St James Primary School and Aberdeen Public School students got a birds eye view of how mines are combining traditional mining operation with high tech tools at Ravensworth Mine while students from Denman Public School and St Joseph’s Primary Denman took a step into the future at Mangoola Mine.
At Ravensworth, the giant haul trucks and loaders captured the students’ attention, but the mine’s drone captured the moment – when it snapped a photo of the students at a lookout on the edge of the mine pit. Ravensworth hosted 48 St James students on June 14 and 23 Aberdeen Public students on June 26.
At Mangoola, the students gathered among the trees in the mine’s well established rehabilitation area to see first hand how mines build landforms which will shape the future as mining progresses and eventually ends in the Upper Hunter. Denman Public’s 28 students visited Mangoola on June 15 and St Joseph’s 26 students toured the mine on June 22.
At both Glencore sites students were under the care of mine employees who acted as expert guides, explaining the processes of the mining operations including the use of heavy machinery such as haul trucks and diggers to extract coal and, increasingly, the application of high tech tools such as drones which could be used to monitor mine operations, analyse blasting, help control dust emissions and map rehabilitation growth.
The tours were part of the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue’s School Mine Tours Program which will see an estimated 1000 Year 5 and Year 9 students from Upper Hunter schools tour mine sites in 2018. The school tours program is scheduled to include 27 individual tours from 18 participating schools visiting 13 different mine sites across the Upper Hunter.
The tours program aims to offer a fact-based, first-hand educational experience to teach local students about the impacts and benefits of coal mining in the Upper Hunter.
The Dialogue offers the free tours to all schools in the Singleton-Muswellbrook educational catchment and the program uses educational materials and messaging developed by a Dialogue working group made up of teachers, community members and industry and local government representatives.