Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
MUSINGWINI, C; CRUISE, J.A and PHILLIPS, H.R. A perspective on the supply and utilization of mining graduates in the South African context. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2013, vol.113, n.3, pp. 00-00. ISSN 2411-9717.
The South African mining industry continues to be a major source of employment at a time when at least 25 per cent of the working age population is unemployed. At the same time the industry faces a skills shortage in many of the disciplines necessary for its future health. The University of the Witwatersrand, University of Pretoria, University of Johannesburg, and University of South Africa have historically produced mining graduates for the South African mining industry with any shortfall being met by the recruitment of overseas graduates. More recently, the global shortage of engineers and other mining industry professionals has seen a reversal of this trend and a very significant emigration of well-educated and highly skilled personnel. The traditional career path for mining graduates is in production and mine management. However, there is the parallel (and possibly more pressing) need for specialized skills in such fields as ventilation, rock engineering, mine planning, mineral resource evaluation, and mineral asset valuation. Chronic shortages in these essential areas continue to hamper the development of the industry and may well frustrate its ambitions to be safe, healthy, and profitable into the future. The permeability of skills across sectorial boundaries within the mining industry requires that skills shortages in the platinum sector are not looked at in isolation, but within the context of the entire industry. This paper reviews the efforts being made by the universities, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, to meet the needs of the South African mining industry in terms of the required numbers and the range of specialized skills.
Keywords : mining sector; platinum sector; skills shortage; scarce skills; competitive poaching.