SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.
SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED UNIT STANDARD: 

Demonstrate an understanding of soil mechanics 
SAQA US ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE
256863  Demonstrate an understanding of soil mechanics 
ORIGINATOR
SGB Mining and Minerals 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY
-  
FIELD SUBFIELD
Field 06 - Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology Fabrication and Extraction 
ABET BAND UNIT STANDARD TYPE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL CREDITS
Undefined  Regular  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
REGISTRATION STATUS REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE SAQA DECISION NUMBER
Reregistered  2018-07-01  2023-06-30  SAQA 06120/18 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This unit standard does not replace any other unit standard and is not replaced by any other unit standard. 

PURPOSE OF THE UNIT STANDARD 
This unit standard will be useful for people who are pursuing a career in Rock Engineering.

This unit standard is intended to promote general skills and knowledge of soil mechanics in the mining and minerals sector in order to ensure knowledgeable and informed workers.

People credited with this unit standard are able to:
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the origin and composition of soils.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of soil classification systems for engineering purposes.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the physical properties of soils.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the occurrence and effects of water on soils. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
    It is assumed that learners are already competent in:
  • Communication and Mathematical literacy at NQF Level 3. 

  • UNIT STANDARD RANGE 
    N/A 

    Specific Outcomes and Assessment Criteria: 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 1 
    Demonstrate knowledge of the origin and composition of soils. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Descriptions of the three classes of rocks from which soils originate are provided in the context of mining operations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Igneous.
  • Sedimentary.
  • Metamorphic.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The factors that control the conversion of rock to soil are provided in the context of mining operations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Nature and composition of the parent rock.
  • Climatic conditions.
  • Topography.
  • Density and type of vegetation.
  • Length of time related to particular conditions.
  • Interference by other agencies such as cataclysmic storms, earthquakes and actions of humans.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The effects of weathering on the nature and composition of soils are explained in the context of mining operations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Wind.
  • Rain.
  • Frost.
  • Gravity.
  • Temperature changes.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Descriptions are provided for the typical composing materials of soils in the context of mining operations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Rock fragments.
  • Mineral grains.
  • Organic matter.
  • Water.
  • Air.
     

  • SPECIFIC OUTCOME 2 
    Demonstrate knowledge of soil classification systems for engineering purposes. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The basic reasons for classifying soils are provided and related to excavation design and construction. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The classification of soils by size is provided and related to excavation design and use as a construction material. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Boulders, cobbles and gravel.
  • Sands.
  • Silts and clays.
  • Organic silts, sands, clays and peat.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Classification of soils using basic field observations are described in the context of mining operations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Colour.
  • Particle size.
  • Composition.
  • Amount of fines.
  • Consistency.
  • Water retention.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The components of a particle size distribution curve for soils are described in the context of mining operations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Size distribution intervals of x-axis.
  • Percentage intervals of finer particles of y-axis.
  • South African standard sieve sizes.
  • Particle size descriptions.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    The mechanical properties of soils are listed and explained in the context of mining operations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Cohesion.
  • Friction.
  • Water retention.
  • Angle of repose.
     

  • SPECIFIC OUTCOME 3 
    Demonstrate knowledge of the physical properties of soils. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The three constituents of soil are described using simple sketches. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Solid.
  • Liquid.
  • Gas.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The terminology used to describe the various solid to void phases of soil are described using simple sketches. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Void ratio.
  • Degree of saturation.
  • Porosity.
  • Air-void ratio.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The terminology used to describe the various states of densities of soil are described using simple sketches and explanations are provided on how these are used to derive the unit weight of soils. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Soil dry density.
  • Soil bulk density.
  • Dry unit weight.
  • Bulk unit weight.
  • Saturated unit weight.
  • Submerged unit weight.
     

  • SPECIFIC OUTCOME 4 
    Demonstrate knowledge of the occurrence and effects of water on soils. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The concept of the water table or phreatic surface is described and related to the porewater and atmospheric pressure and the free water surface. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The two types of groundwater in soils are described using basic sketches. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Water percolating through the soil that joins the water table (vadose water).
  • Water that saturates the pore spaces of soils below the water table (phreatic or gravitational water).
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The concepts of pore pressure and effective stresses are described in the context of mining operations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The consequences of not accounting for the occurrence of water in soils for design are explained in terms of legal nad operational requirements. 


    UNIT STANDARD ACCREDITATION AND MODERATION OPTIONS 
  • Anyone assessing a learner or moderating the assessment of a learner against this unit standard must be registered as an assessor with the relevant Education, Training, Quality, Assurance (ETQA) Body, or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA.
  • Any institution offering learning that will enable the achievement of this unit standard must be accredited as a provider with the relevant Education, Training, Quality, Assurance (ETQA) Body, or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA.
  • Assessment and moderation of assessment will be overseen by the relevant Education, Training, Quality, Assurance (ETQA) Body, or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA, according to the ETQA's policies and guidelines for assessment and moderation.
  • Moderation must include both internal and external moderation of assessments, unless ETQA policies specify otherwise.
  • Anyone wishing to be assessed against this unit standard may apply to be assessed by any assessment agency, assessor or provider institution that is accredited by the relevant ETQA. 

  • UNIT STANDARD ESSENTIAL EMBEDDED KNOWLEDGE 
    The following essential embedded knowledge is addressed in an integrated way in the unit standard:

    Knowledge that the assessor will evaluate:
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the origin and composition of soils.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of soil classification systems for engineering purposes.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the physical properties of soils.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the occurrence and effects of water on soils.

    Causes and effects (Occupational Health and Safety):
  • Use of equipment.
  • Use of personal protective equipment.
  • Adherence to occupational health and safety requirements.
  • Work related hazards and associated risks.

    Regulations, legislation, agreements, policies and standards:
  • Occupational health, safety and environmental legislation and regulations.
  • Quality policies, standards and agreements. 

  • UNIT STANDARD DEVELOPMENTAL OUTCOME 
    N/A 

    UNIT STANDARD LINKAGES 
    N/A 


    Critical Cross-field Outcomes (CCFO): 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO IDENTIFYING 
    Identify and solve problems and make decisions using critical and creative thinking.

    Note: The knowledge gained on the origin and composition of soils and the application of this knowledge for simple soil classifications. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO COLLECTING 
    Collect, analyse, organise and critically evaluate information.

    Note: The ability of the learner to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of simple soil testing and representation of data. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO COMMUNICATING 
    Communicate effectively, using visual, mathematical and/or language skills in the modes of oral and/or written presentations.

    Note: The use of neat annotated sketches and simple equations confirms understanding. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO SCIENCE 
    Use science and technology effectively and critically showing responsibility towards the environment and health of others.

    Note: The use of basic soil mechanics theory applied to excavation design and construction material use. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO DEMONSTRATING 
    Demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognising that problem-solving contexts do not exist in isolation.

    Note: Understanding that knowledge of soil mechanics enables better understanding of excavation design and consequently health and safety. 

    UNIT STANDARD ASSESSOR CRITERIA 
    N/A 

    REREGISTRATION HISTORY 
    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this unit standard was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 

    UNIT STANDARD NOTES 
    Terminology:

    Specified Requirements:

    Specified requirements include legal and site-specific requirements and are contained in one or more of the following documents:

    Legal:
  • Relevant Acts: e.g. Mine Health & Safety Act, 1996 (Act no 29/1996), and Minerals Act and Regulations, 1991 (Act no 50/1991).
  • Mandatory Codes of Practice.
  • SABS and other relevant Standards.
  • Chief Inspector of Mines' Directives.

    Site-Specific:
  • Hazard Identification and Risk Assessments (HIRA).
  • Occupational Health and Safety Risk Management Programme.
  • Managerial Instructions.
  • Mine Standard Procedures.
  • List of Recorded OH&S Risks.
  • Working Guides.
  • Equipment and Materials Specifications. 

  • QUALIFICATIONS UTILISING THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
      ID QUALIFICATION TITLE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL STATUS END DATE PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QA FUNCTIONARY
    Elective  62796   Further Education and Training Certificate: Strata Control Operations  Level 4  NQF Level 04  Reregistered  2023-06-30  MQA 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    NONE 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.