Quarry Southern Africa November 2018 - Page 16

BUSINESS A new regime of qualifications is poised to be introduced for quarries. DODGING A QUALIFICATIONS BULLET By Eamonn Ryan There are currently between 2 000 and 3 000 surface mines in South Africa according to the DMR database, of which barely a handful are managed by certificated mine managers. Yet the proposed draft of regulation 2.6 of chapter 2 of the Mine Health and Safety Act absurdly requires all surface mines to have managers who are the holders of ‘a mine manager’s certificate valid for the class of mine to which the mine belongs’. R obust participation in the Mine Regulations Advisory Committee (MRAC) subcommittees by players such as Finstone SA, which mines granite and Aspasa have resulted in a likely new scenario where the qualifications required for the manager of a surface mine will vary according to the risk classification of the mine. Chief operating officer of quarry management company Finstone SA Ian Ashmole, who also represented Aspasa’s working group dealing with the changes, says, “The chapter 2 regulations have been in the process of drafting for almost a year now, and I got involved in this in March this year on behalf of the interests of my company and Aspasa. It was the difficulty of acquiring the qualification that prompted Aspasa intervention: to be eligible for the 16_QUARRY SA| NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018 existing metalliferous and coal manager’s exams one had to have experience in underground mining, including the relevant blasting certificate and the exams were focused almost exclusively on underground mining practices and regulations, such as underground blasting and ventilation – issues which are just not relevant to quarrying.” Aspasa believes the DMR’s data base of 2 000 to 3 000 surface mines is not a true reflection, says Aspasa director Nico Pienaar. “As many operations have closed down and others are not listed.” Before that, the draft requirement was of a mine manager’s certificate of competency issued by the DMR, the final exams for which at the moment have a low pass rate (even considering most of the people writing are graduates or have prior experience credits). The problem is that mining legislation seeks to include all mining operations within a single framework – rather like having JSE listing rules apply to a corner mom-and-pop shop. Ashmole says that as a result of participation in the task team responsible for the legislation, the current proposal for surface mines is to more sensibly introduce different classes of mines requiring different qualifications according to the risk classification as defined by a risk assessment matrix developed by the MQA on behalf of the Mine Health and Safety Council. Managers will require a qualification: either a surface mine manager’s certificate for high-risk mines, a surface mine overseer’s certificate for medium-risk mines or a surface shift supervisor’s certificate for low-risk operations. However, these