Quarry Southern Africa November 2017 - Page 36

ASPASA NEW NAME, NEW FOCUS By Robyn Grimsley The year 2017 saw Aspasa — previously known as the Aggregate and Sand Producers Association of South Africa — broadening its focus to represent all surface mines. Training to uplift an industry Deepening skills shortages in the surface mining industry have led Aspasa to launch several new training workshops that aim to address the problem at its source. Just six months into the programme, the education regimen is receiving much praise from companies who have sent staff members to attend the workshops. Requests are already being fielded for follow-up courses to further upskill staff who have attended. 34 _ QUARRY SA | NOVEMBER 2017 I n addition to its long-standing member base in the aggregates industry, Aspasa’s members now include those working in dimension stone, salt mining, silica mining, lime producers, and clay brick producers, as well as some contractors who deal with borrow pits and contract mining. The association’s focus is on skills development, health and safety, environment, quality, legal compliance, transport and many more areas relevant to the surface mining industry. Since its change in direction, one area that Aspasa has decided to become more directly involved in is skills development in the surface mining sector. There are a number of reasons behind this decision: there is no other industry body coordinating skills development within the sector, training is expensive, and service providers only cover certain areas. Aspasa uses a service provider that is registered with the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA), as well as specialists, to run workshops on specific areas. For example, attorneys would be contracted to run workshops on competition legislation as well as health and safety. The association’s decision to become involved in skills development is intended to ensure that all Aspasa members can access — and afford — training; that the needs of the industry (as identified by the industry) are catered for; and that members — and the industry as a whole — are compliant with all relevant legislation, including that relating to social and labour plans. Aspasa office manager, Mary-Ann Sutton. According to Aspasa’s office manager Mary-Ann Sutton, the courses are specifically aimed at areas of the industry where skills development is needed, and were developed following two surveys that were conducted by the association to determine the most immediate needs of the industry. The Skills Development Committee (Training) has also been established, with many new ideas already on the table since the first meeting was held in June this year. “Trainers are sourced from within the industry where relevant and all have exceptionally strong training backgrounds. In many instances, the courses offered are fully accredited so that CPD points can be claimed. Thus far there has been a strong uptake for all the courses held, which shows that the courses are relevant,” says Sutton. “Where possible, the courses are offered in all regions across the country if there is sufficient demand. Alternatively, courses are offered in the major centres and can be arranged for individual companies if a need exists. The courses can also be repeated if need be. Also, if changes in legislation or working practices occur we may choose to update the course and offer it as a refresher,” she adds. Aspasa is again undertaking surveys in the latter half of 2017 and encourages companies to put forward their requirements. If there is sufficient requirement for a new course, then relevant and concise workshops will be compiled to provide the pertinent information in a short and succinct manner to minimise time out of the office. Courses offered include health and safety, fatigue management, crushing and screening, G1 base training, lockout workshop, total quality management for skills development, Section 54 workshop, SHE REP, blasting, and proximity detection systems (PDS). Aspasa is willing to assist with a short three-hour course for a company to familiarise senior staff with the Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA) and related information. To find out more about the workshops, visit the Aspasa website at www.aspasa.co.za and click on the training link, which has all the course details as well as online booking facilities. Environmental audits to include satellite operations from 2018 Starting in 2018, the annual Environmental Audit that Aspasa conducts at its member operations will include satellite operations such as asphalt plants. This is because these operations have been identified as potentially affecting the mining operations under a variety of legislation, including the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act (NEM: AQA), the National Water Act (NWA), the National Environmental Management: Waste Act (NEM: WA), and the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA). The auditors have identified significant risks to Aspasa member operations hosting these satellite operations, which include suspension or cancellation of a mining licence (S47 and S93 of the MPRDA); penalties in terms of possible clean-up costs (S19 of the NWA; S28 of NEMA; various sections of the NEM: WA and NEM: AQA, and so on); penalties for the “land owner; person in control of the land; directly responsible; indirectly responsible or negligent” as defined in both