Rock Engineering Manager

South Africa is rich in a variety of minerals and materials with reserves of diamonds, gold, iron ore, platinum, manganese, chromium, copper amongst others, which are accessed through complex underground mining extraction processes. The stability of rocks during and after excavations is a key risk factor for the biophysical environment, surrounding communities and the health and safety of workers. By understanding the properties of rock, the design of safe and stable excavations in mining is made possible.

Rock engineering managers plan, organise, direct, control and coordinate rock engineering and related functions to ensure safe and optimal extraction of ore reserves. They locate and evaluate an excavation site and determine the equipment, personnel and budget needed to safely extract all potential minerals. They also supervise extraction processes and advise on equipment maintenance or upgrades as well as personnel health and safety procedures.

Rock engineering managers liaise with geologists, geophysicists, mine planners, mining engineers and other professionals to determine the best means to extract materials. They predominately work on mine sites, returning to an office to evaluate and strategise excavation processes.

Skills

Rock engineering managers need an understanding of rock mechanics and the forces that shape them and experience in effective mineral extraction techniques, coupled with:

  • Risk management and business experience
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Understanding of mining, safety, health and environment regulations
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills

Tasks

Evaluate and plan extraction sites, establishing budgets, production quotas and other requirements

Control the operation of plant and quality procedures

Oversee the acquisition and installation of new plant and equipment

Oversee the selection, training and performance of personnel

Studies

B.Sc.Eng. in Mining Engineering at Wits

B.Eng. in Mining Engineering at UP

Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Mine Engineering at UNISA

Rock engineering managers can also benefit from a Chamber of Mines Rock Mechanics Certificate offered by UNISA, accredited by the South African National Institute for Rock Engineering.

Employers

National government.

Mining companies.

Mine equipment manufacturers.

Private consultancies.

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