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Operations management for mining systems


Rising input costs, and the need to remain competitive in a demanding global economy has placed the mining industry under increasing pressure to improve and optimise operations. The need for change, to meet the challenges posed by this tough environment, has been recognised by mining organisations. Various improvement programmes and targets have been put in place. However, implementing operational improvement at the front line remains challenging: 

• Where should improvement efforts be focussed? 
• How is improvement linked to increased competitiveness, and financial returns? 
• How do companies harness knowledge and insight across the value chain? 
• How do we really fix problems, when everybody is fighting fires? 
• How can improvements be sustained? 

Course Structure

Course content is presented in an intense five-day format. There is a strong focus on knowledge synthesis and practical application in a mining environment. 
Classroom time will include lectures and hands-on case studies. Engagement and debate is an essential part of the learning experience. A diverse range of guest lecturers will bring practical industry insight into the discussions. An off-site industry visit will showcase the industrial engineering principles operational in the South African context.

Course Content

The course considers industrial engineering from a systems perspective, providing context, a methodology for improvement, and practical tools for solving problems. 

Seeing the big picture: 
• Principles of systems thinking
• The value chain
• Process mapping 

Finding opportunities for improvement: 
• Theory of constraints
• Root cause analysis
• Metrics and measures   

Solving problems:
• Data analysis tools
• Applying the scientific method
• Change management

Course Lecturers

The extremely popular course will be presented by University academic staff, Teresa Hattingh and Dieter Hartmann and experienced industry specialists.


The University regards this course as NQF level 9 and has been accredited by ECSA for CPD purposes as follows: five-day attendance = 4 points, five-day attendance and satisfactory completion of assignment and examination = 6 points. This is a formal course (MECN 7060) in the postgraduate programme of the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering.


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