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Who We Are

Wits Mining - Distinctly Exceptional

The School of Mining Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand is recognised as one of the largest mining engineering programmes in the world.

QS World University Rankings by Subject rated Wits School of Mining number 13 among the top mining schools in the world. We have one of the most successful growth rates of any of the engineering schools, consistently having an increase of students to its courses.

Our School takes pride in being one of the founding schools of the University of the Witwatersrand, and can trace our origins back to the Kimberley School of Mines. Throughout its existence the reputation of the School has been based on the quality of our graduates, many of whom have risen to hold senior positions in the South African Mining Industry and made significant contributions to its growth and technological development.

Mining is an excellent subject to study at university and as a course is more focused towards industry than other engineering subjects. This is of considerable benefit to students who have the chance to make valuable contacts in the industry before they graduate.

Today, Wits School of Mining hosts an ECSA-accredited first degree, internationally recognised higher degrees in Mining Engineering covering several specialist fields of study, several certificate programmes and hosts the Centre of Sustainability in Mining and Industry (CSMI).

The Need for Mining Engineers

Mining engineering allows for valuable natural resources to be extracted through innovative design and a cautious awareness of the economic, health and safety, environmental and community consequences that may only become visible long after mines are set up. In order to reach this competence, an education in mining engineering requires some understanding of other branches of engineering such as civil, mechanical, electrical, chemical and process engineering, in addition to aspects of geology, surveying and economics. Such knowledge builds on the fundamental mining subjects of rock engineering, mining methods, mine ventilation and mine management.

Technology has provided the opportunity for the design and management of high-tech mines that are not only safer, but also more productive and environmentally and socially responsible, while still being economically successful. Wits Mining Engineering graduates are ready for these challenges and the School of Mining Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand is known and respected internationally for the quality of its programmes and graduates.

Our School’s vision is to solve the mining industry’s professional development needs through academic relevance and excellence. Its mission is to supply adequate and quality mining engineers in order to meet manpower needs in Industry, Government and Academia.

Our state-of-the-art programmes will continue to deliver problem-solvers at all levels, that is, technical expertise, mine management and applied research, in short, more graduate engineers capable of doing the job after a mentorship and development programme; and postgraduates with the ability to do the applied research for industry to take great strides forward.

The Wits Mining graduates of the future will have the trademark of being engineers conscious of the environment and prepared to improve the communities in the areas they operate. The benefits to industry for having access to Wits Mining Engineers include a constant stream of quality graduates.

What Makes Us Exceptional

We have tradition and a deep appreciation for the value of the contributions made by generations of academic staff and students. 

Under the leadership of the current Chair of Mining Engineering, Professor Phillips, the School has established itself at the heart of the South African mining industry with academic programmes that set the standard in South Africa. Additionally, many of the School’s graduates have distinguished careers, some of them are: GA Watermeyer (Professor of Mining and Surveying) for his text book on Witwatersrand Mining Practice; FG (Pinkie) Hill (recipient of two honorary doctorates) for his contributions to research and management techniques; CB Jeppe (Professor of Mining) for his text book on Gold Mining in South Africa; DG Krige (Professor of Mineral Economics and recipient of several honorary doctorates) for his research and contribution towards geostatistics; and A Budavari (Professor of Rock Engineering) for his contribution towards the teaching of rock mechanics.

At present, the School has 17 full-time professional academic staff, four of whom are full professors in Mining Engineering, Mineral Reserves and Resources Estimation, Rock Engineering and Mine Surveying. 

In Africa, Wits School of Mining Engineering is the only mining school with a significant postgraduate activity and draws many of its students from countries throughout the continent. This diverse influx has allowed the School to form strong links with other institutions and to provide assistance with staff development programmes and curriculum development at institutions such as the Tarkwa School of Mines (Ghana), the University of Zambia, the University of Zimbabwe, the University of Namibia and the University of Botswana.

Within the University, the School has strong ties with the School of Geosciences and the other Schools in the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment. At the postgraduate/ research level, the School has contacts throughout the University and these have been strengthened by the formation of the Centre for Sustainability in Mining and Industry (CSMI). Our School is also involved as a partner in the Centre for Mechanised Mining Systems (CMMS) in the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering.