Copper 360 School of Mining reaches milestones; ambitious future lies ahead

Quinton Adams of Copper 360
Quinton Adams of Copper 360

Nababeep, Northern Cape: Copper 360’s School of Mining, launched last year September, has set its sights on developing a broad-based mining skills pipeline while simultaneously developing and growing its offering to existing employees, the community, and students.

The first cohorts of students have completed their training in various areas, including surface geology, mineral resource management, and ore body technician courses. “When we launched, we never anticipated the overwhelming response and excitement that would follow,” said Quinton Adams of Copper 360. “The appetite for education and particularly the knowledge of the mining sector has grown tremendously concomitant with the potential that the Northern Cape holds as the next mineral province of South Africa,” he said.

The school has now introduced several additional community-focused knowledge courses including mining law, drone technology, surveying and urban development. These courses were developed, said Adams, by sector specialists and while the school is presently in the process of applying for accreditation, he said that there is no time like the present to uplift communities and develop individuals. The company has also used the school in its own training programme with over ninety workers attending and successfully completing solvent extraction and electrowinning courses, among others.

Adams said that while initially the School of Mining was aimed at post-matric students the company identified the need and desire of learners to further explore and understand the potential that careers in the mining sector holds. To this end, several schools have already been hosted at Copper 360 facilities to further spark interest while a School Bridging Course was developed in tandem to introduce high school students to the world of copper mining, with firsthand experiences at the Copper 360 processing plant in Nababeep. To date, said Adams, six schools with around 360 students participated.

“It is highly encouraging,” said Adams, “but at the same time it highlights the plight of many South Africans who may still not have access to further education or the luxury of choice when it comes to determining their futures. I hope that we play a small but significant role in positively impacting communities through the School of Mining.”

Copper 360, Adams said, is committed to further build on early successes. “We are in the process of applying for accreditation and plans are afoot to offer degreed courses in collaboration with international universities,” he said. “We are exploring partnerships with several universities in South Africa and other countries to develop joint projects and distance learning programs. This will bring international expertise and research opportunities to the Northern Cape.” This includes the possibility of the development of a simplified MBA programme in the mid-term future.

“The process is twofold,” said Adams. “We intend to build on our broad-based mining skills pipeline and introduce as many learners as possible to the varied career opportunities in mining,” he said. “Then, as we build more short and longer courses, eventually diploma or degreed and post-graduate fields of study, The School of Mining will not only address the need for sector related skills in the Northern Cape, but it will provide an employable and skilled workforce right on mining’s doorstep.” It is, he added, a medium to long-term project but the benefits to the community, industry and the province will be tangible.