From the 15th of June – 10th of July 2017, myself and three other University of Wollongong students attended the China University of Mining and Technology International Summer School in Xuzhou. The summer school is a program that allows students from the International Higher Education Alliance for Mining, Energy and Environmental member universities to participate and share with one another their knowledge and passion for these subjects. This year the program saw 13 students from all around the world come together for one month to learn about life at CUMT, the mining industry in China and Chinese culture.
The four of us from Wollongong landed in Beijing on the 15th of June, where we were greeted at the airport by Cathy, a CUMT volunteer. From the airport, we travelled to our accommodation and had our first taste of traditional Chinese food at the restaurant in the hotel. The rest of the day was spent exploring Beijing and meeting the other participants from around the world. Our second day in Beijing saw an early start, where we travelled to the Great Wall of China. Three bottles of water and many stairs later we finally reached the top of the Great Wall where we took lots of photos and even took a toboggan ride back down to the bottom.
After exploring the Great Wall, we headed to the Temple of Heaven in Southern Beijing, where we saw a beautiful example of ancient Chinese architecture. The next morning, we boarded the High-Speed Train and headed for Xuzhou. Once we arrived we settled into our accommodation and received a campus tour from the CUMT volunteers.
The course consisted of three modules, which classes would make up two weeks of study at CUMT. These modules were:
- Introduction to Mine Safety Engineering
- Modern Coal Mining Technology
- Introduction to Ore Deposit Geology
I found all modules to be very valuable to my education as a future mining engineer, and it was amazing to see how mining technology differs from that in Australia, as well as the difference in mining methods of extraction.
The introduction to mine safety module focused on the importance of gas management in underground coal mines teaching us aspects regarding ventilation, gases in mines and coal dust. The module was taught by Associate Professor Jianwei Cheng, and was a valuable insight to the mining regulations in China and the importance of managing these underground hazards.
The second module focused on the Mining Technology in China and was easily my favourite module. At university, we focus so much on mining in Australia, we do not even stop to consider what mining is like in other countries. This module was a very eye-opening insight into the technology utilised in China for the underground extraction of coal.
The third module was incredibly geology focused, and included classes about coal formation, the geology of China and retention of gases within coal. Although this class was very informative, it was taught as if a strong knowledge of geology was assumed, when in fact most people had little knowledge of geology at all. A recommendation for this module would be to make it more basic and understandable to people who have little or no background to geology.
The laboratory facilities at CUMT were definitely the highlight of the curriculum for me. We were shown a number of different facilities including a dust particle analysis machine, as well as an apparatus which could generate a coal dust and methane explosion. Other facilities we were shown included a massive UCS apparatus, a subsidence simulator and a machine which could mimic the stresses felt in underground roadways.
The curriculum at the Summer School, also included a number of presentations from respective lecturers from CUMT.
The first lecture presented focused on the traditional architecture of the Chinese culture and was given by A/Professor Liu Qian. We learnt about the different types of Chinese architecture and how they have varied and changed through the centuries until now.
The second presentation was given by A/Professor He Jingfeng, and was about the Clean Coal Technology utilised in China. We learnt about the issues China faces in regard to pollution, the role mining plays in these issues, and the solutions China has to overcome these issues.
The third presentation was given by Professor Bian Zhengfu and was focused around the mining and the environment. China has massive issues with surface subsidence from mining and so rehabilitation is critical in land reclamation. This presentation included a field trip to Pan’an Lake, a post mining site, and we were shown first-hand the standard to which China rehabilitates their mining sites. This presentation also tied in to the fourth presentation given by Professor Lei Shaogang about land reclamation and ecological rehabilitation.
Throughout the program we were also given the chance to see a number of local tourist attractions where we learnt a lot about the history of China and its culture. Field trips taken included:
- Historical Blocks and Folklore Museum at Hubu Hill
- Han Dynasty Relics
- Terracotta figures
- Qufu, the Birthplace of Confucius
- Pan’an Lake
These field trips were definitely a highlight of the program for me. All of the ancient relics and tombs were very intriguing and gave a valuable insight into the history of China.
Chinese Cultural Classes
In between modules, we also participated in a number of Chinese Cultural lessons, where we learnt about traditional Chinese arts such as language, calligraphy and Taji. These classes were a pleasant break from educational study, and allowed us to experience the Chinese culture first hand.
Overall, I felt that the CUMT summer school program was an incredibly valuable and rewarding experience. All volunteers were very helpful and friendly and were always happy to give advice and help out. The accommodation at CUMT was very comfortable and allowed us to live as students at CUMT do. I commend and thank the China University of Mining and Technology greatly for allowing me to have this experience, and it is definitely something I would recommend to all my peers.
I would personally like to thank a number of people for allowing me to have this incredible experience.
Firstly, to the China University of Mining and Technology for hosting the program and allocating scholarships to Universities across the world. To Mr Zhenkang Zhang, Director of the International Office at CUMT for organizing the program and his advice and guidance both before and during the trip. The program was especially well organized and allowed for a balance between curriculum and experiencing Chinese Culture.
Secondly, to the University of Wollongong, for providing me the opportunity to apply for this program and to broaden my experiences overseas. To A/Professor Ting Ren, for informing me about the program and his communication and relationship with CUMT to set up this opportunity. As well as Liju Dong of the international office for EIS at the University of Wollongong for facilitating all my needs and requirements to attend the program and being of particular help in the booking of accommodation and flights.