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RangasamyFull Name: Trevor Rangasamy

Position: Director & Principal Rock Engineer

Company/Organisations: Middindi Consulting (Pty) Ltd (RSA), Middindi International Ltd, Rangkom Investments (Pty) Ltd

Date and Place of Birth: 11 September (911), Durban

Education: MSc (Eng), BSc (App Geology), AREC, COM Cert, SC Cert, G.D.E (Wits)

First Job: Assistant Strata Control Officer, Vaal Reefs Mining & Exploration Company

Personal Best Achievement/s: First Black COM Cert Rock Engineer in RSA, Starting Middindi Consulting (Pty) Ltd, making informed decisions whilst working on mines that saved lives

Philosophy of Life: Hard work never killed anyone ….

Favourite Food/Drink: A nice Durban bunny chow and Granadilla Twist

Favourite Sport: Cricket

rockstarFull Name: Quintin Lennox Grix

Position: Unit Manager – Rock Engineering

Company/Organisations: Goldfields, South Deep

Date and Place of Birth: 7 March 2016, Germiston, Johannesburg


First Job: HVAC Technician & SHEQ Consultant

Personal Best Achievement/s: Obtaining my REC at a young age!

Philosophy of Life: Today is the beginning of the rest of your life.

Favourite Food/Drink: Red wine & lasagne

Favourite Sport: Rugby!


Johannesburg’s early history is the story of gold. In 1853 Pieter Jacob Marais, a South African prospector, recovered alluvial gold from the Jukskei River, north of what would become Johannesburg. The years that followed brought several modest strikes, but the Witwatersrand Main Reef eluded searchers until 1886, when George Harrison, an Australian prospector, chanced upon an outcropping on a farm called Langlaagte. Ironically, Harrison failed to appreciate the significance of his find: he sold his claim for £10 and embarked for the goldfields of the eastern Transvaal region.


Crush pillars are used as part of the stope support in intermediate depth tabular mining stopes. Crush pillar design should ensure that the pillars crush when formed at the mining face. This behaviour of the pillars is typically achieved when the pillars have a width to height ratio of approximately 2:1. Once crushed, the residual stress state of the pillars provides a local support function.

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

Download the PDF version: pdf SANIRE Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 3 July 2016 (3.95 MB)

My son Lihan has just turned 2 and every day I am astonished at how he is able to absorb and adapt to his surroundings. Although he is entering the “terrible twos” and verbally expresses his frustration with life, we need to understand that he is struggling between his reliance on us as parents and the desire for independence. At this stage, he absorbs everything said and done around him, and also acts this out. The photograph above was taken at Raka Winery. While I was tasting wine, he was tasting the corks. Whether this was a hint for food or a way of sampling the wine remains a mystery.

In our working environment, we typically form ourselves based on our mentors, managers, their work ethic, and strengths and weaknesses. In some cases, this allows us to thrive and excel in what we do. However, in some areas, mentorship is a luxury and a Rock Engineer could be operating on an isolated operation. As a result, he or she can only rely on his or her own experience and expertise.

On many operations, the design and layout parameters were put in place many years ago and by “respected” Rock Engineers. Consequently, we presume that these designs are correct and cast in stone. However, in this lies a flawed approach. Although these designs were adequate at the time, we have to challenge their continued applicability, based on our knowledge of the environment, new research findings, technology, methodologies and best practices.

I would want to equip my son Lihan with tools which will provide him with the ability to grow and recognise the strengths, weaknesses, limitations and opportunities in every situation. At some stage in his life, he will value the example set by his parents, but will start to mould himself on a new set of criteria, whether it be a role model or his environment. As Rock Engineers, we have the choice to continue to use a copy-and-paste approach (monkey see monkey do) or we can equip ourselves with the necessary tools to ensure that we excel. As Engineers, we should design for purpose, optimise designs and eliminate risk.

Michael du Plessis - SANIRE President


ISRM International Symposium

‘Rock Mechanics for Africa’

See event page: http://www.saimm.co.za/saimm-events/upcoming-events/afrirock-2017

Dates: 02-07 October 2017

Venue: Cape Town Convention Centre, Cape Town, South Africa

The 2017 ISRM International Rock Mechanics Symposium is to be held in Cape Town. The conference theme is “Rock Mechanics for Africa”.

Prior to the conference, the ISRM Board, Council and Commission meetings will take place. Technical visits are being arranged for after the conference.

37th Technical Evening, 30 June
WITS School of Mining
New Concept Mining

A very successful technical evening was held by SANIRE’s Gauteng Branch on 30 June 2016 at WITS University’s Digital Mine facility, in conjunction with New Concept Mining. Prof Fred Cawood and his team of postgraduate students facilitated the event in the superb mine design laboratory, which was put together through sponsorship from Anglo American. Two talks were presented; the first talk was by WITS postgrad student, Prince Mulenga (SRK) on coal squat pillar design using numerical modelling, followed by Prof Cawood’s overview of the WITS digital mine facility and of the state of the art in mining technology, as well as of history and a vision for the future.

A Strata Control Mini Symposium was organised and held by the SANIRE Free State Branch at Diggers Inn in Welkom on the 9th June 2016. The day was opened with a keynote address from the SANIRE President, Mr Michael Du Plessis.

The following presentations were presented on the day during two sessions which were led by Dr Jaco Le Roux and Mr Paul Couto:

Full Name: Riaan Carstens

Position: Manager Rock Engineering

Company/Organisations: Anglo Platinum

Date and Place of Birth: 31 August 1968, Kroonstad

Education: BSc and MSc in Mining Engineering

First Job: Stated in production as a graduate in training.

Personal Best Achievement/s: Obtaining my MSc, getting a million fatal free shifts at Mponeng Mine, surviving parenthood so far.

Philosophy of Life: Always try to leave things in a better position than what you found them.

Favourite Food/Drink: Oxtail potjie and good red wine.

Favourite Sport: Cycling