Mine surveyors discuss qualifications and regulations

June 3rd, 2019, Published in Articles: PositionIT, Featured: PositionIT

The Institute of Mine Surveyors of South Africa’s (IMSSA) Mpumalanga Branch meeting was held at the Cullinan Destiny Lodge, Cullinan on 17 May 2019 and was attended by 56 members.

Dennis Rae from the Minerals Council South Africa informed members that the planned phasing out of the Chamber of Mines exams has been postponed indefinitely until relevant qualifications and training paths have been registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). The Chamber of Mines exams will therefore continue as per normal into the foreseeable future.

Branch secretary Robin Kock and branch chairman Tumi Tsotetsi.

Branch secretary Robin Kock and branch chairman Tumi Tsotetsi.

The examination rules for the Mine Surveyor’s Certificate of Competency (MSCC) were also discussed. The head of IMSSA’s Education Committee, Prof. Hennie Grobler, has written to the Director of Mine Surveying as well as the Chief Inspector about the exemptions awarded to holders of certain FET qualifications at NQF level 7 and above. There are also some holders of a MSSC that have no further education and training (FET) qualifications. Members have been informed that as a recognised professional body IMSSA has evaluated the MSCC to be equivalent in credits to a qualification at NQF level  7 .

An ongoing problem at universities and other FETs is the lack of underground experience the students get. Current legislation requires a MSCC candidate to have three years’ practical experience, of which one year must be in the workings of an underground mine. This has become a serious challenge for students and surveyors working solely in opencast mining.

Robin Kock, the branch secretary, gave feedback on the initial meeting of the Mining Regulations Advisory Committee (MRAC), looking at the revision of chapter 17 of the Mining Health and Safety Act (MHSA) regulations. The committee has discovered that unbeknownst to IMSSA there has been another committee working on the revision of Chapter 2 of the regulations. These regulations stipulate the appointment and the qualifications of the legally appointed persons on a mine, as well as their respective duties and obligations, which affects the responsible surveyor.

Kock said that much of the regulations in Chapter 17 has been included in Chapter 2 under the surveyor’s legal duties. As this has been done without IMSSA input, the institute has asked the MRAC committee to pause further work on it, as a possible clash between chapters regarding blasting and mining distances have been noticed, among other things.

Sonet Kock gave an update on the proposed remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) regulations. South Africa was one of the first countries in the world to regulate these systems. Unfortunately no single set of regulations can accommodate the exponential growth and applications of RPAS. It would be too onerous for say a farmer in the Free State to have a full RPAS licence for crop spraying and thus it is proposed to create three categories based on risk assessments of low, medium and high risk to persons and property. At present the licencing process can take six to eight months.

Presentations from the day’s sponsors, Premier Mapping Africa, Sitech and Rocketmine, followed the branch meeting. Premier Mapping Africa’s Vincent Sepeng gave a short history of the company that since been transformed into Premier Mapping Africa. Started as a one man operation in 1966, the company has grown to employ 32 people across two offices, operating three fixed-wing aircraft and 15 licenced drones in 2019.

Robin Kock then gave a case study on measuring ore stockpiles in a dynamic environment, while Gordon McGill presented on the capturing of geological details on opencast highwalls using RPAS. His presentation served as an example of how RPAS is being used to eliminate risk to persons and property.

Mike Armstrong was the winner of the 50 inch plasma TV in the raffle.

Mike Armstrong was the winner of the 50 inch plasma TV in the raffle.

The third sponsor of the day, Rocketmine, donated a 50 inch plasma TV to the lucky winner of the raffle, with all proceeds going to IMSSA. Mike Armstrong won the prize.

The IMSSA Limpopo branch will be holding its meeting on 4 to 5 July 2019 at the University of Johannesburg, where visiting Prof. Heger from Germany will be holding a gyro workshop. Attendance is recommended for all aspiring MSCC candidates given the fondness of the examiners of the MSCC for gyro questions.

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