Posts by Joanna Gaskell - Education Editor:

Improved Education System in South Africa Needed to Take Advantage of Mineral Opportunities

In a presentation at the University of Pretoria, Xstrata CEO Mick Davis said that South Africa would need to shape up its education system and produce a large number of "high-class graduates" to be able to take advantage of the considerable opportunities arising in the country's mineral sector, Business Day reports.
President Jacob Zuma said during his state of the nation speech this month that the government had developed a beneficiation strategy that sought to provide economic opportunities in the minerals sector. But Mr Davis warned that only with the availability of "human capacity" would SA’s mining sector — in recent years characterised by underinvestment due to "destabilising rhetoric" — retake its place as a world leader.

South Africa develops Qualification for Health and Safety Advisor

The South Africa Mining Qualifications Authority is developing a general Occupational Health and Safety Advisor qualification, the first in an anticipated succession of qualifications for safety professionals, reports Sheqafrica.
The draft Occupational Safety Curriculum for Safety Representatives and Safety Practitioners (Advisors) is circulated among work group members. The MQA acts as a mining sector education and training authority, or mining Seta, and may appoint a training assessor, named assessment quality partner (AQP), on 6 March 2012. The SA Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) had applied to the QCTO to be a Development Quality Partner (DQP) in establishing mining safety qualifications. The process requires high levels of resources, expertise, and the cost of hosting volunteer drafters.

Australian Northern Territory fills Skills Gap with Foreign Workers

With the mining skills shortage and the Australian Government's Regional Migration Agreement, more foreign workers are moving to the Northern Territory to meet the demand, reports Australian Mining.
NT Minister for business and employment Delia Lawrie said in a statement the NT was set to experience huge growth and demand for workers was outstripping local supply. "While we are investing heavily in local training, it is still not enough to meet demand in a competitive Australian labour market," she said. “This RMA will act as a pressure valve for the local economy, helping businesses experiencing a shortage of staff to find workers when none can be sourced locally.”

Fire Fighters from Ohio’s Century Mine Test Rend Lake College’s Fire Training Facility

Members of the fire brigade from Century Mine in Beallsville, Ohio put Rend Lake College's state-of-the-art fire fighter training facility to the test last week, with various scenarios in the mock underground mine as well as on the surface, reports the Benton Evening News.
“It is invaluable for us to ensure safe, realistic and effective training,” said Terry Wilkerson, RLC Applied Science and Technology Division chair. “This was a significant day for our mining program. Today, with the first of many successful live fire training sessions, we made the industry aware that we are the training facility in the Illinois Coal Basin, the next hotbed for the coal industry.”

Thunder Bay Forum on Training and Employment in the Mining Sector

The North Superior Workforce Planning Board and the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Corporation is hosting a one-day forum on training and employment in the mining sector on February 15, 2012, reports NetNewsLedger.
Along with a detailed presentation on this report, the forum will consist of keynote presentations on three thriving areas of mining in our region: exploration, production, and supply and services businesses. In addition, workshops will be held on topics such as: trades in mining, women in mining, transferable skills, environmental careers in mining, First Nations in mining, careers in prospecting, and many others.

Seabridge Gold to Advance Aboriginal Training in BC by $100 000

Vancouver mining company Seabridge Gold has contributed $100 000 to the British Columbia Aboriginal Mines Training Association to fund a skills upgrading program in three Aboriginal communities in northwestern BC, reports the Canadian Mining Journal.
"Responsible mine development is about finding ways to ensure that the benefits of mining are shared, and that includes hiring locally and supporting economic development in regions where projects are based," said Jay Layman, Seabridge's executive VP and COO. "Our contribution to BC AMTA's Pathways to Success program was the right decision for us to make."

Atlas Iron Looking for Skilled Miners and Tradespeople

Australian Mining reports: Atlas Iron's chief executive says the miner may need an extra 1000 workers in three years, highlighting once again the severe skills shortage for miners that will continue in Australia into 2012.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data released last week also indicated mining jobs were in demand across Australia. While total job positions in Australia have fallen by 181,000, the new figures showed resources states QLD and WA were still hungry for mining jobs, posting a rise in available positions. Like other companies in the Pilbara, particularly BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, and Fortescue Metals Group, Atlas is pursuing aggressive expansion targets.

Chinese and Australian Universities and Companies Ally in Mining Research

Nineteen universities and companies from Australia and China have joined forces to develop new international, collaborative approaches to mining and energy research, reports Campus Daily. Included in this group are the University of Western Australia (UWA), Huainan Mining Corporation, and Shenhua Corporation.
UWA's Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Bill Louden said the collaboration between Australian and Chinese business and researchers would benefit science and technology, and long-term economic cooperation between the two countries. The Director of UWA's Centre for Energy, Winthrop Professor Dongke Zhang FTSE, said the partners would be well placed to bid for funds from the newly-created $18 million Australia-China Science and Research Fund.

TAFE Mining Course in South Australia Teaches Mining Lifestyle

Mining graduates have to be prepared for a drastic change in lifestyle when they enter the mining industry, and one TAFE mining course in South Australia is preparing them for it, reports ABC.
Education manager for mining in SA Lyndon Giles says this [training] includes shift work and moving away from home. "It's not all beer and skittles when they talk about $100,000 a year, there's a lot of challenges, particularly working in isolated areas, a long way away from family, all them come into play when you look at a career change so we try and get these people accustomed to what they are going to expect."