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Mining company helps open up training at Reefton

Mining company helps open up training at Reefton

Under a landmark new agreement, a new training facility has been re-established in an old mines school in the West Coast township of Reefton.

GRD Macraes in partnership with Tai Poutini Polytechnic have opened the facility, owned by GRD Macraes.

The complex was originally the Reefton School of Mines established in the 1950s, while subsequent occupants were the Ministry of Forestry and the Department of Conservation (DOC).

GRD Macraes bought the complex from DOC in 1994 shortly after it began gold exploration activities on the West Coast.

``Essentially the full circle of mining has been completed. New processing technology has been developed to allow further extraction of gold from the Reefton mineral province,” Macraes chief operating officer Len Jubber said today.

Tai Poutini Polytechnic will hold training courses and other activities during the year. Search and rescue organisers also use the facility.

The centre will be available for various types of training. Tai Poutini Polytechnic has developed an agreement with the local high school, Inangahua College, to share the facilities, to maximise the benefits to both students and the community, Mr Jubber said.

The first training programme for plant operators began at the centre earlier this week.

The 18-week programme is designed to provide competency-based education in the area of earth moving, using small equipment such as backhoes and tip trucks.

Twenty people were selected for the course from a large list of applicants. Successful students will be issued with recognised NZQA accredited plant operator certificates acknowledging their competency.

Tai Poutini Polytechnic chief executive Don Campbell said he was pleased the Reefton facility had been resurrected for training.

“This is stage one which provides three classrooms, offices, a kitchen and dining area.

``Subsequent stages will include an upgrade of accommodation units to allow residential courses potentially including specialised corporate retreats,” Mr Campbell said.

Mr Jubber said the training centre will help address the shortage of skilled and unskilled labour markets on the West Coast.

``This is an example of our commitment to sustainability in places which we mine and may mine in the future,” he said.

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