Tag Archives: Bentley Park

Murray & Roberts Cementation adds trackless mining machinery to training options

Murray & Roberts Cementation has further enhanced its training facilities in South Africa to develop scarce skills in modern underground mining.

The well-known Murray & Roberts Training Academy (MRTA) at Bentley Park near Carletonville, in Gauteng, now boasts a specialised Engineering Training Centre for trackless mining machinery (TMM).

According to Tony Pretorius, Education, Training and Development (ETD) Executive at Murray & Roberts Cementation, the centre will raise skills levels among operators, service staff, artisans and apprentices.

“As mining becomes more mechanised locally, it is vital that the mining sector keeps up with the technical demands to maintain and repair advanced underground machinery,” Pretorius said. “There are simply not enough suitably trained and experienced artisans to keep the growing number of TMMs well maintained and fully operational.”

He highlights that there is considerable value in upskilling TMM operators to better understand and correctly operate their machines, for instance. This could take some of the pressure off artisans while also ensuring more uptime between equipment servicing.

“Mines aim to raise productivity levels with mechanised mining machinery, and this comes with greater technical demands on mine production and support staff,” he says. “This training will equip artisans with specific skills in mechanised engineering, which are not currently part of the syllabus for conventional trades.”

The centre – which was constructed during the national COVID-19 lockdown at a cost of R1.8 million ($109,074) – includes a workshop, wash bay and refuelling bay with all the necessary tools and infrastructure. It offers training suitable for people undergoing a trade or having completed a trade, introducing them into the wider mechanised mining equipment engineering space, according to the company.

Pretorius notes that many people remain unemployed after completing their trades at an accredited trade centre; this new centre enhances their employability while filling an important need in the mining industry’s technology trajectory.

“Here at Bentley Park, we have workplace approval with the Mining Qualifications Authority, authorising us to offer practical training to those undergoing trade training who need workplace experience,” he says. “Our mechanised mining equipment engineering centre can address the workplace learning element of their trade certificate – phase two and phase four of their training.”

The focus is on underground mechanised equipment such as load haul dumpers (LHDs), roof bolters, drill rigs and utility vehicles. The training incorporates the MRTA’s leading-edge blended training methodologies including e-learning, virtual reality, simulation and workshop practical hands-on training.

“This gives our learners the knowledge, understanding and skills required in mechanised mining equipment engineering,” he says. “In addition to our own employees, we also provide training for the mining sector broadly, and can customise training for mining companies.”

The centre has already enrolled 19 apprentices in the mechanised mining equipment engineering training, and expects considerable interest from the mining industry as a whole. The MRTA is also working closely with the Mining Qualifications Authority to make the training available to qualified work-seekers.

Murray & Roberts Cementation expands Bentley Park training facilities

Further enhancements at the Murray & Roberts Training Academy (MRTA) training facility, Bentley Park, in South Africa, are keeping the organisation at the top of its game in mining skills development, the company says.

The training infrastructure, near Carletonville in Gauteng, is constantly adding to its resources as the demand requires, according to Tony Pretorius, Education, Training and Development Executive at Murray & Roberts Cementation.

“Among our new facilities is an indexing wall on which drill rig operators can be trained to drill on a horizontal plane,” says Pretorius. “We are also constructing a new tunnel with a face wall on surface to teach miners how to take line and grade and accurately mark off a development end with laser technology.”

He highlighted the value of the MRTA’s ‘blended learning’ approach, which makes the learning process more effective by including not just classroom lectures but also e-learning, virtual reality, bench modelling, simulations and integrated learning in a workplace mock-up.

The facility prepares trainees mainly for the hard-rock underground mining environment, in which Murray & Roberts Cementation is a leading contractor.

Other recently developed mock-up facilities at the site include a board-and-pillar layout constructed on surface, to facilitate practical, supervised training for most primary and secondary trackless activities, and a figure-of-eight surface roadway for LHD driver training, complete with brake-test slopes. The fleet of trackless vehicles used for training at MRTA includes LHDs, a drill rig, a bolter, a telescopic boom handler, a mechanical scaler and a mechanised shotcreting unit.

“The quality of our skills output – combined with the ongoing demand for entry-level skills by Murray & Roberts Cementation’s mining projects around the country – allow us to turn training into jobs,” Pretorius says. “In fact, we are creating hundreds of career opportunities for unemployed youth from communities near our operations.”

With grant-funding from the Mining Qualifications Authority, MRTA will this year train 176 young jobless learners in basic mining-related skills, according to the company. Those who successfully complete the six-month program will earn a Level 2 National Certificate in Health, Safety and Environment for Mining and Minerals. Most trainees – of which half are women – are taken up by Murray & Roberts Cementation’s contract mining operations, to begin exciting careers in the mining industry, the company said.

Murray & Roberts Cementation simulates mine environment for students

Murray & Roberts Cementation recently invited final year mining engineering students from the University of Pretoria, in South Africa, to try out a simulated learning environment at its Training Academy.

The company’s facility at Bentley Park, near Carletonville, Gauteng, offers a blend of e-learning and experiential learning in simulation conditions, the company said. The facility includes mock-ups of mine development areas and shafts, as well as a virtual reality blast wall which the students were able to experience.

Executives from Murray & Roberts Cementation also often lecture at local tertiary institutions and universities, adding to the students’ knowledge base.

Tony Pretorius, Education, Training and Development Executive at Murray & Roberts Cementation, said: “The Tuks students were able to appreciate our targeted and holistic approach, in which we apply simulators in a blended learning experience. This improves the way we transfer knowledge and build capacity among South African companies, to strengthen and build the local mining sector.”

Learners at Bentley Park complete structured e-learning modules, followed by visual training and pre-simulation training. They then undergo simulation training, followed by in-workplace learning using an actual machine under the direct supervision of a competent person, Murray & Roberts Cementation said.

“This is how we apply the situational leadership development model of ‘Tell, Sell, Participate and Delegate’,” Pretorius said.