The June/July edition of CIM Magazine, a trade publication of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, features an article regarding Charlotte Gibson’s work incorporating virtual reality simulation into two courses for students of Queen’s Mining.

Gibson, an Assistant Professor and the Associate Head of the Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining at Queen’s, collaborated with the Faculty’s Engineering Teaching & Learning Team (ETLT) to create interactive virtual reality (VR) simulations for students of "Introduction to mining and mineral processing,” a second-year course, and "Methods of mineral separation,” a third-year course.

The ETLT received $90,000 in 2021 from eCampusOntario to develop the project, which Gibson piloted in the two courses this past academic year.

The VR software simulated a copper concentrator, chosen “for its broad applicability to mining students, given the number of copper mines and deposits across Canada and Ontario in partic­ ular,” according to the article.

To meet the project's deadline, Gibson went with a simplified crush-grind-float configuration. The VR concentrator's flowsheet is designed to separate chalcopyrite, the most common copper-containing mineral, from other minerals present and produce a fine-grained material. "It's not producing a copper end product, it's an intermediate stage in the mining value chain," Gibson said.

The article reports that the pilot project was successful, from the perspectives of students (via grades and evaluations), Gibson, and industry collaborator BBA Consultants. Gibson intends to expand the project to incorporate more courses and engage more students of Mining at Queen’s.

The full article is available on the CIM Magazine website. Note: a registration on the website is required to access the magazine issue.


Charlotte Gibson, at work with a student to test the VR hardware last summer.



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