The contest of young scientists in St. Petersburg has come to an end
More than a thousand undergraduate and graduate students from 48 countries took part in it. Most of them made presentations of their projects in the online format, but delegates from Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan came to the city on the Neva in person.
The Closing Ceremony of the International Forum Contest “Topical Issues of Subsoil Use” took place at St. Petersburg Mining University on Friday, June 4. Over a hundred people became laureates in 18 nominations. Such an impressive figure is due to the fact that the organizers do not position the conference as a competition. Rather, it is a platform where future engineers and scientists can present the results of their research to the expert community, hear their professional evaluation, as well as get acquainted with the directions and level of research of their peers from other countries.
What interests young people today who plan to link their careers with science? As always, one of the central topics is increasing the efficiency of mining and energy companies. For example, by means of digitalization or the adaptation of advanced technologies at enterprises. In addition, every year more and more reports are devoted to reducing the anthropogenic impact on ecosystems. In particular, waste management, water purification, and restoration of disturbed lands.
For example, representatives of the Belarusian National Technical University (BNTU, Minsk) Nikita Yesman, and Tatiana Astapenko, who won the contest, work on the reduction of geo-ecological damage when storing halite waste. This is an unavoidable by-product of the processing of potassium ores, a raw material for fertilizer production. The young scientists propose to reduce the level of pollution of nature by using and improving the method of hydraulic reclamation.
“In the process of reclamation, the halite tailings are compacted, which allows saving up to 40% of the sludge storage area. Thus, the subsoil user has less impact on the environment by increasing the specific volume of waste storage per unit of land area,” explained Nikita Yesman.
Anna Dudina from St. Petersburg Mining University is working on a digital model of one of Norilsk Nickel’s mines. This is necessary in order to confirm raw material production forecasts and improve logistics.
“The simulation model allows us to optimize the number of machines and rigs to be used in the mine, avoiding their downtime and losses associated with an inefficient use of the transport fleet,” said Anna Dudina.
The digital modeling software, which was created at Mining University last year, allows doing this work. Powerful computers build a three-dimensional model of a mine, quarry, or enrichment plant, and within a few days, they calculate the behavior of equipment and the entire production cycle, which in reality can take from 20 to 30 years. However, there is no way to do that without human participation - a scientist must have all the data about the object so that the model reflects not only the geometry but also the physical properties of the deposit. Equally important are the competencies of the project author, which will allow him to correctly interpret the information obtained.
During the closing ceremony of the International forum contest, the rector of Mining University Vladimir Litvinenko said that its winners gain several competitive advantages at once. Firstly, they get the right to enter graduate school at the university in St. Petersburg, and secondly, they get free participation in one of its summer schools. Thirdly, they will be given priority when an application for a grant of the international program “Management of Subsoil Use Objects” is considered. It provides for a master’s degree at one of the Mining University's foreign partners - in Austria, Great Britain, China, or Finland.
It is worth mentioning that besides the contest, the program of the conference included excursions to the enterprises of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region, the case championship, lectures of important engineers and scientists. Among them were Sergey Serdyukov, ex-Technical Director of Nord Stream, expert of the Russian Federation Council, Holger Schulz, General Director of CAT distributor Zepellin Rusland, Roman Samsonov, Vice President of the Russian Gas Society, and many others.
Many prominent experts attended the conference, including Jean-Paul Ngomé Abiaga, Advisor to the Director-General of UNESCO in Science; Charles Hendry, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce, former Minister of Energy of the United Kingdom; Peter Moser, Vice-Rector of the Leoben Mining University (Austria); Konstantin Simonov, President of the National Energy Security Fund; Colleen Church, Executive Director of the Institute for Materials, Minerals, and Mining (IOM3, UK) and many other.
Let us remind that the forum, which is held annually at St. Petersburg Mining University, was organized by the International Center of Competence in Mining Engineering Education under the auspices of UNESCO. SIBUR and PhosAgro traditionally acted in the role of its partners.
You can see all the photos from the events held during the forum here.