A proactive and ongoing training programme by the Murray & Roberts Cementation Training Academy (“MRTA”) is empowering hundreds of unemployed community residents with basic technical and safety skills, paving the way for them to enter the job market in mining and other sectors.

According to Murray & Roberts Cementation’s Education, Training and Development (“ETD”) executive, Tony Pretorius, the training programme began in 2015 and was driven by the company’s and the Mining Qualification Authorities commitment to community development, especially in the areas where it has active projects underway.

“The process started with us developing a Level 2 National Certificate programme in Occupational Health, Safety and Environment, which is now a learnership registered with the Mining Qualifications Authority,” says Pretorius.

“We then extended the scope of our facility to offer this qualification and, working with other important stakeholders, reached out to communities near to our operations to train up the unemployed.”

Not only does the training give local residents a better opportunity to be absorbed when possible into Murray & Roberts Cementation’s workforce, but it also equips the trainee with basic skills that are valuable in a range of basic mining, engineering and construction environments. By the end of 2017 financial year, over 250 local trainees had passed through the programme, increasing to 392 in the current financial year, already almost reaching the 400-learnersper- year capacity of the MRTA.

“So successful was this training that we were able to recruit over 150 learners into our operations by the end of the 2017 financial year, and are looking to recruit about 120 in this financial year,” Pretorius says.

Pretorius explains that the training involves core and relevant elective components including health, safety and environmental elements in line with the Level 2 National Certificate, as well as a supplementary component made up of basic technical skills such as working at heights, basic fire-fighting, basic rigging, general pipes and ventilation.

The learnership programme incorporates a wide selection of core formative and summative assessments which are administered over a six-month period, during which time learners are also required to complete various case studies at home.

“The method allows learners to apply the theory and practical skills in a mining environment, as well as in their day-to-day lives at home,” he says. “We believe that this approach offers our learners a wider understanding of the application of health, safety and environmental awareness, equipping them to identify hazards in whatever circumstances they are, and to take corrective measures.”


Cementation Americas celebrate their 20th anniversary this year. The company has a proud past and from the beginning offered engineering excellence in design-build and EPC options for clients with over 800 successful contracts completed.

The history of Cementation Americas began in 1998 as Kvaerner Cementation in the United Kingdom, which had operations worldwide including South Africa and the UK. Taking an organic approach to expansion, they established Cementation Canada in Ontario with a group of local engineers and contractors, many of whom are still with the company today. Says Roy Slack, President of Cementation Canada, “We wanted to be able to pursue major projects from the outset and after meeting some of the executive team including Tim Wakefield and Mike Wells and touring the South Deep project, we determined that with the right support, we could pursue larger projects in Canada and eventually the USA.”

Kvaerner Cementation sold the Cementation group to Skanska and it became Cementation Skanska, which went on to acquire Aurora Quarrying, a Canadian contractor which was originally an acquisition target of Kvaerner Cementation. In 2004, Murray & Roberts acquired the Cementation group from Skanska and they became Cementation Canada, a Murray & Roberts Company.

It was in 2006 that Cementation Canada was awarded the Resolution #10 Shaft project in Arizona, USA and later that year, Cementation USA was established with a full service office in Salt Lake City, Utah to service a growing list of American clients.

Cementation Americas has been awarded the Safest Employer Award and Employer of Choice for a number of years and these are among some of their proudest accolades. Project achievements include the deepest shafts in Canada on Glencore Kidd Mine D and the USA on the Hecla Lucky Friday mine. They also introduced large diameter hard rock raise boring to North America and have been a leader in innovation with technical developments including injection hoisting and borehole production shaft, as well as commercial models which align client and contractor expectations.

With its largest order book ever and expanded service offering, including surface construction management through Merit Consultants International and material handling and processing services through Cementation Above Ground, Cementation Americas is looking forward to an exciting future!