Update on issuing of Chamber of Mines Certificates

June 4th, 2019, Published in Articles: EE Publishers, Articles: PositionIT

The Minerals Council South Africa will continue with the registration of learners to sit the examinations for the Chamber of Mines Certificates.

A few years ago, the Minerals Council South Africa (then Chamber of Mines), along with various stakeholders, took a decision to phase out the conducting of examinations in the Chamber of Mines Certificates. The examining and issuing of Chamber of Mines Certificates in the occupational areas of environmental control, strata control and surveying and sampling would be phased out as and when the development and registration of the formal qualifications with the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) and Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) was completed.

In lieu of the above and after various engagements with relevant stakeholders (QCTO, MQA, association bodies) a decision was made that the intake of learners to sit the Chamber of Mines examinations would be gradually discontinued.

The first occupational area to be phased out would be environmental control as it was believed that all the relevant work regarding the registration of qualifications, development of curriculum and assessment specifications was completed. It was also understood that all relevant processes, procedures and resources were completed and were in place.

Once all qualifications in a specific occupational area, e.g. Mine Ventilation Observer, Mine Ventilation Officer, were registered and once the MQA had all the relevant processes and resources in place, a pilot programme would be carried out to ensure that the new pathway to achieving the qualification worked successfully.

Upon successful completion of the pilot programme the further intake of learners onto the Chamber of Mines Certificate examinations would then be discontinued.

Engagements on progress of the above led stakeholders and the Minerals Council to believe that the intake of new learners onto the Chamber of Mines Certificate examinations in Elementary Sampling, Elementary Survey, Strata Control and Intermediate Environmental Control could be discontinued from March 2019. The learners that were already in the system would continue to completion.

Current status

At a progress update meeting on the 17 April 2019 the following was established:

Communication from the MQA shows that all qualifications are still awaiting feedback from the QCTO. The Minerals Council South Africa has been given no firm date as to when the QCTO would conclude the matter.

The Minerals Council South Africa is of the opinion that the learnerships for the qualifications are not yet registered. Further to this, the qualifications are not yet available on the MQA i-Share system to enable the registering of learners against the qualifications and thereby learner progress cannot be captured.

In lieu of the above constraints, the Minerals Council South Africa continued to take on new learners (Elementary Sampling, Elementary Survey, Strata Control and Intermediate Environmental Control) beyond the cut-off of 31 March 2019 to ensure that it does not create a skills supply gap.

Way forward

After considering all the above challenges and delays the following decisions have been made by the sampling, survey, environmental control and strata control stakeholders:

The Minerals Council South Africa will continue with the registering of learners to sit the examinations for the Chamber of Mines Certificates until such time that the qualifications are fully ready to be rolled out. This implies that the decision to discontinue intake from 31 March 2019 is no longer applicable.

Once all work to ensure successful roll-out of the programmes that are registered with the QCTO is concluded, a pilot will be done before the council discontinues intake –  i.e. the council will continue with its intake during the pilot.

Once the pilot is successfully concluded, intake of learners onto the Chamber of Mines Certificates will be progressively discontinued.

The above should provide clarity on the way forward in respect of sampling, survey, environmental control and strata control qualifications and the how the Minerals Council South Africa intends to handle it.

Contact Mustak Ally, Minerals Council South Africa, mally@mineralscouncil.org.za

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