Since its inception in 2018, the Center has been solving a variety of tasks: increasing the level of human resource capacity of raw materials companies, research expeditions, and summer schools for international students.
On March 7, 2018, at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation Alexander Novak, and Rector of St. Petersburg Mining University Vladimir Litvinenko signed an agreement to establish the International Competence Center for Mining Education.
From the very first day, the main goal of the Center was to increase the level of human resource capacity of raw materials companies, which fully complies with the program for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. This strategic paradigm — increasing the basic knowledge with the support of the Russian branch of the United Nations became the basis for the development of the International Standard for Resource Extraction Engineers.
The International Competence Center for Mining and Engineering Education has regularly held international conferences on energy and subsoil use, environmental protection, and climate change. These include the Russian-German Feedstock Forum, the Russo-British Raw Materials Dialogue, and Hydrogen Conferences. These discussion platforms enabled politicians, scientists, and businesspeople from different countries to exchange views, obtain information about the most relevant areas of scientific research, and establish business connections, as well as to increase the profitability of energy and mining enterprises through the integration of researchers and transnational companies.
In addition to this, the experts of the Center have participated in Antarctic expeditions. For instance, they extracted ice cores hundreds of thousands of years old from a well at the Vostok station. The study of the Antarctic ice allows us to understand what processes occurred in the Earth’s atmosphere at the time of its formation and what consequences they led to. These studies increase the accuracy of climate change forecasts.
Another area of the Center’s work is short-term educational programs during Summer Schools. In 2021 alone, more than 600 students and graduate students from China, India, Iran, Lebanon, South Africa, Namibia, Belarus, Armenia, and Kazakhstan took part in them. These schools turned out to be extremely popular: the Center receives hundreds of applications from those willing to attend the event. Latin America, China, and Africa are especially interested as the well-being of these nations directly depends on the development of mineral resources.
The creation of international branches in Armenia, Kazakhstan, China, South Africa, and other countries was an invaluable contribution to the work of the Center. These organizations participate in the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the mining industry. Joint work with Russian colleagues aims to reduce the technogenic impact on the environment, introduce the best available technologies into the industry, and increase engineers’ competencies.
According to Rector of St. Petersburg Mining University Vladimir Litvinenko, at present, the mining industry and related industries are facing up to global changes. Therefore, to train competent specialists, universities should promote joint educational programs and joint innovative research and involve business in education. The Center can facilitate mutually beneficial interaction between universities and employers. “St. Petersburg Mining University will become a laboratory of ideas and innovations, enrich developing countries with its experience, and make a significant contribution to the creation of efficient technologies for the extraction, transportation, and processing of raw materials, which our planet needs more than ever,” said Vladimir Litvinenko. “Definitely, the creation of the International Competence Center for Mining and Engineering Education and its work are crucial events. The Center has global goals and objectives that reflect the current challenges of the industry all over the world.”