ROME, April 16 (Xinhua) -- As the first training course gathering Italian and Chinese geologists on the theme of mining was launched in Beijing earlier this month, Italian experts say it is the first formal collaboration of Italian geologists with foreign colleagues, which is beneficial for both Italy and China.
According to Italy's National Council of Geologists, the geological departments of both countries agreed to forge a formal cooperative relation as part of the bilateral cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
This deal, reached during a recent state visit to Italy by Chinese President Xi Jinping, is "groundbreaking for everyone involved," Gabrielle Ponzoni, general secretary of the European Federation of Geologists, told Xinhua, adding that "colleagues in both countries are part of a much bigger team now."
In Ponzoni's view, geology, as a professional discipline, is more established in Italy while China is so much larger in area and richer in raw materials, which will open up new doors for Italian professionals.
"Here in Italy we've had a difficult learning curve over the last generation," Ponzoni said. "The way we do things now compared to just one or two decades ago has dramatic changes."
Therefore, "part of the goal is to help China skip the learning curve and benefit from our experience," Ponzoni said, adding that the deal will meanwhile "creates new professional opportunities" for Italian geologists as well.
Besides mining and petroleum exploration, geology also plays a role in engineering, agriculture, measuring environmental risks, and protection against natural hazards such as earthquakes, floods and volcanoes.
According to Vincenzo Giovine, vice-president of Italy's National Council of Geologists (NCG), the agreement will facilitate professional and cultural exchanges and ultimately reinforce the strong ties between Italy and China.
Citing Wang Kun, deputy director of the China Geological Survey, the NCG said in a recent statement that the bilateral cooperation "mainly focuses on mining standards and training for professional geologists."
The effort to train qualified geologists can improve labor markets. As the Chinese market develops there will be a growing need for geologists, Wang was quoted as saying.
Giovine agreed with Wang, stating that the cooperation between the countries will combine the know-how and experience of the Italian geologists with China's training systems and the burgeoning economy.
In a different interview, Giovine called the geological cooperation "such a good fit for both sides," because "both countries will gain from the ties we are developing."