Full Name: Matthew Gary Barnard
Position: Shaft Rock Engineer
Company/Organisations: Anglo American Platinum, Union Mine (Spud Shaft)
Date and Place of Birth: 30th of March 1987, Johannesburg
Education: BSc Geology & Geography (UJ); Honours Geology (UJ); COMSCC; COMRMC
First Job: Rock Engineering Trainee (Anglo American Platinum)
Personal Best Achievement/s: Firstly, my recent marriage to my incredible wife; thereafter comes the various awards that I received during University, most notably achieving Cum Laude, one of the ‘Top 10 Students in the Faculty of Science’ and the ‘Best 4th Year Student Award’ from the GSSA during my Honours Year.
Philosophy of Life: “Take every challenge in your stride. If you think you have it bad, someone else has it worse.”
Favourite Food/Drink: Sushi and red meat.
Favourite Sport: Love watching all sports; golf when it comes to playing a sport.
1. How did your career in the mining industry begin and where are you now?
It all started with getting a bursary from Anglo American Platinum at the end of my matric year. Did an exposure year in 2006, and here we are now, almost a decade later; honours degree in Geology and Rock Eng ticket under the belt; Shaft Rock Engineer at AAP Union Mine, Spud Shaft.
2. Why did you choose Rock Engineering?
Funny story there, actually. Second round of bursary interviews in 2005, the first question that the panel asked me was “Why did you choose Rock Engineering?”; fair question, although I was under the impression that I was there for a Geology Bursary. During the exposure year, my passion developed for the Rock Engineering discipline, and has just grown since then; although I will always be a keen Geologist at heart.
3. Please tell us a bit more about your career journey?
Well to summarise, I have been with Anglo American Platinum for the past decade. My entire post-matric life started with receiving the bursary at the end of 2005, with the condition of first completing the practical exposure year prior to commencing with tertiary studies. Completed my Geology Bachelors and Honours at the University of Johannesburg from 2007 to 2010. From there, I’ve gone from a Rock Engineering Trainee to Shaft Rock Engineer in the past four-and-a-half years. During this time I have worked at a number of the mines within the group, both conventional and trackless.
“Take every challenge in your stride. If you think you have it bad, someone else has it worse.”
4. In your opinion, what are some of the challenges that the fraternity is currently facing?
To be honest, operationally, I think that the biggest problem we are facing as the Rock Engineering fraternity is the poor compliance with standards and procedures; and the associated shift from a design to more of a policing function, resulting from the pressure from the DMR.
5. What are some areas that you believe will become of increasing importance in the near future of the rock engineering discipline?
With the ever-increasing depth of platinum mining, I believe that understanding the seismic nature of the rock mass and the associated design process will become more important than possibly it has been in the past. And personally I believe that the development systems and support units that are less operator-dependant will be required in order to combat non-compliance.
6. What advice would you offer people aspiring to be in your position?
Both the journey and the destination are tough, but the reward of knowing that you make a difference in preserving health and safety is well worth it. It is not an easy career, but nothing worth doing ever is; so persevere and do it.
7. Who is your role model/mentor?
Personally, my father has always been my role model and mentor. In my professional life, Graham Priest and Linden Skorpen have been great mentors to me; assisting me to grow within the industry and Rock Engineering discipline.
8. What is the best advice you have ever been given?
A wise man once taught me the premise of ‘stop’, which is vital as an operational Rock Engineer. “(1) Is it to standard? If not, stop; if so, proceed to (2), is it safe? If not, stop; if so, continue.” It may seem obvious, but this advice has aided me in staying firm on health and safety decisions.
In December 1866, on a farm close to the Orange River to the northwest of Hopetown, the Jacobs children were playing a game of ‘klip-klip’ with pebbles, when one pebble caught the eye of a visiting neighbour, Schalk van Niekerk. At the behest of his mother, the young finder, Erasmus Jacobs, gave the stone to van Niekerk who was an amateur collector of semi-precious stones. The stone was sent to the nearest geologist, Dr William Atherstone in Grahamstown, who identified it as a twenty-one carat diamond. From South Africa it was sent to London where it was valued at £500 and named the ‘Eureka’.
Despite the assertions of two very learned and eminently distinguished London geologists, one of whom actually visited the region, that the geological character of the area was not conducive for the presence of diamonds, two years later in March 1869, van Niekerk swapped some livestock with a local shepherd in exchange for an eighty-three carat stone. It was a white diamond, which he immediately sold to traders, Lilienfeld Brothers, in Hopetown for £11 000. Once again, the stone was sent to London for cutting where it was named the ‘Star of Africa’ and sold for £30 000.
This opened the flood-gates, and the initial influx of Boer diggers was soon swelled by others who poured into the country from around the world. At first, diggings were concentrated in the gravels on the banks of the Orange and Vaal rivers and on the slopes of adjacent koppies. Despite the fact that diamonds had been shown in 1813 to be comprised of carbon by Humphry Davy (the same English scientist who invented the miner’s safety lamp), the sources of diamonds worldwide (predominantly India and Brazil before the South African discovery) were exclusively alluvial, and their igneous genesis was not fully appreciated until the weathered diamond-bearing detritus on South African koppies gave way to the underlying blue ground, which was only then also found to contain, and in fact to be the source of, diamonds.
The hard Kimberlites of the volcanic pipes were, of course, much less amenable to being worked by individuals or groups of individuals with picks and shovels, and led to the formation of syndicates and companies to raise the necessary capital for their increasingly expensive exploitation. This in turn gave rise to the emergence of the first South African entrepreneurs. Only a handful of the many thousands of hopeful people who flooded to the diamond fields in search of fortune rose to the top of the competitive pile, and only some of those went on to become household names in the South African lexicon: Joseph Benjamin Robinson, Charles Dunnel Rudd, Barnett Isaacs Barnato, and Cecil John Rhodes, to name a few. These men made their names and initial fortunes on the diamond fields, and in the process gained the expertise, generated the wealth and accumulated or gained access to much of the capital that was later required to acquire and develop deep level mining properties when gold was discovered on the Witwatersrand. Many of them went on to become leading lights in the development of the Rand, and indeed in the development of South and Southern Africa as a whole, earning themselves the nickname of ‘Randlords’.
Much of the more recent development of rock mechanics in the South Africa is usually traced to the aftermath of the Coalbrook disaster in 1961. While this was undoubtedly a watershed event which heralded the very beginnings of our Institute, and lent much impetus to the modern, structured variety of rock mechanics that we are so familiar with in the country today, it was by no means the start of people applying their minds to problems associated with the stability of mining excavations and the safety of workmen. Nobody who has seen photographs of the early diamond diggings on the Colesburg Koppie can fail to be struck by the precariousness of the vertical shear faces cut into weathered kimberlite, sometimes to enormous heights, representing the boundaries of individual rectangular claim holdings. And nobody who has experienced and been frightened by the surface manifestations of strong mine tremors can be unaware that something untoward is happening in the ground beneath their feet.
The name Gardener Williams crops up often in the story of both the diamond fields and the gold fields. He was an American mining engineer who advised Rhodes on the need to amalgamate all of the diamond claims on the Colesburg Koppie at Kimberley so that the individual mines could be worked, managed and coherently planned as single entities to put an end to and prevent instability and the hugely unsafe practices associated with individual claims undercutting each other. In a sense, Gardener Williams may be considered as South Africa’s very first far-sighted rock mechanics engineer. Rhodes wisely employed him to manage De Beers.
|Diamond miners in Kimberley||Cecil John Rhodes|
| This story was written by Dave Arnold.
Please feel free to contact Dave with any historical stories for the next edition.
The Division of Mining and Geotechnical Engineering at Luleå University of Technology will arrange Ground Support 2016, the 8th International Symposium on Ground Support in Mining and Underground Construction, in Luleå, Sweden, September 12 – 14, 2016. Venue: Kulturens Hus – Conference & Congress.
This conference series has been hosted by many countries and continents throughout the years:
1st 1983 in Abisko, Sweden
2nd 1992 in Sudbury, Canada
3rd 1997 in Lillehammer, Norway
4th 1999 in Kalgoorlie, Australia
5th 2004 in Perth, Australia
6th 2008 in Cape Town, South Africa
7th 2013 in Perth, Australia
More information can be found at http://groundsupport2016.com/
SANIRE Free State is hosting a Rock Engineering Symposium:
Unpacking the Aspects
At Glenburn Lodge, Muldersdrift on 17 September 2015
Sanire members - R1250
Non-members - R1500
Exhibition space - R5000
Closing date for registrations: 28th August 2015
Wilma Muller - 057 904 6498
Alida Kleinhans - 057 904 6066
For registration click HERE
To see the program click HERE
The Strata Control Practical Exam will be hosted by Atlatsa Resources – Bokoni Platinum Mine on behalf of the Eastern Bushveld SANIRE Branch on the 26th August 2015. Please note that it is only for Eastern Bushveld members.
For more information please click HERE
On behalf of the Czech National Group of the International Society for Rock Mechanics, we have the honour to invite you to attend the European Symposium EUROCK 2017 to be held on 13-15 June 2017 in Ostrava, Czech Republic. The Symposium is jointly organized by the Czech National Group of ISRM and the Institute of Geonics of the Czech Academy of Sciences.
The motto of the EUROCK 2017 is Human Activity in Rock Mass.
You can find more information in the first announcement : http://www.eurock2017.cz/pdf/EUROCK_2017_First_Announcement.pdf
We are looking forward to see you in Ostrava.
Chairman of the Symposium
At the end of every year Sanire holds the AGM where an overview is given with regard to the various portfolios (areas) SANIRE is involved in across industry. Furthermore, the AGM provides a platform where people are recognised and awarded for excellent work (Practitioner of the year), Technical contributions (Salamon and Ortlepp awards) or for exceptional achievements in the bi-annual exams.
The AGM is typically held in the mornings followed by a late lunch. As an alternative to this, it was suggested that the event is split into a meeting where the portfolios will be discussed (Sanire members present) followed by a formal dinner and prize giving where the spouses will also be welcome.
We, however, require your input with regard to your preference.
1. AGM morning session followed by Lunch
2. AGM followed by formal dinner and prize giving where the spouses are also present
Please send your preference to Joma before 31 May: email@example.com
Please note that the registration for the Chamber of Mines Rock Mechanics practical closes 24 July 2015. To register please follow this link http://www.comcert.co.za/ and send proof of payment to Colin.
Please follow the link to the latest bi-annual 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 1_Issue 2_July_2015 (4.03 MB)