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An agreement on scientific cooperation between Saint-Petersburg Mining University and LUT University was signed on the day of Putin’s visit to Finland  

LUT University is now the key partner university in Finland for the International Competence Centre for Mining-Engineering Education under the auspices of UNESCO. Its main activities will be focused on improving technologies of waste recycling, including waste reuse and disposal of hazardous and toxic substances, as well as working on developing innovations resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions, with specific attention to be paid to power engineering facilities.

The agreement on scientific-technical cooperation between the International Competence Centre for Mining-Engineering Education under the auspices of UNESCO and LUT University was signed in Helsinki on Wednesday, August 21. The document was endorsed by Vladimir Litvinenko, the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Competence Center, and Juha-Matti Saksa, Rector of LUT.

During the ceremony, Litvinenko and Saksa noted that one of the main tasks of the Competence Centre is ”promotion of sustainable development principles in the mineral resources sector, both nationwide and on the state-by-state basis” through improving quality of engineering training programmes and industry adoption of the best available technologies. The implementation of this idea takes place through the network of partners - higher educational institutions and enterprises from different countries.

According to Vladimir Litvinenko, the Rector of St. Petersburg Mining University, also the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Competence Center, "Our society is mainly unaware of the importance of mineral resources sector for progressive development of mankind - not only here, in Russia, but also in other countries, such as Canada, Australia or Norway. However, the importance of natural resources cannot be underestimated, since they are the core element of the production value chain. Without natural resources, we will not be able to manufacture such goods for direct consumption as cars or electronics and find ourselves back in the Stone Age. In the meantime, there are less high-grade ore deposits and hydrocarbons resources are located at even greater depths, in the hard-to-reach areas. Therefore, we, representatives of higher education institutions, need to work more actively to introduce the best available technologies and improve the competence of engineers. In regards to the latter, I mean the competence of both the students of engineering programmes as well as employees working in extracting and processing enterprises. Today we are gathering a team of technical universities and mining companies - the team which will work on improving the efficiency of the mining industry as a whole as well as on the competence of its particular representatives. In this work, we are supported by Shell, SIBUR, PhosAgro, other large companies, most of the technical universities from all over the world, - we are all interested in bringing this initiative to success”.

Vladimir Litvinenko also noted the plan to sign similar agreements, as the one with LUT, with four more universities throughout the year. The next step will be to bring the number to 12 higher education institutions, located in different countries. Each of the universities will be carrying out research work in their own area.

As noted by Juha-Matti Saksa,”The need for positive changes in the mining sector is our mission, and we have been working on it, together with the Mining University, for some years. It only takes 1.5 hours to get from Lappeenranta to St. Petersburg, which simplifies the matter and allows us to be actively engaged in joint researches, provide exchange opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate students and professors as well. Such issues as waste management, sustainability, social and environmental responsibility are of specific importance to us. I think these topics will unite us within the framework of the Сompetence Center”.

Being one of the partnering universities of the Competence Center, LUT will be conducting research in such fields as landfill reclamation, industrial waste utilisation and increasing the efficiency of mining. The results of the studies are expected to be introduced into production at extracting and processing enterprises around the world, including Russia and Finland obviously.

In addition, Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology (Lappeenrannan-Lahden teknillinen yliopisto or LUT-yliopisto in Finnish) has agreed to participate in the joint projects of the Competence Center. In particular, along with the other partnering universities, LUT will contribute to the process of unification of educational standards and increasing academic mobility.

It should be noted that environmental protection, specifically the need of introducing the most up-to-date waste management technologies both in Russia and globally, was one of the topics Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, and Sauli Niinistö, the President of Finland, discussed at the summit in Helsinki.

Kirill Molodtsov, the Aide to the Chief of Staff at the Presidential Executive Office of the Russian Federation, was also present at the signing ceremony and gave his comments on the relevance of the agreement,”The International Competence Centre under the auspices of UNESCO has been working on facilitating interuniversity cooperation and integrating science and industry. Consecutively, it results in higher competence in mining education. This kind of work is now in demand all over the world, it is the basis of sustainable development for the future years. No less important is the fact that the cooperation between higher educational institutions is actively functioning, despite the various crises and difficult political situations”.

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