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This paper describes the design, construction and commissioning testing program for a laboratory facility at the School of Mining Engineering, UNSW, Australia, aimed at evaluating reinforcement tendon performance when subjected to shear loading. The project has been financially supported through the coal industry ACARP research initiative. The single failure plane design adopted in the test rig has been successful in allowing shear loading to be directly applied to fully installed (and where relevant, pre-tensioned) rock bolts. Initial results are extremely encouraging, and illustrate a significant axial component of load development as shearing takes place – particular in lower strength, softer material types. The paper also outlines future plans for use of this facility.