with the possibility of hands-on experiences of the multiple activities taking place in an operating mine.

Open education and research at Pyhäsalmi mine

The EIT RawMaterials-supported MINETRAIN project was launched in 2018 to evaluate the potential of the shortly-closing Pyhäsalmi mine in Finland as an educational and training underground facility, and thus, prolong the utility of the existing modern mine site by introducing new business opportunities. One of the major objectives of the project is to produce and test practical training programmes for mining professionals at the Pyhäsalmi mine. Pyhäsalmi facilities enable training in all disciplines related to the overall mine value chain with the opportunity to test both skills and equipment in an authentic environment. Hence, the project has potential in providing education for sustainable management of any phase of mining operations.

Practical training at the Pyhäsalmi mine site in August 2019 © eitrawmaterials

In summer 2019, MINETRAIN launched its first pilot course with 45 professionals from all over the globe joining an online course. Fourteen people were then selected for one-week practical training at the Pyhäsalmi mine site in August 2019. The course was developed to cover topics across the whole lifecycle of a mine.

The course received the highest possible evaluations from the professional learners. Professionals emphasised the significance that the practical onsite training had for them.

MINETRAIN gave meaning to the theory and improved the understanding of the bigger picture of mining at the various phases of the mine life.

Aerial view of an open pit mine © eitrawmaterials

It was a great experience to learn different ways of doing mining and know more about the latest technology related to the care of the environment. At the same time thinking of networking, it was really helpful to meet miners from all around the world.

The next MINETRAIN course will focus on new mining technology and will be held in summer 2020. After an online module, professionals will be able to use the latest equipment at Sandvik test mine in Tampere, Finland.

MINETRAIN is a three-year project funded by EIT RawMaterials. The coordinator of the project is Oulu Mining School/the University of Oulu and TU Freiberg and partners are Pyhäsalmi Mine, Outotec, Sandvik, Normet and Schneider Electric.

EIT RawMaterials

EIT RawMaterials, initiated and funded by the EIT (European Institute of Innovation and Technology), a body of the European Union, is the largest consortium in the raw materials sector worldwide. Its vision is to develop raw materials into a major strength for Europe. Its mission is to enable sustainable competitiveness of the European minerals, metals and materials sector along the value chain by driving innovation, education and entrepreneurship.

EIT RawMaterials unites more than 120 core and associate partners and 180+ project partners from leading industry, universities and research institutions from more than 20 EU countries. Partners of EIT RawMaterials are active across the entire raw materials value chain; from exploration, mining and mineral processing to substitution, recycling and circular economy. They collaborate on finding new, innovative solutions to secure the supplies and improve the raw materials sector in Europe.

There are six regional Innovation Hubs in Belgium, Finland, France, Italy, Poland and Sweden, called Co-Location Centres (CLCs) that represent different regional ecosystems connecting industry, research and education.

EIT RawMaterials aims to significantly enhance innovation in the raw materials sector by sharing knowledge, facilitating matchmaking activities, developing innovative technologies and supporting business creation. EIT RawMaterials will generate a significant impact on European competitiveness and employment by driving and fostering innovation and empowering students, entrepreneurs and education partners driving towards the circular economy. This will result in the introduction of innovative and sustainable products, processes and services, as well as talented people that will deliver increased economic, environmental and social sustainability to the European society.

Click here to read the 2020 April edition of Europe Diplomatic Magazine

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