Petra Diamonds Maps and Mirrors Report 2016
Published: October 26, 2016

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This Maps and Mirrors event took place in Cullinan, and it was hosted by Petra Diamonds and the Maths Centre Incorporating Science was invited to participate. The event took place on the 25th to the 27th of May 2016. It was a three day event in order to accommodate the large number of students from all the schools in Cullinan and its surroundings. It catered for grades 9 to 11. This event benefited grade 9 learners the most, as they are expected to make subject choices which will lead them to make informed decisions for the career path they will follow after finishing high school.

The first day of the event was dedicated to the grade 9 learners, with the second and third to grade 10 and 11 respectively. Learners were bused into sessions. The first and second day had two sessions each and the last day had one for learners and the last was reserved for parents and the community. The morning session, from 7:30 to 12:00, accommodated the learners from the closest schools which were Lesedi, Wozanibone, Chipa Tabane, Cullinan Combined, Mpumelelo and Dan Kutumela. The learners were transported from their respective schools as early as 7:00 am and taken back at 12:00pm. For the second session learners were bused from schools from afar like; Ekangala Comprehensive, Sitjhetjhiwe High, Lingitjhudu High, Strauss High and Mahlenga High. These had their programme starting at 12:30.

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These are some of the machines which were on show at the Petra Diamonds Maps and Mirrors event. On the left is the conveyor loading machine and on the right is a water purifying plant. All these motivated learners into putting their efforts in their studies.

The learners that came to the event were exposed to different career paths that included the mining industry in which Petra Diamonds specialises in. Each session started with a programme where there were various speakers from various sectors including: Engineering representative, metallurgy representative, and the students from Universities studying mining engineering. The invited speakers did their outmost best to motivate the learners. Among those speakers was the General Manager of Petra diamonds and he told the learners that, “The amount of work you put in your studies, determines the results you get.”There were different stalls where learners could gather information from. Learners were allocated about ten minutes each to move from one stall to another. There were close to 30 stalls from different organisations.

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The Surface Plant Layout at Cullinan Diamond Mine. Engineers explained to learners the processes involved at the surface in-order to extract the precious diamond.

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Hydraulics, Pneumatic and Gearing were all explained in detail by engineers and technicians. Learners were in a real industrial environment on this day. On the left; I cannot go without taking your contact numbers.” the learner seems to be saying.

The Maths Centre team took part in the Petra Diamond Maps and Mirrors with an activity-rich stall. The trainers had prepared several experiments from both Physical Science and Technology. The Maths Centre stall mainly showed learners how Maths, Science and Technology is intergrated. The experiments that were demonstrated were mainly using house hold ingredients, aiming at encouraging learners to make use of the ingredients that they have at home to create scientific experiments. Some of the experiments also showed them the danger of mixing chemicals without following experimental instruction, and the importance of keeping chemicals separately and sealed properly at all times.

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The learners are shown a reaction between glycerin and potassium permanganate and they had to discuss the results. The process of sifting raisins from peanuts using soda water was also shown to the learners.

Petra Diamonds had most of their departments at the Cullinan mine on display. The departments that were present were the mining engineering department, metallurgical department, finance department, the accounting department, mine safety department and the human resource department.

Learners moved through the different stalls and had first-hand account of how the mine operates. Young professionals from these departments assisted learners with queries and showed them how the machinery works. In most of the stands, the learners were told a combination of subjects they need to do, and the minimum requirements they must obtain in order to be accepted at the tertiary institution for those particular studies.

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Left: Learners being shown how the mine surveillance system works. Computer monitors were showing what was happening in the underground and also the mining network of the whole world. Right: an artisan; a boilermaker going through his business.

Jonnesway deals with mining tools and equipment. Learners were shown various types of tools which help the mining operation to be successful. Most of the learners had a feel of the tools as they were allowed to touch and use them to some extent.

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The insert shows learners at Jonnesway-professional tool range. Jonnesway supplies tools to Petra Diamond mine.

The University of Pretoria, School of Mining was there to showcase the courses that they offer in the School of Mining Engineering. The learners were given application forms and the prospectus. They answered questions related to the field and encouraged grade 9 learners to take pure Mathematics and Physical Science as subjects in the FET phase. They also gave the FET learners tips on what symbols to obtain in order to be eligible to study towards a degree in Mining engineering.

Conclusion

The event was informative and it was a success. When asked about their experiences after the event, the grade 9 learners said that they were motivated to take Science, Maths and Technology as their majors, because of the connections of these subjects, they have learnt and discovered on the exhibition day. The other grades said their ambition for science was re-ignited, and they were motivated to get through these so called difficult subjects. Some were encouraged by those different speakers that were motivating them at the beginning of the programme, hence they promised to work hard.

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