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Occupational Certificate: Mining Technician (Mine Ventilation Officer) 
98932  Occupational Certificate: Mining Technician (Mine Ventilation Officer) 
Development Quality Partner - MQA 
-   OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
Occupational Certificate  Field 06 - Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology  Fabrication and Extraction 
Undefined  214  Not Applicable  NQF Level 04  Regular-ELOAC 
Passed the End Date -
Status was "Reregistered" 
SAQA 06120/18  2018-07-01  2023-06-30 
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 qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

The purpose of this qualification is to prepare a learner to operate as a Mine Ventilation Officer.

Mine Ventilation Officers coordinate, observe and monitor the implementation of mine specific ventilation codes of practice and make recommendations regarding corrective action and/or improvement of ventilation practices to ensure legal compliance for a designated area of a mine.

A qualified learner will be able to:
  • Design and ensure implementation of basic Mine Ventilation systems and Occupational Hygiene programmes.
  • Provide input into enhancing the Mine Ventilation and Occupational Hygiene systems and functions.
  • Supervise the mine ventilation function and resources for a designated area of a mine.
  • Provide information for improving the mine refrigeration system.

    The Mine Ventilation Profession is a highly regulated profession. Mines cannot operate without appropriately qualified Mine Ventilation Officers. The work of these individuals is guided by the appropriate legislation and the regulator requires practitioners to demonstrate competence in specific areas as set out in the legislation. Historically the suite of Certificates in Mine Environmental Control issued by the Chamber of Mines of South Africa was designed and was accepted by the South African Mining Industry, including the various Governmental Mining Authorities as a key and fundamental qualification to promote health and safety in the Industry.

    With the globalisation of companies and mobility of professional in the last decade, professionals in this and other similar specialised areas had to prove their knowledge skills and the worth of their qualifications since these were not issued by a formal (and recognised) educational institution.In addition, the transformation of the current qualifications into formally recognised educational credentials open the door to the registration of professionals with the Engineering Council of South Africa.

    Learners credited with this occupational certificate will qualify to be appointed as Mining Engineering Ventilation Technicians.

    There is a critical need in the industry to recognise learner competence regarding essential operations associated with a healthy, safe and productive working environment. This qualification is the next step in a career path in one of the areas of specialisation in Mine Ventilation.

    This qualification facilitates access for learners who have completed the appropriate level three qualification to acquire the technical knowledge and skills associated with safe healthy and efficient controlling of mine occupational environmental conditions in the workplace.
    Iit is vital that the Mining Ventilation Engineering Technician comes from within the mining industry, and has intimate knowledge and experience of all the aspects of Occupational Hygiene and Environmental Engineering.

    The qualification is designed to be flexible and accessible so that learners are able to demonstrate the competencies in Mine Ventilation across the mining and minerals sector.

    The specialisations in Coal, Hardrock and Surface Excavations do not require separate qualifications. The distinction lies in the Work Experience Component. The qualification will be endorsed as Underground Hardrock, Underground Coal, or Surface Excavations based on the completed work experience. Moving to a new mining context will require that the learner completes the relevant work experience in that context and then apply to the External Assessment Quality Partner to have the qualification endorsed accordingly. 

    Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
    RPL for access to the external integrated summative assessment: Accredited providers and approved workplaces must apply the internal assessment criteria specified in the related curriculum document to establish and confirm prior learning. Accredited providers and workplaces must confirm prior learning by issuing a statement of result or certifying a work experience record.

    RPL for access to the qualification: Accredited providers and approved workplaces may recognise prior learning against the relevant access requirements.

    Entry Requirement:
  • Occupational Certificate: Mining Technician: Mine Ventilation Observer, at NQF Level 3. 


    This qualification is made up of the following compulsory Knowledge and Practical Skill Modules:

    Knowledge Modules:
  • 311701004-KM-01, Emergency Preparedness (VENT) (II), at NQF Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 311701004-KM-02, Mine Ventilation Engineering Practice (VENT) (II), at NQF Level 4, 24 Credits.
  • 311701004-KM-03, Mines and Minerals Legislative Requirements, at NQF Level 4, 12 Credits.
  • 311701004-KM-04, Occupational Hygiene Practice (VENT) (II), at NQF Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 311701004-KM-05, Operations Management and Supervision (VENT) (II), at NQF Level 4, 13 Credits.
    Total number of Credits for Knowledge Modules: 61.

    Practical Skill Modules:
  • 311701004-PM-01, Design basic ventilation layouts and assist with the design of complex ventilation layouts, at NQF Level 4, 14 Credits.
  • 311701004-PM-02, Measure and test the effectiveness of the ventilation system, at NQF Level 4, 8 Credits.
  • 311701004-PM-03, Make recommendations regarding Mine Ventilation and Occupational Hygiene issues, at NQF Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 311701004-PM-04, Implement and review mine ventilation and occupational hygiene standards, at NQF Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 311701004-PM-05, Execute performance management for a team of Ventilation Observers, at NQF Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 311701004-PM-06, Oversee the compilation and submission of mine ventilation reports for a designated area of the mine, at NQF Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 311701004-PM-07, Measure, record and report the effectiveness of the refrigeration plant and accessories (bulk air cooler, cooling cars and heat exchangers), at NQF Level 4, 6 Credits.
    Total number of Credits for Practical Skill Modules: 52.

    This qualification also requires the following Work Experience Modules:
  • 311701004-WM-01, Exposure to the processes for designing and implementing mine ventilation systems, at NQF Level 4, 18 Credits.
  • 311701004-WM-02, Exposure to occupational hygiene sampling strategies and schedules, at NQF Level 4, 21 Credits.
  • 311701004-WM-03, Exposure to the processes of conducting air balances of shafts, at NQF Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 311701004-WM-04, Exposure to mine ventilation and occupational hygiene projects, at NQF Level 4, 26 Credits.
  • 311701004-WM-05, Exposure to the processes for reviewing mine ventilation and occupational hygiene standards, at NQF Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 311701004-WM-06, Exposure to the emergency preparedness and response processes, at NQF Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 311701004-WM-07, Exposure to the internal and external Mine Ventilation and Occupational Hygiene audit processes, at NQF Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 311701004-WM-08, Exposure to the processes of evaluating the effectiveness and accuracy of environmental monitoring systems, at NQF Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 311701004-WM-09, Exposure to the conducting of surveys on secondary cooling installations, at NQF Level 4, 6 Credits.
    Total number of Credits for Work Experience Modules: 101. 

    1. Develop and ensure implementation of basic Mine Ventilation systems and Occupational Hygiene programmes.
    2. Observe and monitor the implementation of mine specific ventilation codes of practice.
    3. Initiate corrective action to improve the mine ventilation and occupational hygiene systems and functions.
    4. Oversee the effective functioning of a mine ventilation function for a designated area of a mine. 

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • Analysis of given details related to various mine ventilation and occupational hygiene systems are identified in all instances where the systems do not comply with legislative best practices and the most appropriate ways of correcting the defects in the system are indicated.
  • Drafted ventilation layouts for specific mining work areas are made to comply with the code of practice requirements and are feasible in terms of airflow dynamics and ventilation principles.
  • Analysis of the impact/risks of given layouts on the existing ventilation infrastructure are identified in all the short, medium and long term risks and the ventilation resources required to deliver the specified requirements are described.
  • All recourses are identified and the description indicates the related implementation implications.
  • The specific ventilation, fire and explosion prevention requirements for a specific ventilation district are determined in accordance with the risk assessment and an interpretation of the mine plans. All hazards identified in the risk assessment are adequately dealt with and the requirements meet all the specifications of the code of practice.
  • Construction and installation schedules and plans are developed indicating the resources to implement the layouts and all requirement in terms of Material, labour, supervision, time, and transport are accurately specified.
  • Troubles shooting identify all the possible causes of poor performing ventilation systems and appropriate improvements are recommended. All performance deviations are identified and the root causes of the poor performance is specified and verified.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • Indications of where given emergency preparedness and response plans for various types of mines deviate from the mandatory codes of practice are accurate and all deviations are specified and the appropriate corrective actions identified.
  • Descriptions of all the operating and maintenance principles for all the emergency and rescue equipment used for the full range of mine emergencies comply with the regulations and standard operating procedures.
  • The effectiveness of various blasting schedules for various mining conditions is correctly interpreted using the data from telemetry systems.
  • Potential deviations from regulatory requirements relating to ventilation standards and practices are accurately identified and explanations of what must be done to ensure that the various situations are corrected comply with accepted professional practices for the specific type of mine.
  • Identification of all the essential components that must be inspected from a Ventilation and Occupational hygiene perspective for given mining areas and conditions is done to ensure that they meet the minimum regulatory requirements.
  • The potential risks associated with a range of inspection findings that covers the full spectrum of potential risks and descriptions of what must be done to mitigate these risks are identified in line with leading professional practices.
  • The Interpretation of the survey results is compared with the standards to identify discrepancies. All discrepancies are grouped in terms of severity according to the globally accepted risk assessment classifications and standards.
  • The possible causes of the discrepancies are identified and appropriately verified.
  • Technical reports with recommendations to deal with the identified discrepancies are drafted and meet the regulatory requirements and mine specific standards.
  • Implementation plans with a process to monitor the success of the implementation are developed and presented to decision makers using appropriate terminology, accurate assessments and findings and feasible and professionally sound recommendations;
  • Potential future discrepancies are identified and plans to prevent these discrepancies from occurring are developed in line with organisational standards and professional leading practices.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3:
  • All the legally required reports that must be submitted regarding mine ventilation and occupational hygiene are listed and the purpose and use of each report as set out in the relevant legislative requirements are described.
  • The key information that must be contained in each of the identified reports is listed and the source of the information is accurately identified.
  • The legally allowed exposure limits for various occupational hygiene situations on different types of mines are correctly identified and for each of the situations the short, medium and long term consequences are for non-compliance to these limits are described in terms of factual case examples.
  • Various occupational hygiene monitoring programmes for different mining scenarios are analysed and all the deficiencies in the programmes are accurately identified.
  • The short, medium and long term consequences of the identified deficiencies are described and feasible actions to deal with the identified deficiencies are explained according to leading mine ventilation standards and practices.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 4:
  • Analysis of various technical reports is correctly outlined and areas where the structure of the reports can be improved are indicated.
  • Suggested ways of improving the structure and quality of various reports are highlighted and all obvious technical errors improve the quality of the reports.
  • Hand drafted reports are accurately captured on a commonly used word processing device and appropriate graphs are added and the report is presented in an acceptable format that meets regulatory and organisational requirements and standards.
  • The performance of a team of Ventilation observers is reviewed using appropriate processes and all the performance problems are identified.
  • Appropriate action is initiated to resolve the performance problems according to legislative and organisational specific human resource requirements and standards.

    Integrated Assessment:
    Integrated formative assessment:
    The skills development provider will use the curriculum to guide them on the stipulated internal assessment criteria and weighting. They will also apply the scope of practical skills and applied knowledge as stipulated by the internal assessment criteria. This formative assessment leads to entrance into the integrated external summative assessment.

    Integrated summative assessment:
    The external assessment will take place once the candidate has successfully completed all the theory and practical skills modules and gained the experience as set out in the curriculum. The assessment will be conducted by a panel of registered assessors at an approved assessment site. 

    An international comparability study was conducted to determine to what extent this Occupational Certificate is comparable to qualifications required for this occupation in the global arena where mining is conducted.
    For the purposes of this exercise we used Australia and Canada as reference points. Due to the legislative requirements and the collaboration of the Mine Ventilation Society at global level similar practices will be found in most countries where mining is conducted.

    Mine Safety is legislated in Australia at the State level. Some States require ventilation officers to have a specific competency. This may be a Mining Engineering Degree from any Australian (or sometimes a specific State) university, or could be one or more vocational competencies in the Australian Qualifications Framework.

    Vocational competencies are different to academic qualifications. Vocational competencies are typically provided by Government Institutes of Technical and Further Education (TAFE); academic qualifications are usually provided by Universities. However even where an academic qualification is specified by legislation for a Ventilation Officer, exemptions usually can, with good cause, be obtained from the degree requirement.

    There are typically four levels of ventilation professional in Australia:
  • Ventilation technician (or junior or in training) Ventilation Officer or Engineer. This person is typically underground on a daily basis and takes measurements, makes inspections, creates reports etc. His role is data collection and basic fault-finding and he does minimal interpretation of the data, or any medium to longer-term ventilation planning. Only larger mines tend to have a ventilation technician. This is a role that does not require a tertiary qualification or any formal qualification at all. The vent tech would report to the Ventilation Officer. Comparatively this relates to the

    Ventilation Observer in Large South African Mines:
  • Ventilation Officer (VO). The VO position is a statutory position in Western Australian and New South Wales hardrock mines, Queensland and NSW coal mines, and all uranium mines. However, being a mining engineer is not essential. On small (usually hardrock) mines, the Ventilation Officer often also has other duties (e.g. "fill engineer" or "drill and blast engineer", etc). On small mines, the VO is typically a graduate rotation position so the incumbent is usually only in the role for 6 to 12 months. On larger mines, it can be a career position. On small mines with few ventilation risks, the Ventilation Officer has minimal technical understanding of ventilation and deals with purely routine issues such as moving auxiliary fans around the mine, and taking statutory measurements. He has a short-term focus (from a few days up to a few months). For more significant issues or for medium and longer-term planning, a ventilation consultant is usually engaged. On coal mines, the VO is usually a more senior, and long-term, appointment. Comparatively this relates to the Mine Ventilation Officer in the South African context.
  • Senior Ventilation Officer or Engineer. This is usually a site based long-term career position. Only large mines with multiple ventilation officers would have this role. The senior VO has a stronger technical basis, but with his experience often still limited to the range of issues at the particular mine. For major exercises, a ventilation consultant is usually engaged for support.
  • Ventilation Consultant. This is either an internal consultant (e.g. a group mining engineer in a major mining house who has specialised in ventilation) or an external consultant (either part of a larger, usually multi-disciplinary, consulting firm, or a self-employed specialist).

    There are several possible pathways into the role of a Ventilation Officer in Australia. Any person who qualifies for entry and passes the University requirements can obtain an Australian Mining Engineering Degree. This will provide a passport into a career as a VO and the mining companies will provide the necessary mining exposure Post-graduation. For persons without an Australian Mining Engineering Degree, there are currently two possible pathways into the role of VO:
  • The UNSW Graduate Diploma in Mine Ventilation. This is an academic qualification.
  • The CQIT Faculty of Mines and Energy/MVA which is a vocational competency.

    The comparable qualification to the South African Occupational Certificate is the vocational competency training provided by the Mine Ventilation association. This vocational training covers the following learning components:
    Module 1, Ventilation and Mine Services:
    1.1. Fluid Flow, Friction and Shock Losses.
    1.2. Fans and Auxiliary Ventilation.
    1.3. Ventilation Network Analysis.
    1.4. Ventilation System Monitoring and Mine Services.

    Module 2, Environmental Contaminants:
    2.1. Mine Gases and Gas Laws 2.2, Atmospheric Gas Monitoring.
    2.3. Airborne and Explosible Dust.
    2.4. Mine fires and Explosions.

    Module 3, Heat in Underground Mines:
    3.1. Psychrometry.
    3.2. Heat Transfer and Sources of Heat.
    3.3. Heat Stress Management.

    Module 4, Ventilation System Management:
    4.1. Management Plans & Risk Assessment.
    4.2. Project Economics.

    Module 5, Coal Mine Hazards & Control:
    5.1. Gas Reservoir Characteristics.
    5.2. Gas Drainage, Outbursts and Windblasts.
    5.3. Spontaneous Combustion of Coal.

    Module 6, Coal Mine Ventilation:
    6.1. Coal Mine Legislation.
    6.2. Coal Mine Ventilation Planning and Practice.

    Module 7, Metalliferous Mine Hazards and Control:
    7.1. Refrigeration.

    Module 8, Metalliferous Mine Ventilation:
    8.1. Metalliferous Mine Legislation.
    8.2. Metalliferous Mine Ventilation Planning and Practice.

    Learners are also expected to complete practical work assignments and are finally assessed through a national board examination which is conducted by the Mine Ventilation association of Australia.

    In Canada the role of Mine Ventilation Officers is also regulated on a similar basis to the practices in South Africa and Australia, in fact this is the practice in most mines globally.

    Queens University in Canada offers courses on mine ventilation. The following is the list of topics they will teach. Practical work experience is required on the Mines and certification is done by the nationally recognised professional body:
  • Airflow in mine openings (head losses and shock resistances).
  • The sizing of raises and airways.
  • Mine ventilation controls (doors and regulators).
  • Field measurements and ventilation surveys.
  • Natural ventilation pressure and fan performance.
  • Fan sizing and fan design factors.
  • Fan testing and fan surveys.
  • Main surface fan system design.
  • Auxiliary ventilation system sizing and design.
  • Fan pressure determination in duct systems.
  • Planning a mine ventilation system.
  • Mine ventilation design criteria and ventilation design factors.
  • Ventilation circuit design.
  • Ventilation economics (fan selection, economic airway size).
  • Psychrometry (air density, temperature and humidify control).
  • Mine air conditioning design (mine air heating, mine air cooling).
  • Mine gases, methods of control and dilution ventilation design.
  • Mine dust control (design of dust settling chambers and dust exhaust systems).
  • Noise exposure, monitoring and control.

    The learning programmes, qualifications and regulatory practices in the two countries reviewed are significantly similar to the South African situation and the Occupational Certificate compares favourably with these international qualifications. 

    Both horizontal and vertical articulation is possible.
    Horizontal Articulation is possible to:
    Further Education and Training Certificate: Strata Control Operations, NQF Level 4.
    Occupational Certificate: Mining Technician (Strata Control Practitioner: Underground Hardrock), NQF Level 4.
    Occupational Certificate: Mining Technician: Mining Surveyor, NQF Level 4 (Being Developed).

    Vertical Articulation:
    National Certificate: Environmental Management, NQF Level 5. 



    Qualifying for External Assessment:
  • In order to qualify for an external assessment, learners must provide proof of completion of all required modules by means of statements of results and work experience including Foundational Learning Competence or equivalent.

    Additional Legal or Physical Entry Requirements:
  • None.

    Criteria for the Accreditation of Providers:
  • Accreditation of providers will be done against the criteria as reflected in the relevant curriculum on the QCTO website.

    The curriculum title and code is: 311701004: Mine Ventilation Officer.

    This qualification encompasses the following trades as recorded on the NLRD:
  • None.

    Part Qualifications:
  • None. 


    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.

    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.