Congratulations to Charlotte and Vlam. At 8:45 on Saturday morning small baby Kyle was born. From the SANIRE council we would like to congratulate Charlotte and Vlam with the new member to their family.

 Kyle 2

During May, Sanire council members attended Eurock 2012, the International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM) symposium held in Stockholm.

The Eurock 2012 symposium was attended by some 360 participants from 33 countries, with more than 150 oral and poster presentations.
The ISRM has grown rapidly and has reached an all-time high with 6 783 members from all over the world. The members are mainly centred in the 49 national groups, of which 40 were present in Stockholm.
Although the programme was very busy, with various presentations by the authors of papers and the ISRM commissions, there was some time to visit the sights of Stockholm.

2012Eurock1 The ISRM awarded the Roche medal for the best PhD thesis worldwide during the Stockholm conference. South African Dr Bryan Watson was the runner-up.
2012Eurostock2 The ISRM also commemorated its 50th anniversary at Eurock 2012, with the launch of a timeline presented in six posters and a book describing the activities of the society over the past 50 years.
2012Eurostock3 Several South Africans and former South Africans presented at the Stockholm Conference. Here, Michael du Plessis from Lonmin presents his paper on crush pillars in the Bushveld complex, part of the work for his upcoming PhD thesis.
 2012Eurostock4  Some representatives of sunny South Africa brave -5°C to try an ice cold cocktail at the world-famous Ice Bar in Stockholm.
 2012Eurostock5  The Swedish Rock Engineering Research Foundation hosted a memorable gala dinner in the Vasa Museum.
2012Eurostock6 Sanire President Les Gardner (far right) represented South Africa during the voting for the 2014 ISRM international conference. Japan won the vote narrowly.

Meetings hosted

The ISRM symposium also hosted the annual ISRM Council and Board meetings, where Les Gardner represented the South Africa national group as Sanire President and Jacques Lucas represented the Africa region in his role as Vice-President: Africa.

Seismicity in the Witwatersrand BasinMonitoring, Mechanisms and Mitigation Strategies in Perspective

This research paper traces the history of the approach to rockbursts and seismicity during the 120 year history of mining in the basin.


 Dear SANIRE Member, we are apologizing for any problems being experienced during the download process, but we are experiencing very large download volumes. Be patient and try again. When successful downloading please check the following:

Install Paper 1 Material

o   Download the Installer file from the website
o   Double click of the Installer and allow it to install the information on your computer
o   When done, the Installer will create an Icon on your desktop that reads 'Rock Mechanics Theory', use this icon to open the document. You do not need to open any other files, but work through the links provided in this document.

Links within the document

o   When you click on a link that is an attachment, the file will open in a separate document, that can be closed again when done.
o   When you click on a link within the document, it will move to the linked page. If you want to return to where you were before you followed the link, click on the small return buttons provided at the top and bottom of each page.

If the material do not open or links to documents and attachments do not work, do the following:

o   Make sure you are using the latest acrobat reader (version 9 or later). If not, download and install it.
o   Ensure you are not running Fox software to read and edit pdf files, as links will not work in this version of the software. If you have fox installed, change the default reader program for pdf documents from Fox to Acrobat Reader by:

·       Right-click on any pdf document in explorer
·       Select always open with
·       Select change to Acrobat

o   Do not move any files from the directories to which the files were installed and do not change any file names, as links will then not work.

If you experience any other problems please report it to SANIRE so that the problems can be solved.

moshRock related safety is a major issue. The Chamber of Mines' Mine Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) initiative is helping to address it. Find out more by reading on.

In 2003, representatives of the South African Mining industry - employers, labour unions and government - set historic and significant milestones for health and safety, to be reached by 2013, en route to zero harm for all employees.

The Chamber of Mines realised that the milestones, let alone the targets, would not easily be met without significant effort on the part of mines. Therefore the Chamber of Mines Learning Hub was established and the Mine Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) process of adoption of leading practices (purposely not referred to as best practice) in the industry was established in 2008. The basis of the MOSH initiative is that excellent practices exist in the industry. Instead of each mine reinventing a practice, it would be quicker to find and document, and then share and adopt the practice with everyone in the industry.

The MOSH process involves identifying practices in the mining industry that are making a significant difference in health and safety on mines.

The mine that is using an identified leading practice is referred to as the source mine and the practice is documented there, including their approach to leadership behaviour (how leaders behave to reinforce desired behaviour or correct incorrect behaviour) and behavioural communications (how communications have been used to encourage the desired behaviours).

saimmlogo2The Bushveld platinum group metal deposits are two distinct, shallow-dipping stratiform tabular ore bodies which strike for many hundreds of kilometres. Mining is extensive, with depths ranging from close-to-surface to 2300 m. The mining method is a variation of planar open stoping. Pillars are widely employed to support the open stopes. In the deeper levels, in-stope pillars are required to fail in a stable manner soon after being cut, and the residual pillar strength is used to stabilize the hangingwall. These pillars are commonly known as crush pillars. Little work has been done in the past to determine pillar peak and residual strengths, and pillars have been designed using experience and formulae developed for other hard-rock mines. This has led to over and undersize pillars with consequential loss of ore, pillar bursts and potential collapses. This paper describes a crush pillar design methodology, and provides design charts. Three mining environments were incorporated in the investigations, which included underground and laboratory measurements, analytical solutions, numerical models and back analyses. The results of the study are suitable for the areas where the research was carried out, and may also be applied with caution in other similar environments. Read the full paper here.

We wish all our members a safe and happy festive season, and best wishes for the New Year.  May your New Year be filled with interesting events that take you, your colleagues and families to greater heights of achievement.

Office Closure: 

The SANIRE offices will be closed from 01:00pm on Friday, 23rd December 2011 and reopen on Monday, 16th January 2012

Sanire’s Back to Basics symposium was aimed at showing practically, through the presentation of case studies, how designs on different operations are developed and verified. It addressed the questions that have been raised as to the appropriateness of empirical designs, and rock engineering designs in general, following recent large collapses in the platinum mining industry. Get the lowdown here.

During October, some Sanire members attended the 12th ISRM international symposium in Beijing. The conference was one of the biggest ever, with over a 1000 delegates attending. Read more about this impactful event.

Brown dust gave way to new green leaves at three primary schools on 28 October, thanks to Sanire and Food and Trees for Africa. Take a look at these pictures to see what a difference your institute made.

Medals rewarded the efforts of Sanire achievers at the recent AGM. Congratulations to all of those whose names are mentioned here.

Dear Members ,

You are invited to our combined North West branch meeting and the Portfolio of Evidence mini-symposium on Wednesday, 30 November 2011 at the Western Level Village club.

The program will start at 9h30 and we will finish off with a lunch. A limit of 60 seats to the symposium is available. Please RSVP your attendance to Michelle Rodel at


Program details and directions to the venue will follow.

The ISRM held its Council meeting in Beijing, China, in conjunction with 12th International Congress on Rock Mechanics, organised by the ISRM National Groups of China and Singapore. 45 of the 48 National Groups were either present or represented. The Council was also attended by Past Presidents Prof. Ted Brown, Prof. John Franklin and Prof. Sunshuke Sakurai, the chairmen of the ISRM Commissions, representatives of the IAEG, the IGS and the ITA and the candidates to the election for Vice President 2011-2015. Read the full article

By the end of September 2011, 97 mine workers lost their lives and 2 055 were injured on South African mines. In the third quarter, a total of 36 fatal accidents and 802 injuries were reported. Gold mines claimed 14 lives followed by platinum and other mines which claimed 11 and eight lives respectively. Coal mines reported three fatal accidents. Injuries followed a similar trend with more injuries being reported from the gold mining sector. Read the full article.

SAIMM and SANIRE are hosting the

2nd Southern Hemisphere International

Rock Mechanics Symposium


The first Southern Hemisphere International Rock Mechanics Symposium (SHIRMS) was held in October 2006 in Perth. This covered a wide range of topics in rock mechanics and proved to be very successful. The 2nd SHIRMS is to be held in South Africa during 2012 and promises to follow in the same tradition. The Symposium will be combined with the planned South African Rock Engineering Symposium (SARES 2012). Download SHIRMS 2012


Dear SANIRE member,

Please take note of the helpline that will be made available during the Strata Control and Rock Engineering COM examinations.  The helpline will only assist with the distribution of examination papers (where required) and not with technical enquiries.


Four new members have been elected to the SANIRE Council. They are Dave Arnold, Ephraim Mkhize, Jaco le Roux and Yolande Jooste. Read more about each of them and how they plan to make your Sanire membership even more valuable.

Mine seismology research is in need of resuscitation. Aleksander J. Mendecki, Chairman of the Institute of Mine Seismology explains how the institute, formed last year in South Africa and Australia, plans to nurse it back to health.

A combination of factors mean that the Tohoku earthquake was about the worst expected anywhere on earth. The size of the brittle tectonic plates, their thickness of around 10-40 km and the fact that they float above a much more ductile mantle limits the cumulative strain energy that may be stored in any given region before failure occurs.

SANIRE is continuously being requested to distribute information on courses, new products and modeling software. How would you like to receive this information? Please vote at the poll.