South Africa's University of Pretoria (UP) has opened Kumba Virtual Reality Centre for mine design (VRC) to train mine staff and students in simulated mining environment.

Mine centre

The centre consists of VRC’s 3-D stereoscopic theatre and 3-D, 360-degree cylinder theatre that showcase demonstration to the audience.

The infrastructure also includes new offices of the Department of Mining Engineering and the Mining Resilience Research Institute (MRRI).

University of Pretoria has invested R32m ($2.5m) and Anglo American group company Kumba Iron Ore invested R18.8m ($1.47m) and took three years to complete.

The University of Pretoria Department of Mining Engineering Head Prof Webber-Youngman said that the new VRC centre have made the lectures engaging.

"What we are trying to do with the VR is simulate, as closely as possible, the real mining environment rather than an ‘ideal’ situation, because we don’t want to create an expectation that mining has no toughness and no roughness.

"One needs to be cautious not to over-honeymoon the idea of mining, and never underestimate the reality that goes with it."

Image: University of Pretoria students are of the first in Africa to take benefit of a 3D virtual mine trainning . Photo: © University of Pretoria.