S&B celebrates the European Minerals Day 2013

With events and initiatives in 9 facilities in Bulgaria, Greece, Germany and – for the first time – Turkey and Italy, S&B Industrial Minerals celebrated the European Minerals Day 2013.

The European Minerals Day (EMD) is an initiative launched in 2007 and is since organized every two years aiming at raising the public’s awareness, and more importantly the schoolchildren’s from the various local communities, about minerals. This year, the European Commission chose EMD as a key channel for promoting the European Innovation Partnership Initiative, creating synergies among all raw material stakeholders to illustrate the role of raw materials throughout their whole value chain, with special focus on innovation and resource efficiency. As stated in the EMD 2013 website, raw materials are the lifeblood of the EU industry, with at least 30 million jobs in the EU and 70% of EU manufacturing production depending upon them. During the 4th European Minerals Day close to 100 events in 20 countries took place around Europe during the months of May and June.

S&B events from around Europe were varied and successful:

Bulgaria

S&B Industrial Minerals AD-Bulgaria organized a local Minerals day for the second time as part of its Sustainable Development plan. The event was held on the 21st of May 2013 aiming to raise local awareness concerning the world of industrial minerals, their uses, and importance in our everyday-life.

About 35 students from the Mining-Geological Institute and the “Paisiy Hilendarski” local branch of the Plovdiv University Ecology Department were introduced to the extraction, processing and application methods of bentonite, perlite and zeolite minerals. S&B Bentonite plant specialists welcomed the students and accompanied them on a tour explaining every step of the production process. They also visited the Bentonite laboratory, where the students had the chance to observe different methods of analyzing the various bentonite products.

The Mineral Day tour finished at the company’s office facilities where all the visitors were offered a light lunch and were surprised with gifts.

Greece

On the occasion of the EMD 2013, S&B in Athens decided to support SchoolLab, an innovative online competition organized by SciCo and the British Council under the aegis of the Ministry of Education for the creation and exchange of scientific ideas among students, their professors, and researchers. This year’s scientific subject was the Earth, with a special focus in the world of minerals and technologies deriving from the use of the earth’s raw materials. More specifically, 729 students -from 5th grade elementary school to Junior high school- and 93 teachers, in 235 groups from 73 schools in 50 Greek cities participated this year. Students were required to pick a scientific subject of interest to them, conduct relevant research and create an interesting way to present their subject with a 3-5 minute video. The best video selected is showcased in SchoolLab’s website. Get a flavor of the competition from the short video from the award ceremony.

In Fokis, about 120 pupils of Itea 1st and 2nd Primary Schools, accompanied by 6 teachers, the Principle and the School Consultant of Fokis Primary Education visited S&B’s bauxite mines’ facility. A warm welcome was followed by the presentation of the mine’s activities and reclamation works. The tour included a visit to Vagonetto – Fokis Mining Park and a visit to S&B’s plant nursery where local and endemic plants are reproduced for use in mine reclamation. Young visitors were very excited to learn about S&B’s activities and especially with their visit to “Vagonetto”, where they had the chance to see how an underground mine was actually operating in the past, but also to find out, in the dedicated exhibition area, the basics of S&B’s work, from mining exploration for bauxite deposits to the end process of alumina production.

In Milos, about 130 kindergarten and elementary schoolchildren participated in a series of activities involving: a guided MILOTERRANEAN Geo Experience tour passing through Aggeria mine, the largest bentonite mine of the island, and Voudia, S&B’s main processing facilities; a visit to the company’s plant nursery where local and endemic plants are reproduced for mine reclamation purposes followed; The event was complemented with a visit and tour of the Milos Mining Museum whereby the young students were informed about Milos’ minerals and their use in our everyday lives.

Germany

450 visitors from the neighboring area were welcomed at our Oberhausen facility for an Open day that included attractions for kids and adults. All presentations, which included a pedagogical poster show and multimedia stands were built around the theme “The way of the mineral”, aiming to show the role of minerals in products of our everyday lives. Minerals such as fluorspar, corundum and wollastonite, part of S&B’s Stollberg continuous casting fluxes products, were on display. The “travel” of our products from facilities to clients around the world was also demonstrated, as well as production processes where our products are used, such as steel production and refractories. Fun & food activities were also offered to visitors, who showed a deep interest in S&B’s work. The event was supported by the Landesindustriemuseum NRW.

In Marl Sinsen 150 people, neighbors, friends, employees and family, joined the celebration. The topic of the day was “Paper in its purest form” and comprised a “collage” of activities: tours of the facility and of the production process, which were scheduled several times during the day; a performance about paper; food, fun and play; and, paper-making from the raw material bentonite.

At Marl Brassert 12 kindergarten children with their teachers visited S&B’s facility and were acquainted with bentonite – what it is, how it is processed and its “travels” by ship to customers. Complemented with drawing fun activities and, of course, food, young visitors came away happy and wiser.

Turkey

In the town of Karabiga, where S&B’s facility is located, a Minerals Day was organized at the town-hall with nearly 300 participants. 270 children from local primary schools and their teachers, as well as town officials, including the Mayor of Karabiga Municipality and representatives from the Biga Chamber of Commerce and Industry joined the event. After a short introduction about the European Minerals Day, a presentation about various types of minerals followed and a video called “Common Ground” was shown, which focused on minerals’ uses in our daily life, how they are mined and processed, what responsible mining is about, why resources should not be wasted and the importance of recycling. Children received a small token of the day, colouring books titled “What is mining”, as well as refreshments.

Italy

S&B’s Olmedo mine opened its doors to 60 boys and girls of the elementary schools, with the presence of representatives from local authorities. After a safety induction, where young visitors were equipped with vests and helmets and provided with necessary instructions, the facility tour began. An introduction to the world of minerals, especially perlite and bauxite, was made, and was complemented by an explanation of how these were created and how they are extracted and transformed into everyday life’s uses. Additionally, the extraction process and mine reclamation –linked to biodiversity- was explained. A guided tour in the underground mine was the day’s highlight. Apart from S&B’s employees that supported the event with enthusiasm, a representative team of employees from our partner company Sarda Perlite as well as local authorities’ representatives joined the event making it even more participatory. See the video in our YouTube channel.