VUT Metallurgical Engineering students get first-hand experience of operations at local coal mining giant
04 October 2023
VUT Metallurgical Engineering students at Seriti New Vaal Plant
Recently, a group of second year students from the Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT), were hosted by Seriti – New Vaal Colliery for a coal processing plant tour.
Seriti is known for producing high-quality, secure and long-term coal-solutions to fuel South Africa’s power stations, and also producing high quality coal for export markets.
Accompanying the students, were staff members, Prof Iyiola Otunniyi, Professor; Dr Kentse Motsetse, senior lecturer; Mr Bonolo Mmola, laboratory technician and Mr Bola Oyeladun, visiting researcher.
During the visit, the eager to learn group experienced the full ore dressing operations, starting from run-of-mine comminution to coal washing. The visit commenced with breakfast at Maccauvlei Campus where personal protective equipment (PPE) was issued to each visitor. The group then proceeded to the Auditorium for safety briefing by the Plant Superintendent. Professor Otunniyi ran a quiz to test students’ knowledge on coal processing. This brought about some excitement as the group prepared to move to the plant.
Upon arrival at the plant, Senior Plant Metallurgist, Mr Tshepo Motsiri, welcomed the group and proceeded to give the tour. Various sections of the plant were visited including, the crushers, screens, dense medium separation, process control and analytical laboratories. Students were given the opportunity to look and touch the coal samples following each processing stage.
Following the 3-hour tour, the visit was concluded with lunch where the group engaged in conversations about the eye-opening experience.
In the end, both Dr Motsetse and Mr Mmola agreed that there was a need for more plant visits to complement theory lessons. “The plant visit put Mineral Processing theory into perspective. Our students are truly inspired and have become more eager to join the industry.”
Speaking on behalf of the students, Siboniso Nkosi said that Seriti took really good care of them in terms of nurturing their inquisitive minds. “Most importantly we are grateful for the experience they gave us, and we will definitely put the knowledge we gathered from them into good use,” he said.