Mpumalanga-based training college Colliery Training College (CTC) has noted an increase in enrolments for surface explosives courses, while the number of enrolments for courses pertaining to underground explosives remains constant, says CTC MD Johan Venter.
“This is likely as a result of coal mining shifting more towards surface – away from underground –as establishing a surface operation yields a quicker return on investment. “The capital required to establish an underground operation is vast and can take from five to ten years to develop, and will yield a return for the investor only 10 to 15 years later.”
Despite the increased enrolment for surface explosives courses, Venter states that one major challenge with regard to training is the Department of Mineral Resources’ (DMR’s) decision to revert back to the blasting ticket – away from the rock breaking qualification – that has removed the certainty that students and clients had with the rock-breaking qualification of Mining Qualifications Authority.
The qualification was obtained after a verifiable assessment in terms of industry standard assessment practices by qualified assessors to a scenario where candidates are currently required to complete a verbal examination conducted by people who are not necessarily qualified in assessment techniques.
However, Venter maintains that the CTC has various advantages over other training colleges, as it has partnered with a number of mining operations to deliver up-to-date and tailor-made training solutions for students. These partnerships enable the CTC to provide off- and on-the-job training for the qualification.
Insight into the requirements of the DMR Blasting Certificate gives the students an advantage when they have to sit for DMR blasting board examinations.
“Employers considering a training partner in explosives training should consider one that is owned by the mining industry, as our training product offering comes from our 50 years of addressing the needs of our owners,” Venter concludes.