The Minister of Mines and Energy, Hon. Obeth Kandjoze, inaugurated the first ever Simulation Training Centre at the Ohorongo Cement Sargberg Plant recently.
The centre forms part of the N$50 million total investment which was made into a Composite Cement Plant, a new packaging line and the Simulation Training Centre for control rooms, a first for the local market.
Ohorongo Cement is a world class producer of high quality cement to the local market, and currently has a 98% local workforce, but there are critical areas where specialized skills are needed.
Essentially, cement and heavy mining industrial expertise is a vital skill necessary to establish the operational structures of the factory. One of these critical areas identified is the availability of cement experienced and skilled supervisors and control room operators.
The training of supervisors and control room operators specific to the cement industry remains a huge challenge, because Ohorongo Cement is the only cement producer and the skills and knowledge needed can only come from training provided through a combination of simulation training, and continuous on-the-job training.
Further to this, to date there was no simulation training facility in Namibia, and therefore the establishment of such a training centre will be beneficial to the total industry.
The company plans to buy a SIMULEX cement plant simulator to be used for the training of local production supervisors, foremen and control room operators, in a newly constructed training centre.
This system currently has over 200 applications worldwide, and it provides a very realistic reconstruction of the behaviour of the production plant, combined with a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system (SCADA).
During simulator training, the learner is exposed to the dynamic behaviour of a cement plant, in a real time based environment. The simulator provide a huge scope of process variables, providing the learner the opportunity to simulate grinding raw material, coal and clinker, and to handle and optimize kiln and cooling processes, without being connected to the real plant.
As part of the second phase, in order to ensure formal recognition, the company plans to involve the Namibian Training Authority in the certification of the Training Centre, as well as the Chamber of Mines of Namibia.
Training would be provided for 20 employees initially where-after it will be rolled out to include instrumentation artisans and selected artisans, in total targeting an estimated 30 – 35 employees during the first phase, excluding any fluctuations in employee numbers due to employees leaving the Company.
The broader roll out during the second phase to the industry includes mostly mining and manufacturing, working through the Namibia Manufacturers Association (140 members), and the Chamber of Mines Namibia (112 members).