Wits University’s mining engineering school is ranked the highest in Africa and 13th in world in the 2019 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings.

Last year Wits ranked 15th, whilst in 2017 it was positioned 22nd on the QS rankings. The rankings are based on a combination of metrics that include academic and employer reputation, student-to-staff ratios, proportion of international staff and students, and citation rate.

Based on these categories, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s mining engineering school in the United States was ranked first in the world. Wits mining engineering is the only school in Africa to feature in the top 50 worldwide.

“Wits Mining is the largest mining school in Africa. It has a very expansive postgraduate programme and has a sizeable portion of international staff and students,” said Kelello Chabedi, senior lecturer at the Wits School of Mining Engineering.

Students currently study within the school were chuffed by the achievement.

“It is a pleasure to attend one of the top mining schools in the world”, said 22-year-old Innocent Sithole.

“I want to go out there and explore how mining engineering is done globally and [how] this ranking improves my chances of getting a job somewhere else,” added the third-year mining engineering student.

Third-year student, Minenhle Khumalo, said that there has been a decline of mining engineering graduates being taken into the mining industry.

“With us moving up in the ranks of the world and being the top school in Africa, obviously it will attract the industry’s attention,” Khumalo said.

“I think it is the way in which our curriculum is structured. Our degree includes honours, so it prepares us for things that other mining engineering students are not taught in their curriculum,” Khumalo added.

“Our chances of employment will be drastically higher everywhere in the world because the industry now knows that we are competent enough,” said Mashudu Tlhatlheji, another third-year mining engineering student.

Editor of Mining Weekly, Martin Creamer, told Wits Vuvuzela that, “It is encouraging to see that the Wits School of Mining Engineering is playing its role in a manner that has attracted the attention of the QS World University Rankings.”

“The school’s progression is very pleasing and coincides with the Fraser Institute’s higher ranking of South African mining industry as a whole,” said Creamer.

The Fraser Institute is an independent non-partisan research and educational organisation based in Canada.

“South Africa has an Aladdin’s Cave of metals and mineral riches that are estimated by the Citibank to be worth more than R32 trillion. The best way to ensure that this substantial endowment benefits all people of South Africa is by equipping South African students well enough to be able to extract our wonderful national minerals,” said Creamer.

Featured: Wits Mining Engineering Students (clockwise from top left) Kevin Sangweni, Innocent Sithole, Nhlamulo Motilene, Mashudu Tlhatlhetjie, Minenhle Khumalo, Olpha Mtungwa, Remember Kubayi and Tshepang Thulo are very proud of their school’s improved ranking.
Photo: Stephanie Schaffrath