A Lesson in the Virtual Mine

SkillsOne visits the virtual reality mine where Joshua Northfield, Mining Engineering Student, is learning how to deal with unexpected mine disasters. He shares what studies he's done to get into mining, including Vocational Training. He shares where he will be working in the future and the opportunities he will get working in mining.

About Josh:

Josh Northfield (24) did Civil Engineering at TAFE for two years full time. This study gave him a credit for the first year of a Bachelor of Engineering at Newcastle Uni, which he attended for two years part time. He then joined a transfer program to UNSW Mining Engineering degree, which he'll complete this year. In between studies he has also worked as a civil contractor for one year.

Josh has been awarded two scholarships from Downer EDI and AusIMM. He likes getting involved in industry projects and established the first student chapter of AusIMM in the Hunter Valley region.

Josh will be employed by Newmont gold mine at Boddington WA at the end of the year. The site is a brand new gold mine with a residential community attached for the miners to live (instead flying in and out). The lease on the mine is for 17 years and the plan is to extract 1000, 000 ounces of gold a year. This job is a great opportunity for Josh and he is looking forward to living on site and working with the precious metal.

About the AusIMM 2008 Mining Games:

The Australasian Institute of Mineral and Metallurgy - AusIMM is the leading organisation representing all professionals in the minerals sector. They maximise opportunities for professionals in the minerals sector and promote the value of the minerals industry to the wider community.

The AusImm National Mining Games in Wollongong 2008 is a competition for students studying Mining Engineering at Uni. It is also conference for industry professionals.

Students form the AusIMM Illawarra Chapter have contributed to the planning of the event to be held at the Southern Mines Rescue Station, a brand new training facility (opened in June 2008) with underground tunnels and virtual reality set ups for safety training.

The contests include; timber set, conveyor set, safety event, rock identification (Identifying ore bearing minerals in rocks), surveying, drilling (using an air leg, for speed and accuracy, gravity separation (Panning and gravity separation to produce coking coal separated from waste), mucking (which is filling and moving an ore skip) and face tie in.

Four of the other five contests; conveyor installation, blast design, timber prop setting and surveying will be held underground but can be seen on a TV monitor, whilst the other safety/risk assessment is to be held in a 3D IMAX style theatre. Some of the tasks and the skills involved can be applied in real life mining situations and others are historical and more for fun like the mucking.