Blog posts

Time to say goodbye to Cape Town

So my time here is almost over and I will leave Cape Town tomorrow. I really can’t quite believe it. I have been here for 9 weeks now and it really feels like yesterday that I arrived (pardon the cliché)!

I will keep this blog short as I don’t want to bore people anymore, but as I am sure you can tell I have had a fantastic time in this amazing country that is full of such diversity everywhere you look. I would recommend a visit to this city to anyone, there is so much to do in the city as well as in the surrounding areas.

Working 9-5, what a way to make a living…

It has been a long time since I talked extensively about the real reason I am in Cape Town. I have been at the University of Cape Town for 8 weeks now, with just one more week to go! It will be incredibly sad to leave as I have had an amazing time in this city and met lots of interesting and generous people at the university.

As I said at the start of my blogs, I am doing a research project looking at the effect of froth flotation on coal. This has been focused on two coal samples from coalfields in the North East of the country in areas called Waterberg and Witbank.

A cultural insight

So, a lot more time has passed than normal as I get more and more busy – both with work and with having fun!

Last time I spoke to you, I promised some kind of cultural enlightenment/interesting aspect of life from this part of the Southern hemisphere, something that is different to me talking about floating coal or being a generic tourist in Cape Town, so here goes…

  1. A minibus called a Maxi Taxi (says it all in the name really) is crammed with people to well beyond capacity until there are at least 5 people sharing 3 seats and then a man leans out the window and whistles, shouts, yells and calls out to try and attract yet more people into the vehicle.

This was my first rodeo!

I’ve been busy this past week, making progress with projects at work and exploring more of what Salt Lake City (SLC) has to offer.

Last weekend I headed into Downtown SLC to visit City Creek, a new shopping mall. In true English style, the first shop I visited was Teavana, a shop selling specialty teas and accessories. There I stocked up on some good quality English Breakfast Tea, which has been helping with the early morning starts for work!

Whilst walking around Downtown I also noticed these GREENbikes. They seem to work in a similar way to the Boris Bikes in London and are used as an environmentally friendly way to get around the city.

Flying high down under – the Great Barrier Reef

Blogging from the Great Barrier Reef. How could we not?

Ok… so we are not exactly fully submerged in water right now, more like chilling at the airport rocking some sunburn. But the facts are still the same: what an absolutely awesome weekend!

On Friday night we lucky three jetted off to Cairns, a tropical town about two hours north of Brisbane, in the hope of catching a wee glimpse of everyone’s favourite lil’ fish, Nemo. We managed to bag an absolute bargain, staying at a backpacker’s hostel – fittingly called The Globetrotters – where we got the fine privilege of a bed… just a bed.

Cape Town at its best – in the sun!

Hello everyone! So, another week has passed and my time here is flying by. I still cannot quite believe that I have only been here for two weeks as I have done so much already, both at UCT and also in my spare time.

I am sure you will all be glad to know that I have actually started the proper dirty work this week, and I can now see why coal miners are always depicted as being covered in coal dust as it does seem to go everywhere! I have now started lab work properly along with my lab partner Emma, and have been undertaking froth flotation experiments to determine which is the most successful and efficient method for desulphurisation of coal, specifically a South African coal from the North East of the country in the Waterberg region.

Blogging from Salt Lake City

I’ve just finished my first week out here in Salt Lake City, Utah, working as an Intern Process Engineer at the Bingham Canyon Copper Mine with Rio Tinto.

They have given me this fantastic opportunity to gain practical experience of the mining industry to complement my Chemical Engineering studies at Imperial College.

Situated in Salt Lake Valley, the surrounding mountains provide Salt Lake City with a stunning backdrop on both the eastern and western sides. The picture was taken north of Downtown Salt Lake City and gives a view down through the whole valley. The Bingham Canyon Mine is situated to the right of this picture, approximately 18 miles away, and on that clear day it could be seen with the naked eye.

Floating coal and exploring my home

So, my time in Cape Town has begun for the next 8 weeks and I have already been here for a week – I really can’t believe it! Since finding out how I would be spending my summer (unfortunately not summer in the Southern Hemisphere), 6000 miles (ish) away from home, I didn’t quite believe I would eventually be living and working in what is regarded as one of the best cities in the world!

So you may be wondering how I managed to spend so much time in such an amazing place…. Well, I was lucky enough to be awarded the Rio Tinto scholarship, a new initiative created this year to form a partnership between Imperial College and Rio Tinto, one of the biggest mining companies in the world.

Microwaving rocks in the magical land of Oz

Crazy title. Hold onto your seats, all will be revealed.

3 weeks down already?! Cue blogging cliché no.1: time really does fly by when you’re having fun! But let’s rewind a little.

So you may be wondering how on earth we ended up down-undaah?

Along with 10 other lucky students, we were awarded The Rio Tinto Scholarship 2012. Such a privilege has allowed us to set off on summer internships to different corners of the world, to gain valuable insights into the mining industry.

So here we are at The Julius-Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre, Brisbane, Australia (check out our pad here in Indooroopilly).