A poll of more than 500 villages throughout East Timor in late January – encompassing 35,000 people – showed that 70 per cent cited education as the most important issue to be tackled by the nascent country, followed by health (49 per cent), agriculture (32 per cent) and the economy (30 per cent). One in five people said roads (22 per cent) were a key challenge, while 18 per cent noted poverty, 16 per cent named water, and 12 per cent said electricity. “No other nation on the verge of its independence has had the wisdom or faith in its people to ask these questions,” said independence leader Xanana Gusmão, who as head of the Consultative Commission for the Civil Society on Development turned over the preliminary results to Chief Minister Marí Alkatiri. “No other nation has consulted the people so widely and so systematically. This is something unique that we all, as East Timorese, should be proud of,” he added. Meanwhile, members of East Timor’s Constituent Assembly today discussed five different draft versions of the preamble to the territory’s first constitution, in anticipation of signing the document into law later this week. The drafts, presented by various political parties represented in the Assembly, will next be synthesised by the body’s Systemization and Harmonization Committee into one single preamble that will be voted on by the plenary. This morning and yesterday the Assembly considered and then rejected a number of amendments to the draft. Those proposing the changes claimed that the Committee ignored certain critical issues raised by the public during a weeklong district public consultation process.
Saminco has designed a “Pure Electric” propulsion system for underground mining vehicles that will last an entire 8 hour shift before needing a recharge. In an effort to cut costs, improve profit margins, and reduce diesel particulate matter emissions, the mining industry is moving away from diesel-powered vehicles to electric, but current technology requires recharging batteries every four hours. Saminco believes that it has found the solution.“Most underground production vehicles are diesel-powered, which produce harmful emissions and generate enormous amounts of heat that requirea significant expenditure on ventilation infrastructure and electrical energy consumption. Electrically-powered vehicles are a solution, and there are many successful applications of trolley-powered and tethered vehicles. However, mining production requires an independently powered vehicle. Existing battery-powered LHDs simply replace the diesel engine with a battery-powered inverter driving a large electric motor coupled to the existing mechanical power transmission train. The electric motor also powers the hydraulic pump. This configuration wastes precious battery energy during idling since the electric motor must operate like a diesel engine at a minimum speed to keep the hydraulic system ready.”This consumption reduces battery operating time to a maximum of four hours. Saminco, working with a LHD manufacturer, ran a successful operation for 18 months in a hard rock mine with a 1.5 yd LHD powered by a 620V/140kWh SoNick molten salt battery, Saminco Battery Charger and a Saminco model L1000 Pure Electric traction system. This confirmed 8 hour shift endurance with battery energy to spare at the end of each shift.