A record number of guests visited Forum of the International Competence Centre under the auspices of UNESCO
Forum participants came to Saint-Petersburg from as much as thirty countries to show their scientific developments and declare the need for cooperation between countries.
The opening ceremony of XV International Forum “Topical issues of rational use of natural resources”was held at the Mining University on Tuesday, May 14. Over 400 students and young scientists from 85 universities and fuel and energy companies took part in the event – among them representatives from Poland, Germany, France, UK, Bulgaria, Czech Republic and others.
This forum is not just an annually held contentious site for the newcomers in science or at field, and famous politicians, economists and scientists come to Saint-Petersburg to participate in panel discussions. They conduct workshops, talk about the major recent and future challenges for engineers.
However, the primary focus is on the youth – they are the driving force of extracting and processing industry in the mid-term. Each of participants makes a report and talks about his research concerning development of mineral resources and fuel and energy sectors. Importantly, everyone gets an opportunity to share experiences, hear advice from seniors and, with some luck, make useful contacts with potential employers.
According to Vladimir Litvinenko, the Principal of Saint-Petersburg Mining University, "Most importantly, this forum is a platform for communication of young researchers. It was created to ensure that they do not lose interest in science, can move forward, gain new knowledge about the main trends in the development of the industry. Today, technologies related to prospecting, exploration and development of deposits, as well as mineral processing, are rapidly changing, new challenges and risks appear all the time. As a result, as long as there is desire to stay competitive in the labor market, increasing one’s own competence has to be a continuous, lifelong activity, regardless of the country of residence".
The scientific interests of young forum participants are traditionally very diverse. To name a few, breakthrough technologies of hydrocarbon processing, closed-loop technologies and recycling of man-made and household waste, deep coal processing, digital and energy-saving technologies, environmental protection, methods of increasing oil and gas recovery and much more.
Yevgeny Grigoriev, the Chairman of St. Petersburg Committee on Foreign Relations, commented on the scale of event, "First time, this forum was held in 2005. Back then it was a small event attended by a few people only. This year, we have had a record number of contestants. I do not think that any other university can gather so many people from different countries in one place".
There is a higher interest in the competition on the side of foreign universities, which, despite the imposed sanctions, send to St. Petersburg more and more representatives with each year. They are well aware that no matter how much everyone is talking about development of renewable energy sources, they cannot replace hydrocarbons in the nearest future. At the same time, humanity needs more raw materials in order to meet the growing demand for energy resources.
How can it be done though, given the fact that newly discovered mineral deposits are either low-grade or located in remote areas? For forum participants, the conclusion is obvious – integration of scientific and engineering thought is required, as well as we should work together on improving mining, processing and energy efficiency.
Angel Antonov, the Consul General of Bulgaria in Saint-Petersburg, noted, "This forum facilitates spiritual relationship between different nations, sets new directions for cooperation, brings our friendship and good neighborly relations to a higher level. It is symbolic that this year the competition is held under the patronage of the International Competence Centre for Mining-Engineering Education under the auspices of UNESCO, which was established on the initiative of the Mining University. For us, this is another proof that we are all working together on implementation of the ideas of sustainable development proclaimed by the UN".
Representatives of other participating countries also mentioned the need for cooperation for the purpose of progressive human development. They noted that no other position is adequate enough for responding to the challenges of the future – to give a few examples, rapid population growth, increasing number of man-made accidents, high greenhouse gas emissions, low replacement of mineral reserves, declining grades of ores, falling profitability of oil production and many others. According to the heads of delegations, the future task for the participants of the forum-contest “Topical issues of rational use of natural resources”is to respond to the aforementioned challenges.