Growth drives skills demand

24th February 2023

By: Cameron Mackay

Creamer Media Senior Online Writer


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The outlook for surface and underground mining in South Africa is healthy, as local mines are ramping up production and demand grows, leading to the recruitment of more mineworkers.

Mining training solutions provider Prisma Training Solutions is looking to capitalise on this industry ramp-up to provide more of its customised training solutions for local miners.

“In the Northern Cape, the demand for skills development and training is higher than we can provide. This is similar in the Pilanesberg area, in the North West province, where many of the platinum and chrome mines are located. There are also mines in the Steelpoort area, in the Limpopo province,” states Prisma MD Jacques Farmer.

High demand makes work opportunities more accessible for local community members to participate in training and development in mining.

Farmer adds that Prisma has adopted a model whereby the company travels to regions where clients are based and mining activities are most prevalent, and establishes training centres and strategic positions.

This ensures that the company covers training and skills development needs in the mining industry.

He notes that Prisma consults closely with clients to ensure it understands client requirements and expectations, and can provide tailored training solutions.

“We consult with management, with whom we design training and skills development solutions for the permanent absorption of workers. We also make sure that we cover the social and labour plan (SLP) commitments within the mining rights.”

Practical Exposure

Farmer emphasises the importance of local mineworkers – particularly those who are based in host communities that surround a mine site – having access to “practical exposure” in the industry because of the abundance of safety regulations.

He points out that workers also need practical training to operate expensive equipment; this training is made easier using simulations such as virtual reality and augmented reality technologies.

Farmer argues that there is “currently a strong emphasis in the mining industry on training development and safety”, despite miners often prioritising operational and production requirements over training.

“This also includes making sure that miners tick all the boxes when it comes to their SLP, as well as submitting their training report and workforce plans to the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) on a yearly basis.

“The local industry is also moving into a space with more Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, and people are bringing more autonomous equipment to the field. Our clients have different ways of using technology and strategies, so we will go at the client’s pace.”

He says this blended approach to technology forces Prisma to consider how to absorb these technology components into its traditional training and development methods.

Community Benefits

Farmer points out that Prisma’s training solutions also focus on the development of host communities by getting community members involved in, working with and benefiting from the mine.

Prisma also wants the community and workers to provide for themselves when a mine closes.

It designs two types of training solutions for community members.

The first solution entails creating learning material for career development for workers wanting to “create a career within mining”.

This includes material that focuses on various aspects of mining operations and incorporates metallurgy-related training for careers in processing plants.

The second solution assists those who are looking to move out of the mining industry.

Prisma offers training in portable skills that can be used outside of mining so that community members will be able to provide for themselves.

“There’s also a link between one’s career path and the SLP of a mine. There’s also a commitment from the unions, employers and the MQA to make sure that workers are not stagnant in one position and are able to build a career path going forward.”


He explains that in the last four years, Prisma has been conducting training for clients by placing qualified MQA accredited trainers on site.

These trainers would conduct training, become part of the culture and values of the client, and then be absorbed by the client.

Prisma is involved in several local mining projects, with 38 trainers sent to local miner Vedanta Zinc, in Gamsberg, in the Northern Cape, to conduct training.

The company has also sent a team of 15 trainers to diamond miner De Beers, in Limpopo, as part of a five-year project to add underground mining skills to the skills of opencast mining employees.

Prisma is also involved in several projects in Mpumalanga, providing training solutions for chrome and platinum mines.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor



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