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Daniel Draper

BEng Mining and Minerals Engineering

University of Exeter (Camborne School of Mines)

I am currently undertaking a BEng in Mining and Minerals Engineering. During this first year I have been able to take part in different activities that have given me a wider knowledge of the subject while gaining practical skills that otherwise would have been very difficult without the funding. 


International Mining Games - Easter 2018

This year the International Mining Games were held in the UK. For this, over 30 teams from 8 different countries gather to compete in traditional mining techniques to remember the miners who have lost their lives in mine disasters. For this, training was weekly for months as well as extra sessions on weekends. Getting to and from training, the equipment hire, and safety equipment costs money, so the scholarship helped greatly with this. This helped me gain practical experience using jackleg drills and adhering to site safety rules. 


Mopani Copper Mines visit and Red Metals Mining 7s tournament - July 2018

Earlier this year the opportunity to travel to Zambia on a combined mine visit and 7s rugby tournament appeared. If I did not have the scholarship this would have been impossible.


The trip included a visit to Mopani Copper Mines where we experienced the world class training facility including virtual reality drilling, blasting, driving loader and dumpers to ensure everyone is trained correctly, and it takes the danger element away. As well as this, we also travelled down to the Mufulira deeps, at 1540m below the surface of the earth, which is an experience not possible in the UK and gives a taste of what is to come firstly on my placement next summer, which I have gained from going on this trip, but also for my career later on. 


The Red Metals Mining 7s tournament was a great experience as we rarely get to play rugby outside of Cornwall. We played against The Golden Lions team from South Africa who compete in the Currie Cup which was an incredible experience learning from players of that caliber. 


Overall, the T J Jones scholarship has helped my take the incredible opportunities offered to me with both hands and from this I have gained practical skills, a possible summer placement, an appreciation for working mine sites and how demanding they can be, and the chance to play rugby against some of the best young players in the world. 

2019 update

During 2nd year I achieved an overall grade of 64%, a 2:1. I studied the extremely challenging subjects of Fluid Mechanics, Mathematics, Geotechnics, Mining and Surveying, Electrical Energy Conversion and Transport, Surface Mining and Mine Transport, Project Management and Accounting, and Mechanics of Materials.


Also, as part of my course between 2nd and 3rd year it is mandatory to undertake a work placement in the extractive industry, which I completed between May and August 2019. I carried out a summer placement for 10 weeks with a medium sized Australian Gold Mining company in Western Australia. During this time, I learnt valuable skills, gained experience, got an insight into what life after graduation will be like as well as making some excellent industry connections.


What I did on placement:


  • Green program – Spent 1 day with reentry and charge up, shift supervisor, haul truck, remote loader, nipper, longhole drill, Sandvik rhino, and service crew.


  • Assisted geologists with sampling and assisted surveyors with recording development headings, traversing to create a control network, and recording stope CMS to be used for recon. As well as visiting the gold room and witnessing a gold pour (see image below).


  • Gained my LV, manual scaling, and haul truck driving ticket.


  • Production engineering – Learnt from production engineers about drill and blast design and what challenges may be faced, as well as creating stope and RAR charge plans. Also carried out primary and secondary ventilation surveys.


  • Truck driving – Gained my truck driving ticket driving Atlas Copco 65t haul trucks. In doing this I have learnt more about the mining cycle and where challenges and delays in load and haul can come from.


  • Investigative projects – Whist at Saracen I did some reports on the feasibility of certain products and practices. I also worked with the geotechnical department to look at the properties of each stope and how it performed, and the properties of the hanging wall and footwall and look for trends of how the properties of these link to stope performance.


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Above: Holding a freshly poured gold bar on my placement in Australia, Summer 2019.

I would like to thank you for awarding me a grant from the T J Jones Scholarship Fund. It has helped a massive amount. It helped me achieve the best academic grade I could this year in very challenging subjects by allowing me to not have a job in term time so I could focus solely on my studies, and it took the stress out of my placement this as it helped towards paying for my flights, visa, and accommodation when in Perth, allowing me to experience my time in Australia to the fullest.


This coming year am looking to improve my grade and complete my studies with a first-class degree. During 3rd year I will be completing more mining related modules, going on the Sandvik tour to Sweden where we will visit the factory and test mine of one of the largest mining equipment producers in the world, and I will also be applying for graduate jobs and preparing for life after university.

Below: Surveying an old stope in Poldark Mine as part of my field work this year

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