A School of Mines with an underground site where operators can practice concrete spraying or shotcreting is an essential part of the practice-based nozzleman learning process.
Underground tunneling and mining construction sites have inherently high risks, including the possibility of landslides, which highlight the importance of a well-trained shotcrete operator, both in theory as in practical skills.
The School of Mines: working in a real-life context
Most courses nowadays include hefty theory training blocks, and a growing number of companies are offering 3D-based simulator training for shotcrete operators as well as the other equipment ranges such as diggers, bolters, etc.
But few schools or training centers can boast of providing operators with access to a safe worksite that reflects the real-life environment of the tunnel or mine, thus offering a hands-on experience in safe and controlled facilities.
Some mining groups have developed their own training centers, but budget cuts caused by the recent slump in commodity prices make shareable facilities very sought-after.
In the concrete spraying process, which combines the technical know-how of the recipe mix and equipment operation with the art of concrete spraying, this experience-exposure is invaluable.
Some leading global centres and schools
Institutions such as the International Centre for Geotechnics and Underground Construction (ICGUC) in Switzerland, set up by a group of market participants, also offer training courses exposing operators to the real-life conditions of an underground worksite.
In the UK, Crossrail set up the Tunneling & Underground Construction Academy (TUCA), specializing in tunneling in soft ground like the London geology where the project is being developed.
In the United States, the Colorado School of Mines offers an Underground Class in the now-decommissioned Edgar Mine, where students can acquire practical skills in underground mine surveying, geological mapping, rock fragmentation and blasting, and other underground mine operations.
In Canada, the Northern Centre for Advanced Technology (NORCAT) provides training access to a tunnel for its practice-based teaching.
Chile, another leading commodities producer, has facilities to allow the practical skills development onsite at Mina El Brillador, which belongs to the country’s La Serena University.
Putzmeister Underground is another market leader offering training courses with practice-based learning in a tunnel belonging to Fundación Santa Bárbara School of Mines.
Find out more information about our courses here.
- International Centre for Geotechnic and Underground Construction – ICGUC, Last accessed 12/07/16
- Ground Under Center for Underground Construction & Tunneling – Colorado School of Mines, Last accessed 12/07/16
- Centro Referencial de Experimentación y Capacitación en Procesos Mineros Metalúrgicos “Mina Escuela El Brillador”, Universidad de La Serena, Last accessed 13/07/16
- Northern Centre for Advanced Technology (NORCAT), Last accessed 12/07/16
- Mina Escuela Fundación Santa Bárbara, Last accessed 12/07/16