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Dear Members
Please follow the link to the latest quarterly newsletter. Stories and articles are always welcome. Please email Paul Couto at for enquiries.

Download the PDF version: SANIRE Newsletter Volume 3 Issue 1 (12MB)

As with every New Year, we start very positive, setting new resolutions. I found that I need to set goals for myself to ensure that I stay focussed and determined to achieve my goals in the anticipated time period. These include personal, work, academic and fitness goals.

WELL DONE to all the teams that took part in the first ever SANIRE Rockbowl last year. The Event was well attended by members and contestants, with teams taking each other on in a knock out format.

The event was hosted at the Sibanye Kloof Training Centre on the 18th November 2017. A total of 7 Young Members teams entered and participated with the overall Winners being the #ROCKSMUSTNOTFALL team from SRK Consulting.

WELL DONE everyone for surviving 2016! It was one very busy year for the Western Bushveld mines, with everyone in the Rock Engineering Departments just trying to stay afloat – but we all managed to scrape though still intact.

SANIRE still remains very active in this region. At the Western Bushveld Branch meeting for 2016, a new committee and chairperson were elected. This truly was a challenge, as the previous chairperson, Naomi Ayres, had left big shoes to fill!

gbranch1While trying to scout for something a little more unconventional for the year-end event, and thinking of the wealth of mining source material at our fingertips in Gauteng, we stumbled upon the KLOOFENDAL NATURE RESERVE where the Friends of Kloofendal happen to be none other than Steve and Karin Spottiswoode with Rod Kruger, so naturally the decision was made for itself!

gbranch2In spite of a Saturday morning time slot, there were stalwart enthusiasts as well as newbies (thanks to our SAICE and SAIEG communication channels) who all trekked together for a geological, nature and mining history adventure. The local geology comprises somewhat disturbed quartzites, sandstone and shale (yes, indicating promises of gold-bearing reefs!). Steve was our conductor here while Karin revealed the magic of fauna and flora. Rod then gave us a tour into the early diggings of the Struben brothers, amazingly excavated by hand drills, pickaxes, shovels and explosives, and are largely still intact. Being intelligent rock engineers, we all assessed the safety of the strata and decided it was perfectly acceptable to enter and exit unscathed. Which is what we did!

Full Name: Dr. Rudiger Welf Olgert Kersten
Designation: Independent Consultant
Qualifications: M.Sc Geology, Ph.D


Rudi Kersten, rock mechanics consultant, has more than 45 years experience in the mining industry. As consultant to Anglovaal he has been involved in the design and maintenance of both open pit and underground mines. The underground mines included shallow, intermediate, deep and ultradeep operations of archean and Witwatersrand type mines. Also included are manganese, copper, chrome, platinum, andalusite and silica operations. Consultancy work was also done on copper, gold and manganese mines in Brazil, Kazakstan, Uzbekistan, Zambia, Zimbabwe, DRC,United States of America, Australia, United Emirates and Tanzania. Experience covers the evaluation of borehole core to selection of mining method and detail planning and commissioning thereof. He has also been actively involved in designing and installing backfill plants at a number of mines. Rudi has been an independent mine consultant with South African and overseas clients since 1994 and has been involved in a number of due diligence and resource evaluations. He gained his MSc degree in geology at the University of Pretoria, currently busy with a PhD degree and, throughout his career, he has been involved in the guidance and evaluation of the research activities of the Chamber of Mines research organisation.

Jan Abram MaritzFull Name: Jan Abram Maritz

Position: Senior Lecturer

Company/Organisations: University of Pretoria

Date and Place of Birth: 5 July 1978 – Welkom

Education: MEng (Mining Engineering), COM REC, MMC

First Job: HTH Sales Rep

Personal Best Achievement/s: Advancing through all the spheres of Mining at a young age.

Philosophy of Life: Life is too short for cold coffee

Favourite Food/Drink: Good steak and beer

Favourite Sport: Athletics

Cassius SelaiFull Name: Rock Star of the Quarter

Position: Rock Engineering Superintendent

Company/ Organisations: Glencore Coal South Africa

Date and Place of Birth: 14 October 1985, Muila Village in Limpopo

Education: BESMEG (UNIVEN); CoM Certificate in Strata Control (Coal); CoM Certificate in Rock Mechanics (Coal)

First Job: Bolt Tester at Kenny’s Strata Bolt Testing

Personal Best Achievement/s:

  1. Obtaining my University qualification, because I was the first to achieve this in my family
  2. Successfully designing a coal pillar extraction and further receiving the CEO award for this work
  3. Presenting and publishing my very first Technical paper at the SHIRMS conference in 2012

Philosophy of Life: Whatever you do, do it with all your might.

Favourite Food/Drink: Simple Pap and Chicken

Favourite Sport: Soccer and Karate

The SANIRE Coalfields branch held its year-end function on the 02nd of December 2016 at the Tweefontein Recreation Club, in eMalahleni. This marked one of the very first events since the new branch committee was elected in February. A number delegates, consisting of practitioners, consultants and suppliers, came from various parts of the country to enjoy this prestigious event. The total number of delegates in attendance was 47 and the event was sponsored by Videx and Rocbolt technologies.

Rudiger Welf Olgert KERSTEN

Student No 7272848

A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Johannesburg, September 2016


The design of stable pillars in mining is of fundamental importance not only in the Bushveld mines but in the entire mining industry. Wherever mining occurs, pillars will be formed at some stage, and it is essential to predict their behaviour. It is imperative to know whether they would burst, yield or remain stable. Although of major importance, the design of pillars still suffer from major drawbacks and weaknesses that affect the results in a fundamental manner.