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Occupational Certificate: Mineral Beneficiation Process Controller (Material Handler) 
99427  Occupational Certificate: Mineral Beneficiation Process Controller (Material Handler) 
Development Quality Partner - MQA 
-   OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
Occupational Certificate  Field 06 - Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology  Fabrication and Extraction 
Undefined  168  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 Mineral Beneficiation Process Controller (Material Handler). Completion of this qualification will enable the learner to gain the knowledge, develop the skills and be exposed to the work experience required to work in a process plant and to monitor and control all the generic raw material and final product handling and processing equipment. Learners will gain the knowledge, skills and experience to operate a plant in a safe and efficient manner and to apply the required communication skills when working in a processing plant environment.

Mineral Beneficiation Process Controllers: (Material Handlers) monitor and control the operational efficiency of the Materials Handling and Comminution equipment and processes in a mineral beneficiation plant.

A qualified learner will be able to:
  • Ensure compliance with all Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental requirements to minimise the operational risk in a mineral beneficiation/extraction plant.
  • Monitor and control the availability of materials to achieve production targets in a mineral beneficiation/extraction plant for a designated production period.

    Process control is a function that exists in a range of industries and operations. It encapsulates physical work on the plant with the relevant processing equipment as well as distant process controlling using computerised control equipment. This Occupational Certificate is the first part of a suite of qualifications. It covers the generic component of the process control operations, in other words those components where material is received, stockpiled and moved to the next stage of the process. The next stage can be within the same operation but in some cases it is part of a totally different operation.

    The mineral beneficiation process control value chain includes the following main elements:
  • Raw material receipt and stockpiling/storing.
  • Raw material transportation, preparation and blending.
  • Mineral Processing (Hydrometallurgy, Smelting, Calcining).
  • Processed product handling and stockpiling.
  • Processed product preparation and dispatching.

    All mineral beneficiation processes involve the above-mentioned activities. The front and back end of those processes are similar in most operations (Raw Materials and Finished Products).

    Another part of the process control function that is generic to most industries, is the requirements regarding Occupational Health and Safety.

    This Occupational Certificate is designed to meet the industry demands regarding these generic functions. It will create structured learning pathways for a large component of Process Controllers and it will serve as a compulsory entry qualification that will form the basis for specialising in materials preparation and the processing of the various minerals (Hydrometallurgy, Smelting and Calcining).

    The qualification covers the work executed by the inside and outside Process Controllers, the learning covers both NQF Levels 3 and 4 learning and the qualification is pitched at NQF Level 4.

    This qualification is an entry requirement for the specialisation areas. (Materials Preparation, Mineral Processing: Hydrometallurgy, Mineral Processing: Smelting and Mineral Processing: Calcining). The qualification covers all the basics of equipment start-up, shut-down and operational monitoring from a physical (in the plant) and from a control room perspective.

    One of the cornerstones of the National Development Plan is a focus on the further beneficiation of our mineral resources. This will require investment in new plants and there will be a need for additional Process Controllers. This qualification and the four specialisations will support the national strategy and it will create a pool of learners that can enter the Mineral Processing fields. As the National strategy progresses, these qualifications will become more important.

    From an industry perspective, this qualification will create common standards and it will enhance safety and productivity in the workplace. 

    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 Results or certifying a Work Experience Record.

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

    Entry Requirements:
  • NQF Level 2 with Mathematical Literacy. 


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

    Knowledge Modules:
  • 313912001-KM-01, Fundamentals of Occupational Health and Safety in Mineral Processing Operations, Level 4, 8 Credits.
  • 313912001-KM-02, Fundamentals of Mineral Beneficiation, Level 4, 20 Credits.
  • 313912001-KM-03, Fundamental Principles of Process Plant Management, Level 4, 36 Credits.
    Total number of credits for Knowledge Modules: 64.

    Practical Skill Modules:
  • 313912001-PM-01, Monitor the Occupational Health, Safety and environmental compliance in the beneficiation processes, Level 4, 11 Credits.
  • 313912001-PM-02, Monitor and verify the availability of raw materials, Level 3, 6 Credits.
  • 313912001-PM-03, Facilitate the smooth flow of material by means of the material handling and transportation systems and equipment, Level 3, 18 Credits.
  • 313912001-PM-04, Check and report the quality/parameters of the material and processed products, Level 3, 6 Credits.
  • 313912001-PM-05, Determine the raw material requirements to achieve the production targets, Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 313912001-PM-06, Start, monitor, control and stop all size reduction equipment, Level 3, 6 Credits.
    Total number of credits for Practical Skill Modules: 53.

    This qualification also requires the following Work Experience Modules:
  • 313912001-WM-01, Exposure to risk management processes for all areas of the plant, Level 4, 23 Credits.
  • 313912001-WM-02, Exposure to the full range of raw material handling processes on the site, Level 3, 16 Credits.
  • 313912001-WM-03, Exposure to the material reduction processes, Level 4, 8 Credits.
  • 313912001-WM-04, Exposure to the products handling processes, Level 4, 4 Credits.
    Total number of credits for Work Experience Modules: 51. 

    1. Conduct risk assessments in process operations and identify appropriate actions to deal with deviations and mitigate risks.
    2. Describe and explain the legal, organisational and moral responsibilities of all stakeholders regarding the personal health, safety and environmental conditions in areas where minerals are being processed/beneficiated.
    3. Describe the role, importance, type, frequency and process of conducting inspections in a process operation.
    4. Explain how all safety, health and environmental information and requirements must be communicated, reported and enforced, and what actions must be taken to deal with deviations, defects, incidents and accidents.
    5. Interpret and explain typical mineral processing/beneficiation process flows.
    6. Execute the fundamental scientific calculations required in a typical process operation.
    7. Describe the fundamental operating principles of the mechanical equipment and processes relevant to typical mineral processing/beneficiation operations.
    8. Use computerised process control systems to monitor and control mineral beneficiation processes, deal with deviations and respond to emergencies.
    9. Apply leading practices for effective control room administration.
    10. Identify deviations from the standard and adjust the process accordingly. 

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • Descriptions of typical hazard identification and risk assessment systems and processes are validated and how these systems are applied at the learners' work site is indicated.
  • All the hazards given in a relevant mineral beneficiation process are identified and described and explanations of what actions must be taken to mitigate the associated risks are included.
  • The physical ability to conduct risk assessments in mineral processing environments is demonstrated following all the required procedures and standards.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • A description list of all the relevant stakeholders that have specific responsibilities regarding occupational health, safety and environment in a typical mineral processing operation is compiled.
  • All the key regulatory responsibilities of each of the stakeholders are clearly stated with relevant examples.
  • The regulatory responsibilities of a Process Controller are described giving detailed examples of how these responsibilities are executed on the site where the learners is employed.
  • The processes for enforcing regulatory and organisational requirements are identified and described and a factual indication of the consequences of non-compliance is given.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3:
  • The meaning and importance of inspections are clearly explained and the purpose and importance of conducting the different types of inspections are given in accordance with the relevant regulatory requirements.
  • The different types of inspections that a Process Controller must do are listed and examples of how these inspections are executed on the work site are given.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 4:
  • The sources of occupational health, safety and environmental information are listed and it is indicated what kind of information will come from each of the sources.
  • Given a range of typical health, safety and environmental information, the implications of the information is explained and how it will be dealt with is indicated.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 5:
  • All equipment is identified and the types of equipment are indicated using a flow diagram the equipment is and physically identified on a working plant.
  • The flow of material through the processes is correctly identified and described, and all potential bottlenecks are indicated for a range of mineral beneficiation processes.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 6:
  • All the calculations required for the effective control of various metallurgical processes are correctly executed using a scientific calculator.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 7:
  • Descriptions, photos, video material and/or sketches are used, and the various pieces of basic equipment used in the metallurgical processes are illustrated, and all equipment is correctly identified and named.
  • Descriptions of the purpose of the equipment are aligned with the manufacturer's manual and explanations of how the equipment works indicate all the key steps as set out in the standard operating procedures.
  • The potential consequences when the equipment is not operating optimally are clearly stated and all occupational health and safety risks are identified.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 8:
  • Basic alarm conditions are correctly identified and the appropriate actions are initiated.
  • All systems are safely accessed and the navigation between the various sections of the given plant is done according to standard operating procedures.
  • Plant status/integrity at various stages of the operation is identified according to the given specifications.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 9:
  • The required documentation and log books are accurately and neatly completed.
  • The control system is correctly accessed and all required reports are extracted.
  • All required data is captured into the system accurately and correctly.
  • All required communications that must be handled by the control room are executed using appropriate protocols and interpersonal behaviours, and in accordance with the standard operating procedures.
  • The on-going operation of the plant is maintained for at least one shift.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 10:
  • Interpretation of sample results is accurate and all deviations from the standard are accurately identified.
  • Appropriate adjustments are made to deal with the identified deviations.
  • All equipment and process issues during the operation are indicated in the sample results.
  • Identification of what can be done to deal with situations where the production targets are not being met is feasible and in line with standard operating procedures.

    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:
    An external integrated summative assessment, conducted through the relevant Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) Assessment Quality Partner, is required for the issuing of this qualification. The external integrated summative assessment will focus on the Exit Level Outcomes and associated assessment criteria. 

    The purpose of the international comparability exercise was to determine the extent to which similar qualifications within the international arena are comparable with the South African qualification. Australia and Canada were used for this purpose.

    Institution/Training Provider: Australian Department of Vocational Education.

    Course/Programme/Qualification Title: Certificate in Resource Processing.

    Description: This qualification reflects the role of employees such as production operators in a mineral processing facility or a coal preparation and treatment plant, who perform tasks involving a broad range of skilled applications in a varied work context, using some discretion and judgement in selecting equipment, services or contingency measures.

    Related Occupations:
    Coal Preparation Senior Operator:
  • Coal Preparation Senior Operators are skilled operators in coal preparation and treatment plants. They handle raw coal and monitor coal preparation operations, including treating and disposing of rejects and tailings.
  • Process Operators (Mineral Processing) working in the mineral processing industry may assemble and dismantle equipment and fittings in ore-processing plants, or operate ore-crushing and screening plants. They use manual and computer-based systems.
  • Remote Control Room Operators in the extractive industries operate the control rooms in complex processing plants. They may not require a full qualification; however, the qualifications noted include the competencies required for their work.
  • Senior Process Operators/Senior Production Operators (Mineral Processing) perform various processes used to extract metals and minerals from ore. They may operate crushing and extraction processing equipment, or produce minerals in their final form by smelting.

    Comparison of Course Content and Complexity:
    The Australian qualification covers elements from this occupational qualification and all the associated specialisations linked to the suite of qualifications. The Australian Vocational Qualifications Authority uses a concept of streams or electives within one single qualification, contrary to the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework Model where we work with whole or part qualifications.

    All the learning components in the Occupational Qualifications are covered in the Australian certificate; however, the Occupational Certificate covers the theory in more detail and also includes a work experience component.

    The following additional elements in the Australian Certificate are not included in the South African Occupational Certificate:
  • Operating Licenses for the mobile equipment used in the plant - In the South African situation the Equipment Operators are viewed as separate qualifications.
  • Learning components relating to Power Plant Process Controllers and Controllers in the Petro-Chemical sector - These Process Controllers will form part of separate qualifications associated with different codes on the Organising Framework for Occupations.
  • A few components relating to procurement - This work is not done by the Process Controller within the South African context.

    Similar to the South African Qualification, the Australian Qualification contains learning components at both NQF Levels 3 and 4. However, the overall level of the Australian Qualification is at NQF Level 3. As stated previously, within the South African context the theoretical component is more complex (approximately 65% of the qualification credits are pitched at NQF Level 4). This was done to facilitate the articulation to the various specialisation areas and to ensure that vertical articulation to Diploma and Degree qualifications in Metallurgy becomes possible.

    Qualification Title: Mineral Processing Operator Certificate (MPOC).

    Full Time, 16 Weeks.

    Fort St James Campus.

    Purpose: Train for work at mines.

    This 16-week entry level qualification addresses the need for trained Mineral Processing Operators, which covers the processing of ore extracted from the mine.

    This qualification, based on the National Occupational Standard for the Mineral Processing Operator, was developed by the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MIHR) as the basis for programme development and is supported by local industry.

    The qualification provides recognised industry standards training and leads to "job ready" individuals or readiness to enter into further technical training.

    The qualification offers a variety of certificate courses to give the learner a strong understanding and knowledge of safe work practices as they pertain to the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines in British Columbia (BC) and the mining industry.

    The qualification also includes exposure to entry level positions in the mining industry through mine tours and field trips.

    Qualification Topics include:
  • Mill Industry Safe Work Practices.
  • Essential Skills for Mineral Processing Operators.
  • Operating Tools and Equipment for Mineral Processing Operators.
  • Environmental Safety - Chemicals.
  • Mineral Processing Operations.
  • Applied Human Relations.
  • Introduction to the Minerals Industry.

    The qualification contains similar objectives and content to the Occupational Certificate: Mineral Beneficiation Process Controllers (Materials Handling). The scope and duration of the qualification are similar to the knowledge component of the Occupational Certificate. The Occupational Certificate includes practical skills and work experience.

    The Australian and Canadian qualifications used in this comparison have certificate qualifications that are comparable in terms of content and complexity to this Occupational Certificate. In both cases the need for an entry level certificate is recognised as it provides the fundamental knowledge required to work in a mineral processing environment. The Occupational Certificate contains strong elements of practical skills and work experience and meets the specific requirements of the South African mining environment. In terms of this specialisation, it is favourably comparable to the Australian and Canadian qualifications. 

    Horizontal articulation is possible to a number of mining-related qualifications:
  • Further Education and Training Certificate: Chemical Operations: Mining and Minerals, Level 4 (ID 78904).
  • Further Education and Training Certificate: Diamond Processing, Level 4 (ID 64729).
  • Further Education and Training Certificate: Laboratory Analysis: Mining and Minerals, Level 4 (ID 73312).
  • Occupational Certificate; Melter, Level 4 (ID 91877).

    Horizontal articulation is possible to the following qualifications currently being developed:
  • Occupational Certificate: Mineral Beneficiation Process Controller (Materials Preparer).
  • Occupational Certificate: Mineral Beneficiation Process Controller (Mineral Processor - Hydrometallurgy).
  • Occupational Certificate: Mineral Beneficiation Process Controller (Mineral Processor - Smelting).
  • Occupational Certificate: Mineral Beneficiation Process Controller (Mineral Processor - Calcining).

    Vertical articulation is possible to the following qualification:
  • National Diploma in Extraction Metallurgy, Level 6 (ID 74086). 



    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 Records, including Foundational Learning Competence.

    Additional legal or physical entry requirements:
  • None.

    Occupational medical fitness as defined by the legislation in order to work in the specific work environments required by the qualification (surface dusty environments).

    Criteria for the accreditation of providers:
    Accreditation of providers will be done against the criteria as reflected in the relevant Curriculum on the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) website.

    The Curriculum title and code is: Material Handler and 313912001.

    This qualification encompasses the following trades as recorded on the NLRD:
  • This is not a trade.

    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.