UKZN Field trip feedback
As part of the honours curriculum in Environmental and Engineering Geology stream at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, students are required to undertake the compulsory module GEOL706 (Mines Field Class) which is a 16-credit module based on real practical problems. This involves visit to mines and other areas of interest in geotechnical engineering, engineering and environmental geology where lectures are given to the students on various aspects of the establishment, operations and management of projects as well as conducting a tour to various project sites of interest. The entourage comprises eleven honours students and two lectures. For this current academic year, the field trip was conducted from 25 June to 1 July 2018 wherein the following places were visited:
1. The Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme,
2. Eskom’s 68 km railway project from Ermelo to Majuba,
3. The Sasol Middelbult Colliery in Secunda,
4. The Magdalema Colliery in Dundee,
5. The Ntshingwayo Dam in Chelmford.
Students also conducted a geophysical exercise, which involved resistivity and magnetometer survey along the crest of the existing dam. The program was well packed and educative covering a majority of topics dealt with during the course of the academic year in Geotechnical Engineering, Rock Engineering, Engineering Geology, Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology. Students were able to witness some of the rock engineering challenges in the underground mining in a colliery. One of the major highlights of the trip was the first-hand experience of directional drilling and vertical drilling in operations at Sasol. Judging from the response from the students, it was a very informative and for most of them, it was their first experience going in an underground mine.
As part of assessment, students were required to do a presentation each evening and present a final written report and their field notebook. Assessment is also made on each student’s performance in the field and the ability to work as a team.
The University of KwaZulu-Natal, the lectures and the students are grateful to SAIEG’s continued financial support and we appreciate the gesture given to the Discipline of Geological Science (UKZN) by the SAIEG in helping us to run such a successful trip. The various establishments visited were very happy to receive the students and look forward to seeing us with another group of students in the next academic year. We hope and trust that the SAIEG will continue to support us in the coming years.
Here are some of the pictures taken during the trip.