James, JV & Arnold, DA 2007, 'The Restructuring, Updating and Revision of the Chamber of Mines Rock Mechanics Certificate and Syllabus', in Y Potvin (ed.), Proceedings of the Fourth International Seminar on Deep and High Stress Mining
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 499-505.
The South African mining industry Rock Mechanics Certificates were developed in the 1970s as specialist
qualifications for Rock Mechanics Practitioners on South African mines. The mining industry regulated the
requirements for these certificates.
Changes in the structure of the South African mining industry have led to shortcomings in the certificates.
The certificates were originally intended to serve the interests of the South African gold mining and coal
mining sectors. This put candidates from other sectors at a disadvantage. South African mining law now
prescribes the certificates as a requirement for competent persons in rock engineering. Thus practitioners in
all mining sectors need to be certificated.
A revised Rock Mechanics Certificate examination structure was put forward towards the end of 2005 and
now forms the basis of the new syllabus.
The structure caters for specialisation amongst Rock Mechanics Practitioners and Rock Engineers in the
different mining environments, and reduces restrictions allowing for mobility between mining environments.
The existing old syllabi were reviewed in the light of the proposed new structure, and the new Rock
Mechanics Certificate syllabi were generated and compiled.
This approach resulted in the capture of a large amount of learning material for inclusion in the new syllabi.
A high degree of uniformity was achieved in the structure of the various parts of the syllabi. A by-product of
this process was a simplification of the syllabi and a logical flow of the study material. This will be
beneficial for candidates and examiners alike.
The final aim of the exercise was to ensure the development of competent Rock Mechanics and Rock
Engineering Practitioners for the complex South African mining industry.