Many mining engineering job opportunities have a requirement for candidates to have a Government Certificate of Competency (GCC) – Mines and Works, over and above their academic qualifications and working experience. This certificate, also referred to as a “Government Ticket”, is issued to a successful candidate by the Department of Minerals and Energy in South Africa. The qualification is widely used as a recommendation for positions in mining roles in Africa, not only within South Africa’s borders.
The rules and syllabi governing this qualification are regulated in terms of the Mine Health and Safety Act (1996). A certificate is issued to successful candidates in one of two forms:
Certificate of Competency as Mechanical Engineer for Mines and Works or
Certificate of Competency as Electrical Engineer for Mines and Works.
There are various steps to be completed before registering for the Qualifying Examinations which are held twice yearly. The Institution of Certificated Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, South Africa (ICMEESA) provides clear guidance on this and has published a chart showing the different routes to GCC.
1. Qualifications required
A B.Sc. degree in mechanical or electrical engineering recognized by the Commission of Examiners; at least two years post graduate appropriate practical experience in the maintenance and operations of mechanical and electrical machinery, satisfactory to the Commission of Examiners and of which at least one year has been at a mine in the RSA; or
Individual Technikons may structure a curriculum to cover the electrical and mechanical courses according to the requirements of the Plant Engineering syllabus. However, these are subject to a clear set of pre-requisites for formal learning and length of experience similar to the academic route.
The qualifications and experiential learning leading up to acceptance for the qualifying examinations should, theoretically prepare the student to write the exams. In practice, it normally happens that additional tuition is needed to prepare for the exams, particularly in the mathematical calculations. External service providers run refresher courses to prepare candidates especially those with demanding day jobs and those who graduated many years earlier.
2. Qualifying Examinations
To qualify for a Certificate of Competency as Mechanical or Electrical Engineer for Mines and Works, the following subjects must be passed by persons accepted as candidates:
(a) Plant Engineering; and
(b) Legal Knowledge (Health and Safety Act and Regulations).
To qualify for a Certificate of Competency, candidates must obtain at least 50% in each subject stipulated above. Candidates need not pass both subjects at the same examination sitting, but the second subject must be passed within three years or six consecutive examination sittings after passing the first, otherwise both subjects must be re-written. An appropriate Certificate of Competency will be forwarded to candidates who have passed the subjects required to qualify for such a certificate.
There are additional requirements and regulations available to prospective candidates who are advised to refer to www.dmr.gov.za/Exams/Enegineers.html