At the SANIRE AGM held in August we shared some of the history of the pass rates achieved for the various papers of the Rock Mechanics Certificates. The pass rate being relatively low is, however, dependent on the candidates being experienced enough to understand the study material and knowing how to apply it in actual case studies or work situations. For most candidates, obtaining a Rock Mechanics Certificate is a true journey, comprised of highs and lows. There is no greater feeling of disappointment when you know that you have put in a lot of effort, yet you still fail a subject. I can recall the accomplishment I experienced when I “eventually” passed my ticket. We always hear our mentors and managers saying that we need to keep on trying; perhaps the next paper is your paper. Looking back, I can now also echo these words. Through your personal journey to obtain the qualification, you will also reach a point in your career when you will look back and realise that you only passed the ticket when you were prepared technically and had obtained sufficient experience to understand and apply the knowledge you had gained over the years. In South Africa we have achieved more than 100 qualified Rock Engineers in the past 5 years. Success is dependent on each person’s ability and effort. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” (Winston Churchill).
Michael joined Anglo American Platinum in 2002 after graduating from RAU (now University of Johannesburg). He obtained his Rock Mechanics Certificate in 2005. From 2005 to 2007, Michael worked for Minova, servicing the mines, especially along the eastern limb of the Bushveld. In 2007 Michael joined Lonmin Platinum. He was appointed as the Group Rock Engineering Manager in 2009. He obtained his Master’s degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2009 and a Doctorate from the University of Pretoria in 2016.
SANIRE Free State Branch hosted there annual 2016 Year End Function at Goldfields Game Farm in Virginia on the 28th October 2016. the function started at 10:00 in the morning and included the members families. The families enjoyed a game drive, predator camp, swimming pool and kids play area with a jumping castle. A delicious spit braai was served for lunch while listening to a local live band. The day was enjoyed by all and was a huge success.
Rock Mechanics Principles, a video course by Prof. Jian Zhao. Available from the website.
ISRM Suggested Methods on video.
ISRM sponsored an investigation of the Nepal earthquake, chaired by VP He Manchao from China.
Board and Council meetings
The ISRM held its 2016 Council meeting in Ürgüp, Turkey, on 28 August, in conjunction with the EUROCK 2016, organised by the Turkish ISRM National Group. Out of the 60 National Groups, 49 were either present or represented. The Council was also attended by Past President Prof. Shunsuke Sakurai, Chairmen of several ISRM Commissions and a representative of the IAEG. Michael du Plessis represented South Africa and Omberai Mandingaisa represented Zimbabwe. William Joughin represented Tunisia on behalf of Essaieb Hamdi.
The ISRM board meeting was held on the 27th August and William Joughin represented the African region.
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.