Mining University will create an engineering center to train geologists
The task of the new structure will include not only improving the competencies of existing employees of exploration companies and training young specialists, but also introducing the latest scientific achievements and advanced technologies into the industry.
On Thursday, June 3, the Rector of Mining University Vladimir Litvinenko, the President of GEOTECH Vladimir Tolkachev, and the Chairman of the Board of TRUST Bank Alexander Sokolov signed an agreement on the creation of the St. Petersburg-based Engineering Center of Excellence in Geological Exploration. The document was signed on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum.
The parties noted that the “creation of the Center will promote the implementation of research ideas in practice” and "increase the quality of higher professional education". And its central point will be the powerful computing center, where the information, accumulated during the 20th and 21st centuries during the geological exploration works, will be processed and interpreted. This base will form the basis of an all-Russian "digital platform of forecasts", which is designed to simplify the process of finding natural resources in our country and make it more systematic.
“During the days of the Soviet Union there was a clear rule - for every ton of minerals produced, it was necessary to add one and a half tons. It was this policy regarding the reproduction of mineral resources that enabled Russia to achieve an economic breakthrough in the 2000s, primarily due to increased budget revenues from hydrocarbon exports and refined products. Fortunately, we had a reserve created by Soviet geologists, because for more than 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union almost no one was engaged in the exploration of natural resources. All these years we were eating up what was found by our predecessors," said Vladimir Litvinenko, Rector of Mining University, immediately after signing the agreement.
He also noted that “the peak demand for oil and especially for gas will not be passed soon,” closer to the middle of the century. At the same time, even in the next century, their importance for mankind will remain quite high. They will be used not only as energy resources but also as raw materials for advanced processing.
“Furniture, car tires, plastic windows, and many other household items are already made from hydrocarbons today, and in the future, the oil and gas chemical industry will become an even more important part of the domestic economy. This means that we simply must work on improving the quality of education in the field of exploration, increasing the number of competent professionals, which will allow us to return to the practice that existed during Soviet times. And to substantially increase Russia's resource base," Litvinenko continued.
The Rector of Mining University reminded us that raw materials are the basis of any technology. That is why even in the next century when the significance of hydrocarbons for society will be much lower than it is today, natural resources will still remain the basis for the development of civilization. Lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper - without these and many other resources, it is impossible to make batteries for electric cars, solar panels, or wind turbines. This means that geological exploration will remain the cornerstone industry for the country’s social and economic development.
President of the largest Russian exploration company GEOTECH Seismic Vladimir Tolkachev agrees with this. He thinks that one of the bottlenecks hampering intensification of replenishment of the resource base is absence of a unified database where the generalized geophysical information is kept. The opening of the engineering center of competence is aimed, among other things, at eliminating this problem.
Training of qualified staff is no less important. After all, a geologist today - is not a bearded man in a knitted sweater, looking for minerals in the taiga during the day, and singing songs with a guitar around a campfire in the evening, as it was in the distant seventies. Now he is a specialist capable of working with the most complex, expensive equipment and, most importantly, able to interpret data that comes in the form of seismic waves from the bowels of the planet.
“The opening of the competence center will contribute to the integration of entrepreneurial, expert, and scientific community, creating the most favorable conditions for the development of new high-tech projects in the field of geological exploration. This will allow applying in practice the most advanced information and digital technologies and significantly improve the business climate in the cornerstone industry for our state,” stressed Mr. Tolkachev.
Note that cooperation between GEOTECH and Mining University has a history. Many graduates of the oldest higher technical educational institution in Russia work for this company, the students have an internship there. In addition, Vladimir Tolkachev heads the startup club recently created at the university.