Tag Archives: Murray & Roberts Cementation


Further enhancements at the Murray & Roberts Training Academy (MRTA) training facility, Bentley Park, are keeping the organisation at the top of its game in mining skills development.

The extensive training infrastructure near Carletonville in Gauteng is constantly adding to its resources as the demand requires, according to Tony Pretorius, education, training and development executive at Murray & Roberts Cementation.

“Among our new facilities is an indexing wall on which drill rig operators can be trained to drill on a horizontal plane,” says Pretorius. “We are also constructing a new tunnel with a face wall on surface to teach miners how to take line and grade and accurately mark off a development end with laser technology.”

He highlights the value of the MRTA’s ‘blended learning’ approach, which makes the learning process more effective by including not just classroom lectures but also e-learning, virtual reality, bench modelling, simulations and integrated learning in a workplace mock-up.

The facility prepares trainees mainly for the hard-rock underground mining environment, in which Murray & Roberts Cementation is a leading contractor.

Other recently developed mock-up facilities at the site include a board-and-pillar layout constructed on surface, to facilitate practical, supervised training for most primary and secondary trackless activities. There is also a figure-of-eight surface roadway for LHD driver training, complete with brake-test slopes. The fleet of trackless vehicles used for training at MRTA includes LHDs, a drill rig, a bolter, a telescopic boom handler, a mechanical scaler and a mechanised shotcreting unit.

“The quality of our skills output – combined with the ongoing demand for entry-level skills by Murray & Roberts Cementation’s mining projects around the country – allow us to turn training into jobs,” he says. “In fact, we are creating hundreds of career opportunities for unemployed youth from communities near our operations.”

With grant-funding from the Mining Qualifications Authority, MRTA will this year train 176 young jobless learners in basic mining-related skills. Those who successfully complete the six-month programme will earn a Level 2 National Certificate in Health, Safety and Environment for Mining and Minerals. Most trainees – of which half are women – are taken up by Murray & Roberts Cementation’s contract mining operations, to begin exciting careers in the mining industry.


Murray & Roberts Cementation, Africa’s leading mining contractor, has been awarded a contract by Palabora Mining Company for a 1,200 metre deep ventilation shaft.

The shaft, with a lined diameter of 8,5 metres, will reach a final blind sink depth of 1,190 metres before a drop raise takes it to its final depth, according to Braam Blom, project executive at Murray & Roberts Cementation.

“The duration of this project is expected to be just over three years,” says Blom. “After mobilisation, site establishment and surface civils have been completed, we expect to conduct pre-sinking until the end of 2019, with the use of our special shaft sinking gantry to a shaft depth of 65 metres.”

A surface headgear and winder installation will then be constructed from January to March 2020. This will facilitate the slow sink to 200 metres and the main sink until February 2022. Canadian shutter and lining methods will be employed. The team is expected to conduct shaft stripping by mid-April 2022 and to dis-establish the site by the end of May 2022.

“There will be no stations or other excavations required, so this will help keep the team in a sinking cycle and optimise production levels,” he says. “We will run full calendar operations (Fulco) with 12 hour shifts and cycles of five day shifts, five night shifts and five shifts off.”

A relatively small labour force of 123 people is planned for steady main sinking conditions, with some sub-contractors conducting surface piling and civil works for the winder, headgear and other site construction. Shaft drilling itself will be done with two twin-boom Komatsu shaft drill rigs, and mucking by a Komatsu excavator with close to a ton of loading capacity.

“Ground conditions are expected to be a challenge in some areas, as profiled from the cover and core drilling,” says Blom. “However, we have various ways of reducing the risk and downtime during these intersections – such as keeping the shaft lining as close as possible to the shaft bottom.”

Blom highlights that the company continuously improves performance based on lessons learnt from its wealth of previous projects. This allows a constant focus on securing safe, sustainable and efficient shaft sinking, to deliver on the completion target.

Among the unique benefits offered by Murray & Roberts Cementation is its world class training facilities at Bentley Park, including mock-up shafts where employees and trainees build up first-hand experience of operating conditions underground.


Final year mining engineering students from the University of Pretoria recently had a taste of Murray & Roberts Cementation’s highly effective simulated learning environment.

The company’s world-class Training Academy at Bentley Park near Carletonville in Gauteng province offers a unique blend of e-learning and experiential learning in simulation conditions. The facility includes mock-ups of mine development areas and shafts, as well as a virtual reality blast wall which the Tuks students were able to experience.

With their leading-edge, technology-driven approach, executives from Murray & Roberts Cementation often lecture at local tertiary institutions and universities, adding to the knowledge base of students.

“The Tuks students were able to appreciate our targeted and holistic approach, in which we apply simulators in a blended learning experience,” says Tony Pretorius, the education, training and development (ETD) executive at Murray & Roberts Cementation. “This improves the way we transfer knowledge and build capacity among South African companies, to strengthen and build the local mining sector.”

Learners at Bentley Park complete structured e-learning modules, followed by visual training and pre-simulation training. They then undergo simulation training, followed by in-workplace learning using an actual machine under the direct supervision of a competent person.

“This is how we apply the situational leadership development model of ‘Tell, Sell, Participate and Delegate’,” says Pretorius.