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The Exam Results from 2009 have finally been released by UNISA, here is a list showing exam number and mark for those that passed by exam. The full list of results is available for download



vote earth


In December this year, world leaders will gather in Copenhagen to determine how the world deals with climate change. Their choice is simple - a future for planet earth or global warming.

Climate change will have the greatest impact on the poor, people who have limited resources to cope with changing rainfall patterns, reduced agricultural yields, water shortages, more frequent extreme weather events and the spread of disease. This is the future that awaits us here in South Africa and the rest of the world if climate change is allowed to continue unchecked. There is hope for turning the situation around and preventing runaway climate change, but only if our leaders act now.

Add your voice and help create a global mandate for a fair and effective new climate deal that will keep global warming as far below 2 degrees as possible. Show your vote for Earth and call on world leaders to secure a deal in Copenhagen that will protect people, and protect the planet.

The City of Vancouver will host the 49th Annual Conference of Metallurgists (COM 2010) held in conjunction with Lead-Zinc 2010, the fifth in this decennial series of international meetings organized by the Metallurgical Society of CIM and TMS.

Surrounded by water on three sides and nestled alongside the Coast Mountain Range, Vancouver is the largest city in the province of British Columbia with over half a million residents and one of the mildest climates in Canada. Home to spectacular natural scenery and a bustling metropolitan core, Vancouver will be home to the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. Relax in a park, or bike ride around the seawall; there is always something to do in Vancouver.

COM 2010 is ideally hosted by Vancouver because of the city’s multifaceted location and environmental flavor. COM 2010’s technical content will explore a diverse range of topics from refractories to sustainability. The complete list of conference topics include:

The COM metalliferous strata control examination results from the Carletonville examination venue cannot be accepted due to serious irregularities resulting from an administrative blunder.

Guidelines for Open Pit Slope Design is a comprehensive account of the open pit slope design process.

Read J, Stacey P. 2009. Guidelines for Open Pit Slope Design. CSIRO PUBLISHING. 512 pp. Illustrations.

open pit slope design guide

This conference will focus on technical subjects related to the use of shotcrete, providing a forum for recent research and innovations to be disseminated to  professionals involved with this rapidly evolving material. Issues to be addressed will extend from material properties, hydration control, and structural design, to analysis of shotcrete interaction with supported ground. The scope of the conference will appeal to geotechnical engineers, research specialists, consultants, and mining and tunnelling contractors wishing to learn about the latest advances in shotcrete technology.

This conference and workshop is in response to the industry being under immense pressure to sink shafts in safer and more efficient ways. The global call for no harm has to be taken very seriously. We can sink shafts without hurting people, however to repeatedly achieve this, we need to critically examine all aspects related to the sinking process. The way in which we conduct the entire project, right from mine concept study through to commissioning and handover needs to be considered. Shaft sinking is not only about the sinking cycle.
There are many diverse factors that influence the sinking process including:
keynoteIn September the Free State and Gauteng branches presented a symposium on informative rock engineering practice. Gerhard Keyter, a geotechnical engineer at RocStable SA who works for the Braamhoek Consultants Joint Venture, spoke on the planning and construction of civil engineering tunnels and large caverns. Here’s more…


The Ingula powerhouse caverns and tunnels are being excavated in mudrocks of the Lower Beaufort and Upper Ecca Groups of the Karoo Supergroup. Geotechnical investigations were carried out during the tender and detailed design phases and Gerhard presented the parameters used for the design of the tunnels and caverns.

He described the design methods used and support selection criteria developed for construction of the tunnels, with special attention to:

  • powerhouse location and orientation.
  • cavern shape and roof profile.
  • proximity of adjacent structures.
  • sequencing of cavern excavation.

Gerhard also compared cavern design support pressures and rock support lengths used in the Ingula caverns with those used in other large caverns. He concluded the presentation with a discussion on cavern convergence trigger levels adopted at Ingula and the quality control testing employed during the installation of rockbolts, cable bolts and cable anchors in the powerhouse caverns.

For more information, contact Gerhard on gkeyter@geostable.co.za

councilmembersopenpitSouth Africa has a proud history of successful open pit mines. In August this year, the Sanire council approved the formation of a surface mining branch. Here’s more about its aim, activities and membership.

The surface mining industry in South Africa is extremely diverse, with slopes being designed in hard and soft rock environments, soils and even beach sands.

Palaborwa was the steepest and deepest pit in the world at one stage (it has now been surpassed by the copper mines in Chile), Mokgalakwena is currently the largest open pit platinum mine and Sishen mine in the Northern Cape is one of the four largest open pits in the world.

Despite this rich history, there has never been a dedicated surface mining group. Practitioners have tended to meet only informally to discuss issues and share information.

“A group of practitioners representing several mining houses and mining and civil engineering consultancies identified the need for a surface mining branch,” relates branch chairman Glen McGavigan.

“Our main concern was the competency of current practicing surface mining and civil practitioners. The open pit Rock Engineering Certificate has only been in existence since 2008. However, open pit practitioners have been recognised in their own right internationally for many years.”

Many of the concerned practitioners were not members of the South African National Institute of Rock Engineering (Sanire) as there was not a specific focus on surface mining within the institute.

“Sanire is the unifying body for rock engineering practitioners in South Africa and therefore we approached the institute to form a surface mining branch,” Glen explains.

What’s the aim?

The aim of the branch is similar to that of Sanire: to be the voice of surface mining rock engineering/geotechnical practitioners in South Africa.

“We aim to establish a platform where information and knowledge can be shared and where a network of not only surface mining, but all rock engineering, practitioners can be built up,” says Glen.

“Our first priority is to address the competency of current surface mining practitioners. We have proposed a grandfathering and recognition of prior learning process for current practitioners to the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR). This will address the current shortcomings in the Mines Health and Safety Act, which excludes a competency definition for surface mining.”

Other aspects that the branch would like to address are:

  • preparing candidates for the Chamber of Mines open pit certificate.
  • assisting Sanire with the professional registration issues of rock engineering practitioners (Engineering Council of South Africa - ECSA and South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions -SACNASP).
  • liaising with other institutes and organisations that have an interest in surface mining, for example the Quarrying Institute of South Africa and the South African Institute for Engineering Geologists.
  • aiding in open pit geotechnical research and future technology development.
  • liaising with international rock engineering practitioners via overseas professional bodies such as the Australian Centre for Geomechanics (ACG).

An exciting future

There are at least 18 surface mining practitioners in positions of responsibility in South Africa. This excludes neighbouring countries such as Botswana and Namibia and excludes quarrying and civil engineering practitioners.

“We hope to include all practitioners in Southern Africa,” says Glen.

“Members can look forward to technical evenings dedicated, but not limited, to surface mining geotechnical/rock engineering practice. They will enjoy opportunities to engage with open pit geotechnical equipment suppliers and service providers.

“We aim to provide access to a network of specialised surface mining practitioners who can share information and knowledge. On the committee alone, we have more than 90 years’ combined specialist geotechnical experience.”

Through the Sanire website forum, members will have the opportunity to network with surface mining practitioners. They can, for example, liaise with suppliers of slope monitoring equipment and gain guidance as to future technology development.

Where to find the branch

The branch is based in Gauteng and committee members work in Pretoria and Johannesburg.

  • Chairman: Glen McGavigan, Principal Geotechnical Engineer at Kumba Iron Ore
  • Deputy Chairman: Gerhard Keyter, Consulting Geotechnical Engineer at RocStable SA
  • Secretary and Treasurer: Jacques Smit, Senior Geotechnical Engineer at Exxaro Resources
  • Supplier’s representative: Des Mossop, Principal Rock Engineer at Anglo Technical Division
  • Additional committee member: Peter Terbrugge, Principal Engineering Geologist at SRK Consulting.
rocktalkpicThis newsletter is part of the Sanire council’s ongoing efforts to give members value for money by increasing opportunities for networking and development. Council member Geoff Potgieter explains.

When the new Sanire council took charge in July this year, they combined the responsibility for the website and the newsletter into one portfolio, Communication.

Geoff Potgieter got out of the starting blocks at full speed and this newsletter is the result. Many readers may have the seen the redesigned website too.

“Thanks to Friedemann Essrich’s initial efforts and the talent and hard work of Bounce Communication and Quba Design and Motion, Sanire boasts a professional website and a brand new electronic newsletter,” says Geoff.

Starting early

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) hosted Sanire’s first website. The technology was very new and many of the services available today were yet to be developed.

In 2006, the new webmaster, Stewart Wood, moved the website to ITLogic. Unfortunately the billing and other member administration functions still relied on the CSIR's MSSQL data base. During 2006, many changes were made to the content, with only minor changes to the structure and look.

“When Friedemann took over in 2007, he implemented the first real overhaul of the site. It got a more professional look and contained the first real catalogue of past papers and memorandums,” explains Geoff.

“The site had three versions, or sizes, and although this was standard practice at the time, it limited flexibility. It caused much frustration – most of the members remember the now infamous floating menu. Despite all the problems, traffic to the site kept increasing and the aging technology resulted in problems with migration, access and updating.”

Creating a community

“We hope the new website will create an active online community and a useful online shop. It should also be a valuable resource to learners.

“The newsletter, ROCKtalk, is integral in creating this community. It will feature regular competitions, contributions from the pioneers of some of the things we take for granted, and topical stories. It is also the perfect medium to keep members up to date with reports from council portfolios. The aim is to deliver real benefits for all Sanire members,” concludes Geoff.