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”.
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). The process is related to all levels (Levels 3, 4 and 6 <when these realise>).
28–30 March 2017 | Perth, Western Australia
Underground mining continues to progress at deeper levels and industry is now extracting mineral reserves at depth that previously would have been considered unmineable. Deep mining is a very technical and challenging environment. A high level of understanding and technically sound approaches are essential to satisfactorily deal with the significant geotechnical (from squeezing ground to rockbursts) and logistical (transportation, ventilation) issues of deep and high stress mining, and best practice and innovation need to be implemented.
The Australian Centre for Geomechanics looks forward to hosting the Eighth International Conference on Deep and High Stress Mining in Perth in March 2017. This follows the previous conferences held in Sudbury, 2014; Perth, 2012; Santiago, 2010; Perth, 2007; Quebec City, 2006; Johannesburg, 2004; and Perth, 2002.
ABSTRACTS DUE 4 JULY 2016
• Geotechnical and financial risk assessment and
• Numerical and empirical design and analysis
• Case histories (success stories as well as failures)
• Rock mass response to mining (rockbursts and seismicity, squeezing ground)
• Occupational health and safety
• Ground support
CALL FOR ABSTRACTS
Intending authors are requested to prepare and submit their abstracts before 4 July 2016. Abstracts should be limited to less than 500 words. Abstracts for Deep Mining 2017 can be submitted online at www.deepmining2017.com/authors or via email to email@example.com
Planning for the 50th US Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium in Houston from 26-29 June 2016 is well underway. Nearly 650 abstracts were accepted for the symposium. The abstracts suggest there will be very strong oral and poster sessions, spanning petroleum, civil, mining, and interdisciplinary topics in rock mechanics and geomechanics. Continuing the trend from the last few years, a very large number of abstracts and sessions revolve around "interdisciplinary" topics that are of interest to civil, mining, and petroleum geomechanics professionals and showcase the unique value of the symposium to ARMA members.
In addition to the strong technical program, ARMA will host six geomechanics-related workshops and two short courses. Workshops will be held on Hydraulic Fracturing, Geomechanics in Unconventionals, Laboratory Geomechanics Testing, Reservoir Engineering Applied to Geothermal, Microseismic Geomechanics, and an ARMA Future Leaders-Student workshop. Short courses will be taught on Shale Gas Geoengineering and Modeling of Coupled-Hydro-Mechanical Deformation and Fracturing.
The Symposium will feature the first ARMA Distinguished Lecture, offered by Richard Goodman. The MTS Lecture will be presented by Peter Kaiser; William Ellsworth, Jean-Claude Roegiers, and Charles Fairhurst will be featured in keynote lectures. Technical tours will highlight Houston's petroleum history (tours to Spindletop and the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig) and geology (tour of active faults in the Houston area).
The symposium will be held at the Westin Galleria Hotel and Conference Center. Holding the meeting in Houston will allow a larger number of petroleum-related geomechanics professionals to attend and broaden the interaction between the rock mechanics/ geomechanics disciplines and industries.
Submitted by David Yale, Symposium Chair
For information on the symposium, abstract submission, accommodations, and sponsorship, visit: www.armasymposium.org
26 - 29 June 2016
23 - 26 June 2016
Short Course Dates:
25- 26 June 2016
Westin Galleria, Houston, Texas, USA
Early Registration Deadline:
26 May 2016
American Rock Mechanics Association
600 Woodland Terrace
Alexandria, VA 22302
The Strata Control Practical Assessment will be hosted at Northam Platinum Mine (Zondereinde Division) on 18 February 2016. Only twenty candidates will be allowed due to safety precautions. For further information, please contact Sifuso Mashile at Sifiso.Mashile@norplats.co.za
VENUE AND DATES DETAILS
SCHEDULE OF THE DAY
06:00 am– Arrival of all candidates at Northam Platinum Zondereinde Division
07:00 am– Visitors induction
07:30 am– Proceed to underground
11:00 am– Return from underground
11:30 am– Oral exam will commence
Examiners to arrive at 10:00 am
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
Northam Platinum requires the following as PPE:
• Overall with reflectors (if no reflectors a reflective vest must be worn)
• Gum Boots
• Hard hat
• Cap lamp belt
• Ear Plugs
• Safety Glasses
• Knee guards (not compulsory)
All candidates to bring their OWN PPE. No PPE will be provided.
Please follow the link to the latest quarterly newsletter. Stories and articles are always welcome. Please email Paul Couto at Paul.Couto@Harmony.co.zafor enquiries.
Download the PDF version: pdf SANIRE Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 1 January 2016 (3.95 MB)
The Chamber of Mines certificates will be phased out on 31 December 2018. These certificates will be replaced by new certificates that will be issued by the QCTO and/or other educational institution. The last entry for new candidates into the system would have been 31 August 2015, but because the assessment tools of the QCTO are not ready this date was postponed until 31 March 2016 for the May 2016 examination.
The last entry for the new candidates will now be 31 August 2016, hopefully the QCTO assessment tools will be ready for the October 2016 examinations as the final entry date cannot be changed.
It must be noted that the final phasing out date of 31 December 2018 for all certificates is final.
The SANIRE AGM was held on the 27th November 2015 at the Ruimsig Country Club. The new format of the AGM comprised of the formalities in the morning followed by lunch and ended off with a round of golf. The AGM provided an overview of the SANIRE strategy for the next 2-5 years. Recognition to outstanding commitment, contribution and achievement through the various award categories was also presented. The AGM was well attended and will hopefully continue to do so in the future. A special thanks must be given to Carol Hunter for all her hard work in making the AGM possible.
|2016 SANIRE NATIONAL COUNCIL|
|Michael du Plessis:||President, Awards; RETC|
|William Joughin||ISRM, SAIMM, Eng works, AfriRock|
|Les Gardner||RE Legislation, RETC, SIMRAC|
|Friedemann Essrich||Treasurer, MQA, QCTO, L1-L4 training|
|Jannie Maritz||Future education (RE ticket)|
|Yolande Jooste||Exams committee, Video lectures|
|Dave Neal||Membership, RETC|
|Hein Greef / Jannie Maritz||Young members|
|Jaco le Roux||Website|
|Robert Armstrong||Organisation Liaison|
|Dave Arnold||History, RETC|
|Naomi Ayres||Western Limb|
|Andreas Esterhuizen||Eastern Limb|
|Glen McGavigan||Surface Mining|
|Quintin Grix||North West|
|Best student Award - Best student at Pretoria University||Kara Lombard|
|Best student Award – Best student at Wits University||Lunghile Ngobeni|
|Candidate Award - Highest mark > 75% for SCO Theory||85% -Bennett Macuacua|
|Candidate Award - Highest mark > 75% for Paper 1||82% - Gift Thantsha|
|Candidate Award - Highest mark > 75% for Paper 2||88% - Jennifer Pilkington|
|Candidate Award - Highest mark > 75% for Paper 3.1||76% - Moses Modika|
|Practitioner of the Year Award - Rock Engineer, Strata Control Officer or Observer who contributed significantly outside of what is required by role||
Otto van der Merwe
|Practitioner of the Year Award
Otto van der Merwe (Left)
Michael du Plessis (Right)
|Candidate Award - Highest mark
> 75% for SCO Theory
Bennett Macuacua (Left)
Michael du Plessis (Right)
|Candidate Award - Highest mark
> 75% for Paper 3.1
Moses Modika (Left)
Michael du Plessis (Right)
|Lifetime Achievement Award - Honorary Membership - Person who made significant contribution - Non technical||Apie van Rensburg|
Lifetime Achievement Award - Honorary Fellowship - Person who made significant contribution - Technical or other
|Salamon Award - Person with best (also significant) refereed technical publication||
P.J le Roux and Dick Stacey
Measurement and prediction of dilution in a South African gold mine operating with open stoping mining methods
|Ortlepp Award - Person with best (also significant) refereed technical publication (less than 35 years old)||
The influence of regional structures associated with the Bushveld Complex on the mechanism driving the behaviour of the UG2 hangingwall beam and in-stope pillars at Lonmin’s Marikana Operations.
|Michael du Plessis, Prof Dick Stacey, Dr Jaco le Roux||Apie van Rensburg|
|Alida Hartzenburg and Michael du Plessis||Michael du Plessis and Kim Roberts|
At the AGM held in November 2015, we recognised some of our members for their extraordinary achievements and contributions to our fraternity through the grants of awards in various categories. As Rock Engineers, just doing our jobs, we do not always realise the influence we have on those around us. Through mentoring, we develop the skills of our colleagues and we instil a culture of caring, self-worth, ambition and recognition.
In the workplace as technical specialists, we are responsible for ensuring the safety of thousands of workers through our routine monitoring. Our selfless efforts are not always recognised and typically the areas where we make the largest contributions are celebrated by the industry at events such as MineSafe. However, the efforts of the Rock Engineers and the Rock Engineering Departments are not credited for their interventions which contribute to a safer working environment. As a service department, we do not contribute to the bottom line, but we can contribute strongly through our dedication and involvement. In December, the Principal Inspector of the North-West region issued an instruction for all mines in the Rustenburg area to stop their operations and instructed that all areas be assessed by Rock Engineers to ensure that our workers do not work unsafely or become exposed to an unsafe working environment during the “silly season”. The DMR, therefore, recognises the skills we have in the field of strata control.
There are many factors influencing the behaviour of the workers at the face. We can, however, influence their behaviour through ongoing coaching, in the workplace, at the face. Our contributions can only add value to processes such as the entry examination and TARP, which is aimed at creating a safe working environment. We should realise that our actions will assist in upskilling our workers at the face. We can, therefore, make a difference by caring and sharing. It goes beyond celebrating fall-of-ground fatality free shifts or setting new records.
Michael du Plessis - SANIRE President
Ebenezer Gordon Holder
24 May 1956 - 07 December 2015
I have known Gordon for many years, and worked with him between 1996 and 2002, when I was a member of the Rock Engineering Department at Anglo Platinum at that time. He was the Chief Rock Mechanics Officer. Gordon spent most of his career at Anglo Platinum, and because in the early years there were only a few Rock Engineers employed, he had an intimate knowledge about all the producing shafts.
His time keeping was exemplary, if not extreme – he was always the first to arrive in the office in the mornings and the last to leave in the afternoons. When asked why, his answer was perhaps unsurprising: “My job is my life”.
Another part of Gordon’s work which deserves mentioning was his record keeping and I never saw anyone else doing the same. For underground visits, Gordon had small A6 black books where he wrote what he observed and recommended on any particular day. He would then transfer some important notes from the A6 underground books into his A4 black books which he kept for his daily, planning and various meetings notes. Furthermore, he kept both his book formats bound in clearly labelled volumes. So, if you asked him what he did on any specific day, month and year, Gordon would look into his Register and check which volume and book to open, and he would tell you exactly what he did on that day. All these volumes of books took up most of his vast filing cabinet.
Gordon had very good observation and interpretation skills underground, given his knowledge and long experience. He loved to coach young and upcoming Rock Engineers – like me at that time – and his advice was very valuable. Not only was he a good Rock Engineer, Gordon’s strength was also in his very broad general knowledge regarding mining, engineering, stores management and industrial relations, to mention a few.
Another incredible aspect of Gordon’s life was his ability to speak the Setswana language fluently. He often spoke Setswana with black colleagues in the office or underground and one could see how much they appreciated that.
Gordon left Anglo Platinum in 2009 to spend his time elsewhere; Samancor chrome mines being the last place.
After his sudden passing, Gordon left behind his wife Jenny and his sister Fiona. Gordon’s plans were to retire and move with his wife to the Western Cape where his sister lives. Sadly, Gordon could not fulfil his dream.
By Petr Miovsky
Rock Engineering Manager – Impala Platinum