Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X
MISCHO, H.; BRUNE, J. F.; WEYER, J. and HENDERSON, N.. Mine disaster and mine rescue training courses in modern academic mining engineering programmes. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2014, vol.114, n.12, pp.987-992. ISSN 2411-9717.
The mining industry worldwide is currently facing a significant restructuring process. In most underground mines, widespread mechanization of the mining processes increases production while reducing staff numbers. At the same time, mining depths as well as the lateral spread of the mine workings are increasing. This ever-changing mining environment requires sophisticated solutions for the design and operation of underground mines. In fact, a reduced number of mining engineers is taking responsibility for ever-increasing mine operations. This applies not only to the excavation of the minerals, but also to all other aspects of the mining operation, including health and safety, disaster management, and mine rescue organization. Most mining engineering graduates entering the industry lack experience in mine emergency management. Young engineer trainees must learn mine emergency management and rescue work in addition to their normal training experience on the job. Often, and unfortunately, emergency and rescue training at different mining companies is not carried out to the highest level and standard and with the best possible training outcomes. The tasks and challenges a young engineer faces while being trained in a new position do not leave much room for additional training in mine rescue and emergency management. At the same time, experienced, 'old hands' are retiring and cannot easily be replaced due to limited graduation numbers. Strategies are being developed at mining universities worldwide to train mining engineering students in handling mine emergency situations and to provide hands-on experience for managing potential accident and disaster scenarios underground. Two of these strategies, from the USA and from Central Europe, are presented in this paper. These specific strategies have to be seen under special consideration of the local and regional boundary conditions, but might serve as case studies for mining schools and universities in other countries.
Keywords : mine disaster and emergency management; education and training; mine rescue training; underground education and training; student education and training; internationalization.