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Mining students visit Songwe Hill

News   Jabulani Matsimbe   March 17, 2020
PIC: Mining students and lecturers at the site
Mining and Geological Engineering Students in the Department of Mining Engineering at the Polytechnic visited Songwe Hill Rare Earth project in Phalombe. This was an educational visit facilitated by Jabulani Matsimbe, Coordinator for mining Industrial attachments and Lecturer in Mining & Geotechnical Engineering.

The trip took place on March 5th, 2020, whose aim is to enhance part of the teaching curricular as well as giving students practical experience and also for students to appreciate the mining industry. 

The students were exposed to the geology and mineralization of Songwe hill; exploratory drilling; core recovery and rock quality designation (RQD) calculations. 

Geologists for Mkango Resources limited, Chikondi Mcheka and Fungai Kamzimbi, imparted the necessary practical knowledge to the geology and mining engineering students. They took the students uphill and explained its mineralization. After climbing the hill, the Geologists also demonstrated to the students how to calculate RQD and core sampling at the Shed.

The Coordinator, Mr Matsimbe expressed his gratitude to Mkango Resources for its support towards the learning of the students.

 “We are grateful to Mkango Resources Ltd for granting us educational access to Songwe site. This will help The Polytechnic produce industry ready graduates” he said. 

According to the Head of Mining Engineering Department, Mr Tiyamike Haundi, the mining field visits are very important as they enhance teaching and learning thereby promoting the quality of mining education in the country.

“As a Department, we appreciate the opportunity that Mkango Resources give us particularly in using their project as a teaching and learning resource. Through these visits, students are able to appreciate the complexity associated with obtaining some data which is eventually used in mine designs and decision making. Finally, we would like to encourage Mkango resources to continue supporting and engaging Mining Engineering Department in their activities to further strengthen the existing collaborative activities” he said.

Mr Abdul Samson, a Lecturer in Geological/Geotechnical Engineering, said that he is looking forward to the successful completion of the feasibility study as well as commencement of mining so that students in the mining engineering department continue to benefit from the rare earth project site.

“Among others, students learnt how core logging is used to determine lithology (rock types), mineralogy as well as potential geological history of rocks. Climbing the hill, students were able to appreciate the stratigraphy of the rock. Great appreciation should also go to Chikondi Mcheka and Fungai Kamzimbi for the immense experience shared to the students” he said. 

A third-year female student, Mutisunge Moyo, studying towards Bachelor of Geological Engineering (Hons) said that “As a student the Songwe trip was not only educative but inspirational. It provided us with the practical essence of what we learn in class. One of the modules that we learn is the Geology & Mineral Resources of Malawi hence the trip served as a practical experience to the things that we learn in class”.

A second year Bachelor of Mining Engineering student, Mthunzi Chikhungu said that “Our trip to Songwe Hill was extremely insightful to say the least. We were shown the exploratory drilling patterns they use to extract the Carbonatite core samples.Overall, the experience was worthwhile as we had to go up the hill and see the stratigraphy. We saw the rock samples that were obtained from drill holes and even calculated their RQD.  It may have been a day’s trip, but we will remember what we learnt for much longer”.


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