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Sudbury, African universities forge mining education agreement

Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. , the University of Limpopo in South Africa, and Laurentian University in Sudbury signed an agreement launching an educational collaboration between the two universities.
Robert Friedland, executive chairman of Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., hinted at an educational collaboration between Laurentian University and the University of Limpopo during a talk in Sudbury in 2013.

Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., the University of Limpopo in South Africa, and Laurentian University in Sudbury signed an agreement launching an educational collaboration between the two universities.

A principal goal of the five-year partnership, which is renewable for a further five years, is to develop and equip the University of Limpopo’s geology department to become a centre of excellence in geosciences.

This will be achieved through measures that include:

-improved training and curriculum choices in economic geology and mineral exploration at the University of Limpopo;

-increased teaching and research capacities at the graduate student level;

-equipping laboratories;

-purchasing an outdoor vehicle and trailer for field excursions; and

-collaborating with Laurentian University to improve the University of Limpopo’s learning programmes.

Ivanplats also will provide in-service training opportunities for students from both universities and assist them in conducting research on the Northern Limb of the Bushveld Complex, an African geological complex that contains rich ore resources.

Ivanhoe Mines, through Ivanplats, has allocated a total of US$2.5 million to the Limpopo and Laurentian universities to fund their partnership during its initial five years. In addition to Ivanhoe’s investment, Laurentian has been awarded C$500,000 in scholarship funds for the project through the Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology (QEII-GSST) Program.

Combined with a C$570,000 scholarship awarded to Laurentian by the International Development Research Corporation, these funds will create educational opportunities for 35 University of Limpopo students to study in Canada. Scholarship funding from the three sources will support undergraduate, MSc and PhD positions at Laurentian and be focused on topics and research in mineral exploration and economic geology. The scholarship will fund up to 15 graduate students and faculty from the University of Limpopo to pursue MSc and PhD studies at Laurentian’s Department of Earth Sciences.

The funds also will support a number of Laurentian’s graduate students to travel to Limpopo for three- to four-month internships over the course of the first five years of the funding agreement with Ivanhoe. These advanced graduate students will teach and assist junior faculty at the University of Limpopo.

Robert Friedland, executive chairman and founder of Ivanhoe Mines, said the two universities are natural partners to work toward shared objectives.

“Canada’s Sudbury Basin and South Africa’s Bushveld Complex are two of the most extraordinary geological features on Planet Earth and now host two of the largest mining districts on earth — as well as these two enterprising universities. Laurentian, with its Goodman School of Mines, has partnered with the domestic mining industry to provide some of the qualified people who are essential for industry operations,” Friedland said in a news release. “The University of Limpopo now can begin drawing on Laurentian’s vast experience to enhance its preparation of young South Africans with knowledge and skills that are required tickets to productive, rewarding careers in their modernizing mining industry.”

Bruce Jago, executive director of Laurentian’s Goodman School of Mines said the school is proud to be part of the agreement, which will help Laurentian fulfill its mission to advance global mining education.

“This is an exciting generations of geoscience professionals and educators in South Africa,” Jago said. A portion of the funding will be used to hire a full-time academic tutor/program administrator to provide educational and administrative support for the successful completion of designated educational programs for Limpopo students, along with other support typically offered to all Laurentian international students.”

Ivanhoe Mines is a TSX-listed company focused on the exploration and development of major copper, platinum, gold, nickel and zinc deposits on the African continent. Its Ivanplats subsidiary holds a long-term mining right covering the development of platinum, palladium, nickel, copper, gold and rhodium resources at its Platreef Project in South Africa’s Limpopo province.