The certificates mark the completion of Level 1 of the three-part belt splicing training program that the employees had been undergoing for the past eight months.
Conveyor belts are continuous lengths of belts that take the ore from the crushers to the mills for grinding and processing. As they vary in length, the belt material is brought to site in rolls, then sections are joined together to get the desired lengths on the pulleys.
The process of joining the belt materials is called splicing. A lot of preparation goes into combining the layers of belt to ensure that they are strong and durable in transporting the ore from various crushers and stockpiles to the mills.
FPM training co-ordinator Michael Garrett explained that not only was this the beginning of formal recognition of the belt splicing trade, but it would also serve as a guideline in assessing employees’ qualifications.
“Level 1 is the foundation unit and the start of formal recognition of the skill set of the current team. Now that it’s completed, Level two and three are the more technical components which we will use as a guideline to assess employment levels in recognition of an achieved skill set,” he said.
Meanwhile, rubber and belts co-ordinator Darren Perkins applauded trainers John Malala, Michael Garrett, Sitiveni Nalatu and Dallas Morgan for their enormous effort to make the program become a reality.
“We envisage a nationally recognised accredited program with close assistance from the National Apprenticeship and Trades Training Board (NATTB) which requires us to show an established solid training program with evidence and achievements from the courses conducted,” he said.
From this program, 10 local Lihirians and one employee from Kavieng are on their way to becoming specialists in belt splicing.