Message from the HOD

Dear Student/Prospective Tukkies Mining Student

The Department of Mining Engineering at the University of Pretoria is one of only two departments in South Africa that educates professional graduate mining engineers. We have significant undergraduate student numbers and graduates that are well accepted in the market.  The demographics of the mining students are now fully representative of the South African landscape. Our undergraduate student body consists of 70% black South African, 11% black international and 19% white students with 25% of our undergraduate student body being made up of female students. 

The Department is in a healthy state, which serves as a sound foundation for future development of its teaching, research and community service.  

The undergraduate programme is accredited by ECSA (Engineering Council of South Africa) and as such is internationally recognised through the Washington Accord. Our new department slogan “Educating and Leading Mining Engineers to become Imagineers” addresses the challenges associated with the 4th Industrial Revolution where creative and innovative thinking will be required to solve industry problems. To this end, our undergraduate programme is complemented by our Mining Engineering Leadership Academy to address and provide the non-technical skills that is required to thrive in the 4th Industrial Revolution. The development of our students as future managers and technical specialists remain a priority and the development of life skills and responsible leadership through participation in student activities is continuously encouraged.

We have created a world-class teaching facility for our students through the generous financial support of our industry partners. This has provided for lecturer salary subventions, the appointments of support staff and the development of our facilities. 

The teaching staff is the prime resource of the Department (with more than 100 years mining experience amongst ourselves). All staff members are encouraged to improve their teaching and research skills, be active in teaching in industry to remain current and take part in departmental administration and community service. Active participation of contracted-in industry experts as part time lecturers forms a very important part of our education strategy when necessary, and the involvement of guest lecturers on an ongoing basis keeps us up to date with industry needs. The quest remains to develop each staff member into an internationally recognised engineer and scholar.

We are the only engineering department with a full time Instructional Designer, English literacy instructor, as well as a non-technical skills related lecturer, all sponsored through industry contributions. We are one of only a few Mining Departments in the world that offers instructionally designed material for all our mining related subjects and in this way enhances the learning experience for all students. 
The Kumba Virtual Reality (VR) Centre for mine design is a major expansion of the Department’s facilities. This impressive first-in-Africa project have already been effective in changing the face of teaching and learning in the department, and in establishing UP as the leading, state-of-the-art institution for teaching and learning innovation in mining engineering in Africa. In addition, the introduction of discussion rooms has created a real academic environment for our students.

We have also increased our research activities over the last five years through the generous contributions of Sasol Mining, Harmony Gold and AEL Mining Services with the establishment of research chairs in the department. The Department now also has a 2025 plan in action where the vision is to have 30 full time postgraduate students active in research in the department at any time. This forms a very important part of the Department’s drive towards international recognition and credibility in terms of active research.
The Department is actively involved with the community through the participation of staff in the activities of professional societies, expert consultation and community projects within the faculty. The Department offers short courses in cooperation with industry and our associated professional societies, and there is a huge potential for further development of additional courses.

Professor RCW Webber-Youngman

Head of the Department of Mining Engineering

Published by Thandeka Dlamini

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