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Gold Fields Ghana has acquired a new "state-of-the-art" instrumentation training rig to train its engineers and young people from communities surrounding the company's Tarkwa and Damang mines in the Western Region.
The rig, built by Endress and Hauser and supplied through its local partner, Automation Group Ghana, is "one of its kind in Ghana and Africa".
At the commissioning of the rig at the Tarkwa mine, Mr Joshua Mortoti, Executive Vice President and Head of Gold Fields West Africa, said the rig will "offer intensive and practical training as it simulates real-world conditions in the process plant in a safe classroom environment.
"Our instrumentation engineers will be equipped with the technical know-how, which will enhance their competence."
Mr Mortoti noted that the rig, which costs over 450,000 Euros, will also be used to train community youth when the "Gold Fields Training School launches the instrumentation apprenticeship programme for young people in the host communities".
According to him, the company is committed to the skills development of its workforce.
"Since 2014, we have invested close to US$17 million in various competency-enhancement, leadership and professional development programmes for our employees and business partners. Some of these training programmes cater to the specific needs of employees, so that they can develop their individual potential."
According to Ing. Kweku Asmah, CEO of The Automation Group Ghana, the rig features a state-of-the-art technology, enabling comprehensive training in process instrumentation and automation.
"The training rig has been designed to simulate all control systems used in a typical mining process, such as froth flotation and thickening processes, providing the best possible practical training experience, with a specific focus on pressure, flow and level metering systems."
Ing. Asmah added that the holistic learning environment "fosters innovation and ingenuity" as it integrates "Endress and Hauser's precision instrumentation and Festo Didactic's training expertise in automation".
Mr Simon Egloff, Business Development Manager for Switzerland-based Endress and Hauser, described the instrumentation rig as an engineering masterpiece.
"The possibilities which this powerful tool offers make the Gold Fields' Tarkwa Mine unique in Ghana and entire West Africa. Smart sensors using heartbeat technology as a solid base for internet of things will help to move from reactive maintenance to preventive maintenance."
He expressed optimism that once trainees become familiar with the latest technology embedded in the training rig, they will be capable of extending "improvements into the field" and achieve higher productivity.