My wife, Angelique, and I do tandem road racing as a means to keep fit and spend time together. However, for us to compete, we need to make sure that we can operate as a functional team. As it is difficult to communicate with one another when racing, it is important to know each other’s strengths, weaknesses and limits.

afrirock2017

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

Gauteng Branch Teaches the Ropes!

SANIRE Gauteng Bench’s 2015 year end function taught about 20 SANIRE members “the ropes” at the CSIR’s Rope Testing facility, located in Sunnyside, Johannesburg.

Globally, 2015 was the warmest year on record, with world temperatures exceeding the long-term average based on documented measurements taken since 1880. The previous record year was 2014, and 2010 before that.

Tree planting demonstration by Sammy Mashaba from Food and Trees for Africa (Oct. 2011)

Supported by scientific evidence suggesting a link to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, climate change officially became the subject of international negotiations almost twenty-five years ago – the first agreement to co-operate dates back to 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. Between then and now, the world has generated almost as much carbon as it did during the preceding century.

New developments

Malaysia has been approved as a new national group of the ISRM.

The European Rock Mechanics Symposium – EUROCK 2018 – has been approved as an ISRM Regional Symposium. The conference will take place in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in May 2018.

The Shaoxing International Forum on Rock Mechanics and Engineering Technology has been approved as an ISRM Specialized Conference. The conference will take place in Shaoxing, Zhejiang, China, from 31 October to 1 November 2016.

Full name: Kevin Richard Brentley.

Position: Rock Engineer.

Company: Brentley, Lucas and Associates.

Organisations: SANIRE, ISRM, SAIMM.

Date and place of birth: 22 August 1960, Born in Johannesburg.

The official launch of the South African National Institute of Rock Engineering took place at a function held on 6 July 1999 at the Wanderer‟s Club in Johannesburg. At the launch, the out-going Chairman of SANGORM, Dr. Güner Gürtunca, reported on his period of chairmanship from February 1994 to July 1999. His report was followed by an address from SANIRE‟s first president, Dr. Nielen van der Merwe.

Full Name: Buntu Bantu Tati

Position: Rock Engineering Officer

Company/Organisations: Impala Platinum

Date and Place of Birth: 29 June 1988

There is, of course, evidence of mining in Southern Africa, stretching back a great many centuries, but concentrating for the time being on gold discoveries by Europeans on the Witwatersrand during the nineteenth century, we find many stories of gold finds dating back to long before the official discovery in 1886. Not many of these find support in the written archives, though. A Dutch hunter, Karel Kruger, is purported to have found gold on the Witwatersrand while on an expedition in 1834, and to have taken some samples back to Cape Town. Two years later, on his return to the interior to hunt and follow-up on his gold find, he and most of his party were massacred by tribesmen close to where Potchefstroom stands today.

 

For a long time now, and more so in recent months, the growing concern about the phasing out of the current Chamber of Mines certificates in Rock Engineering has raised some eyebrows, with the registration cut-off of 2015 and examination deadline of 2018. If was with new flair and urgency that the 2015-17 SANIRE Council (through the FUTURE EDUCATION portfolio) joined forces with the two other disciplines also affected by this decision (MINE VENTILATION SOCIETY & SOCIETY OF MINE SURVEYORS) to meet the Chamber and highlight concerns on closing the registration for candidates at the end of 2015. This fruitful meeting resulted in the re-opening of the registration for 2016 to allow entry into the current process, pending the outcome of a meeting scheduled with the CEO of the Chamber, at which the 2018 deadline will be again discussed.

This meeting yielded an extension of the deadline for both the registration (Aug 2018) and final exam sitting (Oct 2020) for all three disciplines. It was made clear that as this was the third extension granted, this would also be the last. The permission granted then, of course, comes on top of specific barriers that need to be overcome prior to 2020 in order to ensure, firstly, a sustainable solution to a qualification going from 2020 and beyond, and secondly, a seamless transition from the current system to the new.

The development of the new qualification in Rock Engineering will also see some changes to designation(s). In future, the now-known ‘Rock Engineer’ will be called a ‘Geotechnical Engineer’. This is in line with international designations, as currently only South Africa uses the term ‘Rock Engineer’. This will also fit into the understanding in Civil Engineering of applying knowledge and engineering to natural sand and rock environments.

A schematic is presented below to allow a ‘quick pic view’ of the timelines for the phasing out and in of the various “qualifications”.

futed

The registration for the process is open until Dec 2018. This will allow for six (6) more open sittings under the current system. Once the registration process has closed, the candidates in the pipeline have four (4) more attempts available to obtain the certificates, after which the new qualification needs to be completed. People entering the discipline during 2019 and later would need to complete the qualification ensuring a pipeline of qualifications when the Chamber’s current window of opportunity is closed in 2020. This applies to both the strata and rock engineering certificates.

Observer – The Level 3 qualification for Observer in Hard Rock has been registered with the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO). This is required by people working as observers in the Hard Rock environments. (*Not indicated in the schematic).

CoM Strata Control Certificate – Three Level 4 qualifications (Strata Control for Hard Rock, Massive Mining, and Coal) has been registered with QCTO, with a fourth qualification (Surface) pending. All strata control officers would need the new qualification for 2021 and beyond.

CoM Rock Engineering Certificate – In order to practise as a geotechnical engineer (pending approval of the proposed legislation changes), one would need to be in possession of the current CoM certificate (either one of the four) obtained at the latest during the 2020 October examination, or be registered at either ECSA or the Natural Science Council (with work experience on the type of mining), or lastly, be in possession of the Level 6 QCTO qualification.

As the Competence certificates from Chamber will be discontinued, the need for legislation updates and reviews are under way. As mentioned in the schematic, the proposed legislation changes will then allow practitioners three options to legally apply their services at a mine. These routes are – registered professional through either the Engineering Council or Natural Science Council, the current CoM certificate, or the new qualification, if and when available.

The advice from Council would be to get yourself into the system, prepare with due diligence and complete the certification as soon as practically possible. If you are planning to wait for the new format of acknowledgement, don’t. If you are planning to pass the last sitting, change your timelines. Never leave your studies to the last minute. Set your goals straight and meet your target. Call is Call.

“Anything less than a conscious decision to the important will lead to a subconscious decision to the unimportant” – Stephan R Cowey

One of the barriers that would also need to be overcome is that of finding candidates who could assist in the development of the Level 6 qualification and assessment tools. As Chamber has a record of past papers and SANIRE has a well-accepted curriculum and set of learning material, packaging this into the new format shouldn’t be an issue. However, the involvement of so many other entities (SANIRE, CHE, MQA, QCTO, COM) results in long lead times between approvals of various milestones along the way for registration of learnerships.

The second would then obviously be service providers to the candidates for presenting the qualification. As we are led to believe that the process is relatively easy, SANIRE (Future Education) would like to urge potential service provider to get in contact and get their company names on the list, so that when the process of registering the providers starts, they can be informed.

For any enquiries or getting your name on the volunteer list or providers seeking assistance, please contact the portfolio holder Jannie Maritz (jannie.maritz@up.ac.za). The process is related to all levels (Levels 3, 4 and 6 <when these realise>).