Media Release

Students explore mines without leaving classroom

9 August 2012

More than 900 students from across the country are currently exploring Solid Energy's opencast and underground mines in the Waikato, without even leaving the classroom. The virtual field trip, run by LEARNZ with support from Solid Energy, takes both primary and high school students on a journey to investigate the origin, extraction, distribution and use of coal in New Zealand as well as examining the sustainability of mining and the rehabilitation of mine sites.

Yesterday the students received a full virtual tour of Rotowaro Opencast Mine and saw how Solid Energy uses the latest technology to mine coal and manage the environmental impacts of opencast mining. Today participants head to Huntly East Underground Mine and travel 300 metres underground to explore the unique challenges to mining posed by New Zealand geologic conditions.

To complete the journey, students will follow a load of coal mined at Huntly East Mine to the New Zealand Steel plant at Glenbrook in Auckland to see how coal is used to make steel.

LEARNZ is a partnership between Heurisko, the Ministry of Education, Solid Energy and others. There are currently 4696 registered teachers from 1821 different schools participating in the field trip programme. Each LEARNZ field trip offers online resources to prepare students for their experience including online daily diary, digital video, audio conferences, email and a web board. LEARNZ is free to all New Zealand registered teachers.