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Full Name: Theresa Van Aard

Position: Senior Rock Engineering Officer

Company / Organisations: Impala Platinum

Date and Place of Birth: 6 May 1985, Klerksdorp

Education: BTech (Mining), COM RMC, COM SCC, MM Cert, MO Cert.

First Job: Mining learner official at Anglo Platinum

Personal Best Achievement/s: Getting where I am in my career and family.

Philosophy of Life: The past is where you learned the lesson, the future is where you apply the lesson.

Favourite Food/Drink: Prawns and Coca-Cola

Favourite Sport: Mountain Biking

How did your career in the mining industry begin and where are you now?

I started on the mines after matric when I got a mining bursary from Anglo Platinum and I am now a Senior Rock Engineer at Impala Platinum.

Trust your gut feeling.

Why did you choose Rock Engineering?

I saw it as a growing, stimulating career and Rock Engineering as a science that can still be developed. The prospect of learning and possibly one day contributing to the advancement of Rock Engineering attracted me to the field.

Please tell us a bit more about your career journey?

I starting as a learner official, studied Mining Engineering at UJ, got my blasting ticket and worked as a miner at Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum mine as part of my exposure. I completed the Managers certificate and MO ticket, but found Rock Engineering to be of much more interest. I moved over to the department as a Rock Engineering graduate, worked about 2 years as an SCO, and then was appointed as a Shaft Rock Engineer on a vertical shaft sinking operation. I managed to get trackless, conventional, hybrid, Merensky and UG2 experience at different shafts within the company before recently starting at Impala Platinum as a senior Rock Engineering Officer.

The past is where you learned the lesson, the future is where you apply the lesson.

What are some areas that you believe will become of increasing importance in the near future of the rock engineering discipline?

Mining deeper within the Bushveld Complex, for one thing, will become more important as the shallower reserves are depleted. I would also say that reducing rock-related injuries (Safety) will remain a focus. Even though the emphasis of the DMR is currently on compliance, and the role that Rock Engineering has in enforcing compliance, the industry needs to recognise the importance and vital role that Rock Engineering, as a science, plays in the mining industry. There is so much potential for research, monitoring, modelling, back analysis and developing of empirical data tools to make further advancements in the field.

What advice would you offer people aspiring to be in your position?

Study hard and get as much practical exposure as possible.

Who is your role model / mentor?

I’d have to say that my role model in Rock Engineering is Jannie Maritz, due to his exceptional knowledge and understanding of Rock Engineering.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Trust your gut feeling.