Invention turns gold

2017-09-13 06:00
Winners of the Department of Mineral Resources’ 2017 learners competition, Rebaone Koopalame (left) and Didintle Tsatseng of the PH Moeketsi Agricultural High School in Taung, interacting with Howard Marsden (Petra Diamond Mines’ general manager) in the presence of their teacher and mentor, Augustine Makgoka.Photo: Boipelo Mere

Winners of the Department of Mineral Resources’ 2017 learners competition, Rebaone Koopalame (left) and Didintle Tsatseng of the PH Moeketsi Agricultural High School in Taung, interacting with Howard Marsden (Petra Diamond Mines’ general manager) in the presence of their teacher and mentor, Augustine Makgoka.Photo: Boipelo Mere

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A discovery made by two 16 year old learners of the PH Moeketsi Agricultu-ral High School in Taung, Rebaone Koopalame and Didintle Tsatseng, can completely change their lives for the better.

Their inventions won a national learner competition hosted by the Department of Mineral Resources in July, wherein they each won a scholarship up to PhD level, tablets, a printer and a wireless keyboard.

The greatest challenge within the mining and minerals sector, has been identified as the extreme heat overall.

The two learners found a solution through the invention of the LAN-ANDO vest.

The concept of the vest is excelling and getting the necessary attention from mines, although it is still a prototype going through tests and research processes.

The vest, which they have been working on for three months, will turn into ice when there is a heat wave, helping the miners a lot in hot or extremely hot conditions.

The team reveals how it all started as a school competition which was a build-up to the Learner Focus Week programme where some learners were expected to participate in a mine science project.

They were required to identify a problem that is directly or indirectly affecting the mining and mineral sector, or the environment.

They also had to come up with innovative solutions to the problem.

Gr. 11 learner Rebaone, and his partner, Didintle, who is in Gr. 10, were hosted by Petra Diamond Mine in Kimberley. At this event on Thursday (07/09) they were congratulated and filled in on the different career opportunities in the mining industry.

They were accompanied by their mentor and Physical Science teacher, Augustine Makgoka, who has been by their side throughout the programme.

The mine also participated by allowing the learners to do their research with them during the project.

In welcoming the learners to join his team, Gert Klopper, communication manager, said the mine has a wide range of opportunities that the learners can apply for, if they are interested in joining Petra Mine South Africa.

“We thought that it was such an achievement that someone from a rural village came up with such a stunning idea,” Klopper said.

“We never expected to win, but we were driven by our mentor to put our all in this to prove ourselves,” said Didintle.

Rebaone added that they never pictured themselves managing to reach such an achievement as they have always only heard or read about such competition winners.

Apart from their future dreams of being a mining engineer and a geologist, they wish for their invention to be turned into a final product and be scientifically acknowledged.

The team attribute their success to hard work, through which they had to give up a lot of their time.

They said the most difficult part of the project was when they had to brainstorm in order to come up with this winner idea.

“The challenge was to identify a specific problem within the mining sector. This was just one of many,” Didintle said.

They admitted to have struggled with fatigue, but their families supported them to overcome it.

Didintle said she has to travel at least an hour between school and home on a daily basis, and had to make time for other school tasks.

“We got all the support we needed from the mine and our school,” said Rebaone.

They thanked everyone involved in the project, including the mine, for making the impossible possible.

Now they also know where their academic strenghts are.

Makgoka said his role was only to mentor the learners and accompany them to Mafikeng fortnightly.

He said another challenge was that Taung did not have a mine and therefore they had to travel to Rustenburg, before Petra Mine agreed to assist in that regard.

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