Restrictions on personal movement due to the Covid-19 lockdown have not stopped the learning process in the mining industry with Multotec seeing unprecedented numbers attending its online training in recent months.

According to Wilna Hoffmann, business development manager at Multotec Process Equipment, the lockdown has provided an unexpected opportunity to reach even more engineers with valuable technical content and insights.

Wilna Hoffmann, business development manager, Multotec. Image credit: Multotec

Wilna Hoffmann, business development manager, Multotec. Image credit: Multotec

“I started to adapt our training from conventional to online methods very early in the initial lockdown,” says Hoffmann. “In a series of presentations to a large mining company, we had 74 engineers attending our online session. They spent in total about 556 manhours with specialists from Multotec.”

Multotec’s training initiatives are nothing new; the company has conducted more than 1 305 training interventions (2 054 manhours) at design houses over the past seven years. The difference, she says, has been the proactive harnessing of the power of digital communication platforms. This delivery channel is also much more efficient, requiring less logistical planning and taking much less time out of the delegates’ busy work schedules.

“The result is that our reach has been dramatically increased,” she says. “In fact, we estimate that in the first four months of lockdown, we have reached as many engineers as we did over the past seven years.”

In addition to the dedicated mining house training, over 2 380 hours of training was provided from April to July this year to more than 415 qualified engineers from about 74 design houses and engineering consultancies. The virtual platforms have also added a new, international dimension to the learning, with engineers attending from as far afield as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and India.

Hoffmann highlights that the sessions are not sales-focused, but rather concentrate on the fundamentals of equipment design and application, including formulas, models, efficiencies and losses.

“Sharing insights on the theory and physics of mineral processes – essentially university-level content – makes the training directly relevant to qualified and experienced engineers,” says Hoffmann. As a metallurgist herself, with many years’ experience in a design house environment, she says that none of the training would be possible without the collaboration of her specialist colleagues at Multotec.

The training engages with just about every aspect of a mineral process plant, from spiral concentrators, centrifuges and filter presses to hydrocyclones, dense media separation cyclones and magnetic separation. The sessions also look at the design, operation and selection of mill liners, pumps, sampling technology, trommel screens, static screens, scrubbers, wear linings and water treatment technologies.

“The success of the online training to date has certainly encouraged us to continue with our online learning programme,” she says, adding that the feedback from delegates has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We achieved about 85% approval ratings in the feedback, with delegates wanting to see more of this kind of training,” she says. “The responses rate the quality of knowledge sharing as excellent, and they value the fact that our presentations are unbiased toward any original equipment manufacturer.”