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ObedRockTalk had a chat to Obed Masinge, who started his career in mining and rock engineering in June 2006 and is the chairman of SANIRE’s recently launched Nothern Cape branch. Read on to find out what he had to say.

1. What is your educational background?

I studied geology and obtained a National Diploma and BTech, for which I majored in engineering geology and hydrogeology.

2. How did your career in the mining industry begin and where are you now?

I was recruited as a trainee in the Rock Engineering Cadet Programme at Anglo Platinum mines (Rustenburg), and rotated around Angloplats’s underground mines for both the UG2 and Merensky reef mining environment. Before joining the company, I was involved in hydrogeological and geophysical exploration programmes at the Department of Water Affairs.

3. What got you into Rock Engineering?

The opportunity to expand in rock mechanics. Rock engineering integrates geophysics methods (seismic monitoring and ground penetrating radar), hydrogeological studies and engineering geology in investigating and addressing the rock-related challenges that are often encountered in both underground and surface mines. I saw my background in geology as giving me an opportunity to advance my engineering geology career, specialising in rock mechanics.

4. You initially worked as a strata control officer at a shallow depth scattered platinum mining operation in the North West. What are some of the triumphs and challenges that you experienced in this environment?

Challenges in this mining environment were both in ground control and in human resources.

Mining there is in close proximity to potholes, which are, in most cases, associated with curved domal and shallow dipping structures. These areas result in problematic hanging wall conditions. The successful introduction of trigger-action response, which was referred to as the ABS system, proved successful in timeously addressing the conditions encountered. Compliance to layout was often a challenge with regard to pillar cutting.

5. You then left for the Northern Cape to take up a similar role in a relatively new operation, with shafting sinking and horizontal development only currently taking place. Why the move and how do you compare the two environments?

With the development of a new mine, data collection, designs, and the compilation of management documentations are essential. This move was an opportunity for me to be involved in risk assessments, compilation of codes of practice and standard operating procedures. In terms of geological differences, manganese ore is located in the sedimentary basin, with the mode of occurrence of the layers being inter-bedded, while the UG2 and Merensky reef are mined within the igneous rocks of the Rustenburg layered suite. The thicker manganese ore makes higher mining width possible, up to 5 m, with the bord and pillar mining method being applied.

6. What are some of the interesting aspects of such a new operation? Are the knowledge and experiences gained from an old operation adequate?

The abrupt changes in lithological units and conditions bring challenges and I guess out of such challenges come learning and a different approach towards mining and support. With such conditions, geotechnical core drilling and logging would be a requirement, to ensure that the planned mining faces will mine through competent rock masses. The knowledge and experience I gained in the platinum and chrome environment was adequate, although the structural geology and nature of rock masses are different. The conditions of mining compare to those for UG2 sections and MG chromitite bands, where hanging wall beam failure is often the mode of failure. Ongoing structural mapping and core-logging is essential in defining the rock mass behaviour and weak parting planes in the hanging wall of the planned mining faces.

7. Please tell us a bit more about the new Northern Cape branch.

The members or potential members of the branch are rock engineering specialists and rock support suppliers. The rock engineering specialists offering technical services to manganese, diamond, iron ore, zinc, lead, copper and silver mines in the Northern Cape region are likely to be members.
The branch is essential, as there is evidence that some of the SANIRE members who had affiliated in the gold and/or platinum branches found it difficult to participate in activities because of distance and work constraints. Although the distance between operations still appears to be an issue, proper planning and timeous communication will improve matters.

8. How has the Branch been received by the local practitioners and other stakeholders?

The branch has been well received by the rock engineering specialists in the region. Nineteen members attended the first meeting. The specialists who could not be part of the first meeting responded by email, indicating their excitement about the initiative.

9. What is your vision for the branch? What do you want to see happening or changing in the Northern Cape during your time?

The branch is fairly new and has few members who are located far apart.

In terms of participating in the SANIRE activities, my intention is to offer the necessary support to the branch to ensure that the organisational goals and objectives are realised.

Competency assessment and evaluations with regard to strata control and rock mechanics should be formalised in the region. Rock engineering specialists in similar types of mining from other countries should be consulted and be invited to give presentations on geotechnical aspects.

Training and development in consultation with the service providers will be offered to the rock engineering specialists in the region at venues in the region. Building competency and confidence will result in younger Rock Engineering specialists being given a platform to give presentations.

10. You are young and energetic with a young branch to take care of. Where do you see yourself in the medium term?

My current goal is to pass the rock mechanics practical exams, qualify as a rock mechanics practitioner and manage a rock engineering department. I will be blending my geology and rock mechanics studies with post-graduate business management studies to enable me to add value in mineral resource management as well as SANIRE.

11. In your opinion, what are some of the challenges identified in the rock engineering discipline in your region?

Ground conditions are challenging, especially when mining exposes the contact planes between hematite (Iron rich) and brunite lutite (manganese rich) strata. The sharp contact between different lithological units continues to provide hanging wall failure points. As the underground operations are close to surface, ground water resources or aquifers are mostly saturated, and draining into mine openings in close proximity. The occurrence of a dolomitic layer above the mining horizon, which is susceptible to cavities, also plays a role in ground water storage and release in the lower excavations. Development of shafts also proves challenging, especially in the initial stages, because of thick Kalahari sands.

12. In your opinion, what are some of challenges facing young rock engineering practitioners in the region?

The Kalahari basin is not well researched and documented compared with the platinum and gold mining areas. There are few permanently employed experienced practitioners in the region from whom younger practitioners can learn.

13. Who is your role model?

My parents are my role models. From them I have learned that a true captain of life is patient and sticks to the planned objectives, while learning from the undesired outcomes.

14. What is the best advice you have ever been given?

When I started out in rock engineering, I was in my first three months of a Masters degree in mineral resource management. I was advised that starting a career in rock mechanics would require 100% dedication and split attention would result in undesired outcomes in both fields of learning. It was important that I had to concentrate on the practical and theory side of rock mechanics before I deviated into other fields of learning.

15. What advice would you offer people aspiring to be in your position?

The most important thing to remember about learning is that you should never say you have arrived when you obtain a certificate. Rock mechanics requires intense studying and patience. Competence is an ongoing process, not a one-off event. With different mining settings come different challenges and learning.

16. How do you unwind?

I spend time with my lovely family; in most cases listening to music and rarely watching movies. I look forward to watching Kaizer Chiefs matches whenever time allows.

benIn recognition of his concerted effort in service of and contribution to the discipline of rock engineering, Ben Kotze recently received the SANIRE Honorary Life Fellow award from SANIRE. This a fitting way to celebrate the impact made by a man who has dedicated his life to the discipline. Les Gardner’s citation stated clearly what brought him to the point of achieving this accolade. Read more about Ben and his achievements here.

Theunis Johannes Kotze, known to most of us as Ben, was born on 7 May 1940. He spent his early life in Klerksdorp and was educated at Klerksdorp Hoërskool. After matric, he joined Stilfontein Gold Mine as a learner official, and a year later he was awarded a General Mining bursary to study mining engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand.

First exposure to rock engineering

It was during Ben’s final year at Wits that he had his first exposure to formal training in rock mechanics. The course material was presented by Professor Black, who was responsible for introducing the first formal rock mechanics training in a South African institute. As an aside, Roger More O'Ferrall, who was involved with reviewing or marking some of Ben's work during that period, reckons that Ben's handwriting is one of the most difficult he has ever had to decipher!

Following his graduation, Ben did a stint as a shift boss at Stilfontein and then joined the Union Corporation, where he spent considerable time in the group's Study department at Evander, dealing with the rock mechanics problems on the group’s mines in Evander and on the East Rand. One of the most unique of these was the shale footwall heave on the East Rand mines, which, under severe conditions, could lead to stope closures.

(When asked by RockTalk, Ben explained that the Rock Engineering Department at Evander was located at Bracken mine, one of the four there, all of which are now closed down, except for two shafts, known locally as No 7 shaft and No 8 shaft.)

Rock engineering back in the day

Ben’s career had its roots in an era where engineers still used log tables and manual calculators to do their work.  Electronic calculators still lay in the future and the application of elastic theory to the rock mass was still to be proved.  Rock mechanics practitioners still referred to themselves as such and the term "engineer" was still a distant dream, possibly not achievable in one’s lifetime. 

The practitioner’s opinion still only carried the same if not lesser weight than that of a junior manager with scant knowledge of the subject.  He had to work very hard to prove his case. 

When asked to clarify this, Ben added: “I think the difference is that, in those early days, we were still trying to establish the rock engineering science, which is generally accepted today. Today, the practitioner only has to prove himself.”

Ben built a Rock Engineering department

As the work load increased, Ben started signing on staff, which led to the formation of the Group Rock Engineering department located at the now-closed Bracken mine. At this time, Anglogold, General Mining JCI, Rand Mines and Goldfields had Rock Engineering departments.

Eventually, the work load in the Free State also increased to the extent that staff members were placed at the St Helena, Unisel and, later, Beatrix mines. A feature of his leadership and management style is that he wanted only the best people for the department, and did not suffer fools gladly. On a personal note, I think I was one of the people who managed to surprise Ben when, against all expectations, I passed my RMC at the first attempt.

Developing of a support system for stiff and sparsely jointed strata

During this time, Union Corporation opened the first of their four Platinum mines in the Rustenburg area, known as Impala Platinum. Together with the late Dr Neville Cook, Ben was very involved with developing a support system for the "stiff" and sparsely jointed strata of the region, which, if not properly supported had a tendency to collapse massively. With increasing rock engineering activities at Impala, staff members were also placed there, with the first practitioner being the late Nick van Lavieren.

Ben contributed to stope and regional stability in the Bushveld

Ben’s first involvement with the Bushveld occurred when he was invited to visit a very shallow chrome mine (about 50 m below surface) where the pillar system failed and surface subsidence occurred. Based on a back analysis of the pillar failure and using the coal pillar strength formula, Ben discovered that the value of the constant “k” in the formula was +- 1/3 x UCS which is identical to the ratio of the of the k- value for coal pillars (7.2MPa) and the UCS of coal (21 MPa). This was an important discovery and he says he has been using this ratio ever since with great success. For more detail regarding chrome pillar design, Ben recommends a paper entitled ‘A review of the pillar support strategy being followed on chrome mines belonging to the SAMANCOR group’ which was published in a 1993 SANGORM symposium entitled Rock Engineering Problems Related to Hard Rock Mining at Shallow/Intermediate Depth.

Ben recalls, “When Impala was started towards the end of 1968, there was no rock engineering input in the mine design and stoping was started with matpacks as the only support. When the first two stopes reached spans of roughly 90 m, both stopes collapsed. Based on observations, I reached the conclusion that the lower hangingwall beam up to the Bastard Merensky reef collapsed, which the pack support could only support after about 30% compression. This failure is now known as a backbreak and the best strategy to cope with this hazard is to leave in-stope pillars, which was the strategy followed following the initial collapses.

As it turned out, our pillar design was incorrect but due to the presence of considerable solid in the form of potholes, we could mine from surface down to a depth of 150 m for the first four years without any problem. After this period, Impala experienced two massive collapses, the largest one occurring at 4 Shaft Bafokeng South. A large area measuring 600 m x 900 m was involved, with the average depth being 160 m. The hangingwall failure reached up to surface leading to the development of cracks in the mine hospital walls. The fall was bounded on the up dip and down dip side by a fault and a dyke respectively. Stope convergence and the displacement on surface was identical, equalling 30 cms.

Since there was no evidence of pillar scaling or stick failure prior to the collapse, it was concluded that, up to the time of the collapse, the hangingwall loading system remained stiff and the pillars were not overloaded. Once the shear strength of the fault and dyke was exceeded to allow slippage along these structures, creating a soft loading system, the pillars were subjected to the full overburden load, leading to their collapse since they were underdesigned.

Since rigid in-stope pillars imply ever-increasing pillar dimensions, which would become impractical at depths approaching 1 000 m, it was decided to opt for regional pillars to support the overburden to surface and to leave in-stope yielding pillars with constant dimensions to combat the backbreak problems.

A 20 m width for the regional pillars was opted for to conform with a guideline that existed in those days that long pillars with w/h > 10 will not fail and to ensure that no pillar punching of the hanging or footwall will take place.

The issue of regional pillar spacing was investigated in depth and it was concluded that the spacing should preferably be equal to Depth/2, but spacings approaching the depth below surface were still considered to be stable, with a 400 m spacing being the maximum.

After a number of variations the dimensions of the yielding pillars were standardized at 6 m x 3 m. This system of pillar support was successfully practised until recently on all Impala mines.

A paper summarising some of these issues was submitted to the fifth International Congress on Rock Mechanics held in Australia in 1983. It was entitled ‘Strata Control Problems Resulting from Mining at Shallow Depth in the Hard Rock Measures of the South African Bushveld complex’.

Ben built his own computer

The understanding and appreciation for Rock Mechanics changed with the advent of the electric resistance analogue computer, which allowed layouts to be modelled and quantified. Early on in the 70s Ben, together with the late Rex Tucker, built an analogue computer and began doing his own modelling. He has never looked back.

Building the Analogue computer involved, among all the obvious parts such as the front plate, framework and the electrics, the soldiering together of more 20 000 resistors, involving some 500 000 connecting points.

There were no further developments of the analogue computer since, in the 80s, all efforts were focused on the development of digital models such as MINSIM and, more recently, MAP3D.

Ben was a member of the first ever rock mechanics specialists group

In the mid-70s, the mining groups formed a working committee that met under the chairmanship of the Chamber of Mines. As the representative of Union Corporation Limited, Ben became a member of this elite group of individuals, who formed the nucleus of practicing rock mechanics specialists for the principal mining groups. They included David Ortlepp (Rand Mines), Frank Jansen (AAC WDL) and later John Wilson (AAC, OFS), Roger More O'Ferrall (General Mining), Chris de Jong (Gold Fields), Flippie Venter (Anglo Vaal) and Harold Cahnbley (JCI).

The members of that original group of group rock mechanics practitioners, together with scientists of the various research organisations and universities, had to work for years to build the science into what it is today. 

The birth of rock mechanics tickets

He was a founder of the technical certificates as they exist today and was, for many years, one of the examiners. He recalls: “Two of my staff members, the late Sergei Steyn and Nick van Lavieren, approached me with a problem. The problem was that should I get unhappy with them or they get unhappy with the group, they possessed no qualification to prove to another mining group that are qualified to do the job. At one of the regular meetings of the Chamber of Mines sub-committee on rock engineering, I raised the issue and it was subsequently decided to establish the certificate. The certificate numbers of the two practitioners in question are among the first five certificates issued. The original examiners were not required to get the ticket.”

Growth, a raise and retirement

In 1984, General Mining acquired the mining assets of Union Corporation to become General Mining Union Corporation Ltd, more commonly known as Gencor, the remaining assets of which now belong to the Billiton Group. When this process was completed, Ben found himself as the Assistant Group Rock Mechanics Engineer in charge of operations. 

At this stage, the group department had expanded to four regional offices, providing a service to some 43 mines and covering the full spectrum of minerals mined by the Gencor subsidiaries - Gengold, Ingwe, Samancor, Gefco and Impala Platinum. Following Roger More O'Ferrall’s retirement in 1990, Ben took over the role of Group Rock Engineer for Gencor. 

In 1996, however, it was decided to unbundle the Gencor Group into four constituent parts that were destined to go their separate corporate ways. Ben, like many of his engineering colleagues, moved over to Hatch Africa, where he spent some time before becoming a private rock engineering consultant in 1997. 

During this time, Ben became a part of the Government's Rockburst Commission, and even spent a short period of his supposed “early retirement” lecturing at Pretoria University. It is a measure of Ben’s dedication to his profession that, as recently as a few months ago, I was informed by a junior colleague that he’d come across Ben while busy with a feasibility study for a new mining project. Ben still practises as an independent consultant.  

On a personal note

Ben has always been a very private person, and was reluctant to include any details, but he always had a very friendly relationship with staff members. Typical examples Include Martin Pretorius and Sergei Steyn, both sadly now deceased, Dave Spencer, Ben Streuders, Dirk Venter, John Keen, Kobus Geyser and Kevin Brentley.

Ben Streuders had the following to add: “Ben could take a really complex problem, simplify it to an understandable concept, analyse it and come up with a practical solution. He has an enquiring mind and was always eager to ‘research’ deeper into the factors that he knows are weaknesses in the rock engineering knowledge base. As a young rock engineer, he shaped my thinking and my approach towards problem solving. I also learned from him that there is something called ‘company politics’ and company ‘philosophy’ and how to manage it.”

He has always been a keen traveller and could tell many stories about his amazement with the building skills of those that lived a 1 000 years and even 2 000 years before us, using arches and dome structures that are still standing after all these years. He was also keen on local travelling and showed his “green” side when he bought his Nissan Sani and became one of the early day 4x4 explorers.


SANIRE Honorary Life Fellow Ben Kotze helped to shape the rock engineering discipline.

Trevor Rangasamy, one of the founders of Middindi Consulting, spoke to RockTalk about himself and his career thus far. Get to know him a little by reading on.

1.When and how did your career within the mining industry begin? What got you into rock engineering?

After graduating in Applied Geology, I did odd jobs to keep the pennies flowing. At that time, around 1991, there was a surplus of mining related professionals. My first love as a young delinquent was Geology. At that time, I had never heard of a field called rock mechanics, or rock engineering, as it is known today.

Fortunately, Anglo-American advertised a plethora of positions in mining in the Sunday Times and I applied, thinking that geology was required for one of them. When I got to the interview, I answered questions to the best of my young uninfluenced geological knowledge, not knowing that it was actually a rock engineering position. I got the job and the passion has never waned since that interview. By the way, I was interviewed by Gary Dukes and Dion Booyens.

2. What is your educational background?

I have an MSc (Engineering) (Rock Eng) through research, a BSc (Applied Geology), a GDE (Rock Engineering), the advanced RE Certificate and the chamber tickets. I am of Indian descent, so the business skills came naturally.

3. What are some of the qualities needed to do what you do?

Once you have the knowledge and understanding, believing in your professional worth is paramount. If you don’t, others reflect that aura. The professional and natural world is full of different energies that make up different personalities. They will cross your path, no doubt. Handle situations with even-handedness and honesty. It always triumphs.

There is no substitute for being exposed to the environment we ply our trade in. It builds confidence and enriches our knowledge with a wealth of understanding.

4. You co-founded a Rock Engineering firm, Middindi Consulting. Where did Middindi Consulting come from?

Johan Hanekom and I met at the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) 12 years ago). Both of us were contracted to write unit standards and learning material for rock engineering. We did know each other by sight when we worked for AngloGold, but that’s about it. Johan had a company called MIDD Consulting and mine was called IndiRoc Consulting. It’s easy to deduce the name Middindi if you know our original company names.

We decided to throw in our lot with each other, using fundamental principles that have held us together ever since: Trust, honesty and communication. Sounds like a marriage; believe me, it probably is.

5. What is the key principle/philosophy that has contributed to the success of your organisation?

Above all, deliver a quality product that is packaged to suit the needs of the client. Never compromise on founding principles that could allow the outcome of the job to produce something reckless. Have a balanced approach that provides an optimised, defendable result rather than be overly conservative or too aggressive. There is worth in every person, find it and use it to develop and grow your business.

6. What are some of the highlights of your career?

Certainly, being the first local black certificated rock engineer in South Africa was a highlight. So was working with some really hard-assed production personnel and learning to cope and grow from the differences and the similarities we shared. I have really valued being involved, from a forensic perspective, in most, if not all, rock related multiple fatalities in RSA for the past decade and discovering the huge strides that we have made in mitigating rock related deaths. I have enjoyed publishing about 30 papers and co-authoring three guidebooks. A rather unusual highlight was being retrenched from the now-defunct JCI, which showed me that there is hope in adversity by spawning the seed of my business.

7. Who/What has motivated you over your career span?

Three people have played a role in my career. In chronological order: Johan Laas for showing me the grit and patience needed to grow and to construct thought in concept before leaping into solutions. Dr John James, one of the smartest guys I know, for giving me the leeway to think and for to have a very balanced approach to life in general. This balance provided clearer thought when the mind was cluttered. Phil Piper for his astute business principles and organised approach to anything, really.

8. Would you say the rock engineering discipline has changed over the years? If it has, what are some of the distinct changes that you have noted?

Yoh, it has man! There are a lot more people in rock engineering than ever before. Once we received the regulatory status (in about 2000), our work became more recognised and we have become an integral part of mine design, not just an afterthought. Sadly, the focus on research and development has met an untimely death.

Probably a good 30-40% of our fraternity operate outside the mining houses in consultancies and this is certainly a shift. In the past, maybe 90% of rock engineers worked in mines. I think this trend will grow in the next 10 years to probably an even split between mine-based rock engineers and those who work from consultancies.

From a demographic perspective we have a large base of junior rock engineers and a dwindling senior level. We don’t seem to be rejuvenating the top echelons at the rate of attrition.

9. What are some of the rock engineering issues do you think remain unsolved in the South African mining industry? How can these issues be addressed?

Hard rock pillar strength derivation is still unchanged from that proposed by Hedley in 1972. The concept is inherently compressional; the behaviour of pillars is not. For operating depths below 400 m, we need to populate a database of failed/unfailed pillar states categorised by reef type and then use this data to validate and/or revise the Hedley formula. I am certain that the exponents will become reef/seam specific.

Multiple-seam mining and related rock mass effects in the platinum industry are a reality that requires founding guidelines similar to those formulated for coal mines by Salomon et al. This is of particular importance when mining the UG2 as a secondary operation in transitional and/or pothole reef facies. The difference between the platinum and coal rock mass is the behaviour of the interburden due to its lithostratigraphy, rock quality signature and strengths. Extraneous loading of the platinum reefs is a huge complication. This subject sparks my enthusiasm, so I had best leave it alone.

The choice of panel and bord spans is still somewhat subjective, although use of empirical charts is an effort to make the choice more engineered. I believe that our focus is more on the stuff in between the panels (pillars) rather than the span design. They are both equally important and equal effort must be provided in their design, not just adopting a simple approach of scraper efficiencies and drill boom effective widths.

Quite obviously, the seismicity emanating from the platinum mines needs research and understanding since this layered intrusion is not the Witwatersrand Goldfield; we have done that, we are yet to do this.

10. One of the benchmarks of judging the success of rock engineering is the elimination of rock related incidences in South Africa mines. In your opinion, what needs to be done to lower these incidences to Australian or Canadian standards?

I believe that the relationship between state, employers and unions needs to be less adversarial, since ultimately we all have the same objectives. We need to collaborate our efforts and find solutions that are technically sound, yet practical and ethically correct. I can remember when fatalities topped 500 per annum. It is now less than 150. There has no doubt been huge improvement.

We, as rock engineers, need to place more emphasis on the anomalous conditions since, in my experience, it is the out-of-the-norm conditions that have resulted in some of our major incidences. These conditions are not vast and ever present, but probably constitute a mere 5% of the exposed workplace. They often and likely go unnoticed.

The wealth of understanding that can be gained from data gathering is better than simply applying knowledge without thought or reason. We must develop the habit of validating continuously, since the rock mass is dynamic. A condition today may never be seen tomorrow. We must gather data comprehensively and find quick, effective ways of letting the data tell us about our environment. Our decisions will then be informed. Safe declaration is static, safe declaration with timely data is dynamic and effective.

11. Within the rock engineering discipline, what are some of the areas that you believe will become of increasing importance in the near future?

Our role and accountability for rock related safety is becoming increasingly recognised. We are now part of the safe declaration procedure in some mines, whereas we never performed this role in the past. We have to still find a balance between being designers and implementers. The focus may become skewed towards implementation and the basic tenants of design may become lost. I am still unsure whether multi-skilling actually works. We may be unknowingly creating another division of rock engineering. This may have some conflict with the original roles and responsibilities we first saw for ourselves.

12. You have previously been involved as a Rock Mechanics Certificate (RMC) examiner. In your experience, is the ticket a good system or do we need to system like the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) professional registration system?

I think we need both. The ticket tests knowledge and understanding and the registration tests its relevance. Having been an examiner for a number of years and having worked with a number of people who don’t yet have the ticket, I strongly believe that the ticket is not a true measure of competency but one of the tools.

Having said that, written examinations have been around for centuries so there cannot be anything wrong with using it to measure certain facets of competence. I remember structural geology examinations from my time at university. The contribution for the final mark was from a written exam (50%), field work (25%) and basic research investigative studies (25%). This meant that a single element did not constitute one’s entire test of competence. In fact, it is the same for certain courses in the Graduate Diploma in Engineering (GDE) programme. Maybe we should be testing some of the papers this way and not haive a final overarching practical examination. The logistics may be onerous, though.

I believe the current attitude shared by many is that we examine to fail and candidates hope for luck. Examinations for candidates should be based on study and understanding and the written papers should be a breeze. Examinations for examiners should be based on testing founding principles that can be applied in many contexts. This subject can be debated ad infinitum and, like political rhetoric, it is opinionated.

13. What are some of challenges facing younger rock engineers today?

Rock engineering is greater than the borders of South Africa and the exposure we get in this country to different mining methods and orebodies is very limited and, in some cases, only applicable to South African conditions. We need to start learning about other deposits and methods used to extract them so that we are globally marketable. We tend to be too stereotyped in our approach to geomechanical problems in this country, there’s a lot to learn from others if we take the time to open our eyes and look.

14. What is the best advice you have ever been given?

The mine manager some years ago at JCI always used the term “back to basics”. At that time, it was the first I heard of it. That stuck with me. We tend to find comfort in complexity and are embarrassed by simplicity – I don’t get it.

15. What advice would you give the varous generations of engineers?

Never lose sight of governing first principles, no matter how complex the geomechanical problem is. Our environment consists of rock, so there is no substitute for knowing the rock, first geologically and then mechanically.

16. How do you unwind?

I think a lot about nothing (the pulse of energy that formed us) and everything (the universe). Thought is my relaxation.

Trevor Rangasamy unwinds by getting lost in thought.


"Cultivating the Future of Geotechnics"


is intended to establish a network forum and opportunity for young geotechnical engineers to better acquaint themselves with the industry and products available. This takes place in a young environment where all presenters and most of the delegates are under the age of 35. The conference is held every three years and aims to provide delegates with the opportunity to develop their writing skills and publish a technical paper which will be published in the conference proceedings. In addition presenters can exercise presenting skills in front of a more forgiving audience and delegates attending can all learn from like-minded peers.

Who should attend?
Geotechnical practitioners under the age of 35 in the mining and civil construction industry. More experienced geotechnical practitioners are encouraged to motivate the YGE 's working under them to attend the conference and explain the advantages of presenting their work at the conference.

Click here for the full announcement.
Click here for the registration form.

For a list of sponsorship and exhibition options please contact the conference secretariat.

Conference Secretariat
Yolandé van den Berg
RCA Conference Organisers
082 323 3910

Gregory More O’Ferrall’s news from Western Canada takes a detour through South America in this issue. Enjoy finding out a bit more about the Cerro Lindo Mine, which both William Joughin and Gerrie van Aswegen have apparently also visited.

Cerro Lindo Mine is situated in the Inca region of Peru, as shown in Figure 1. The mine currently exploits zinc and copper, making use of an openstoping mining method. Of interest to me, besides the rock engineering issues that the mine is currently facing, is that the mine uses desalinated water that is pumped from the desalination plant at the coast across the mountains to the mine (a distance of 67 km) in a single 200 mm diameter column. This water services the mining operations, including the processing plant and the mining village. Figure 2 indicates some of the harsh environment across which the water is pumped.

This was also the first time that I had been on the South American continent, in a mountainous coastal desert region and seen the size of remote control equipment that is used in the underground mining industry – new “toys for boys”.

Travelling to site

I had a mini-adventure just to get to site. I flew out of Vancouver for my first stopover in Toronto, which is a five-hour flight (amazing how large Canada is). I opted for this flight, as the alternative was to fly via the USA, which would have caused endless issues as I need to get a permit to travel into the USA. If I travelled on my South African passport, then I’d have to apply for a visa, which would be even more of an issue.

While on the flight across Canada, Toronto experienced unusual weather in the form of heavy thunderstorms. When we landed at Toronto, I thought it very unusual to have so many “spare aircraft” parked in queues alongside the runway (it actually looked like a mall parking lot). However, instead of taxiing to the arrivals gate, we parked behind the aircraft in one of the queues. Only then did I realize that there were queues of aircraft waiting to get to arrivals gates. We waited in the queue for over three hours until we were eventually allowed to disembark.

My onward flight to Lima was scheduled to depart two hours before we disembarked, and no Air Canada staff members were to be found to enquire about the onward flight – it was 01:30 in the morning. I eventually found somebody who was being harassed by hundreds of stranded passengers (the Air Canada priority telephone line was also not being answered) at 04:30, and he informed me to wait at a specific counter until 07:30, when the check-in staff would be able to assist me. At 07:45, I was then informed to go to another gate, where all stranded persons were being allocated new flights. After standing in this queue for the next 7 hours, I eventually got to the check-in counter and was informed that the next flight was in two days.

I went searching for my luggage only to be informed that it was impossible to retrieve it, and I was given a complementary toiletry kit to make me feel more human (maybe my then unshaven appearance and grumpy attitude had something to do with it). Then it was off to find a hotel for the next two nights. I managed to find one close to the airport, had a most-welcome shower and breakfast/lunch/afternoon snack (I did not know what it was, as I had not eaten for well over 15 hours by then) and went to buy a change of clothes and a cellphone charger.

I eventually managed to get on a flight to Lima at 06:30 two days later, and was assured at check-in that my luggage would be loaded on the same flight. After a rather pleasant seven-hour flight, I landed in Lima and waited for my luggage at the carousel until the arrivals section was vacated, except for five passengers on my flight. So, off we went to the missing baggage counter, which was manned by three Peruvians – one constantly talking on a cellphone, the other trying to chat up a female colleague and the third extremely slow (I got to appreciate that African Time is far quicker than Peruvian Time – actually the Chileans joke about Peruvian Time, where everything appears to come to a standstill).

Two hours of standing in the queue brought me to the counter to claim for lost baggage. Did I mention that I cannot speak Spanish? Between my school French and my army Portuguese (sometimes almost including a Fanakalo word or two), I did not do a bad job of getting my message across. Surprise! My luggage had arrived two days before – on the flight that I had missed. I did not query how this happened, as I was only too pleased finally to be reunited with clean clothes and toiletries. Lesson learned – travel with spare clothing and toiletries in your hand luggage.

Site visit

The following day, I was off to site. I had never met the rest of the AMEC project team before, as they originated from the Lima and Santiago offices. Two of the project team travelled with me to site, and neither could speak English and my main Spanish phrase was “poquito Español” (little Spanish). The five-hour trip was spent mainly sleeping, as it was dark and rainy, and I could not communicate. However, when we turned off the coastal road and headed inland into the mountains, the sun was breaking through and I was treated to some picturesque desert sights.

The 67 km road from the coast to the mine takes approximately three hours to travel. As a safety precaution, the drivers of vehicles are required to have a 10 minute break after two hours, so a tiny oasis has been constructed where a comfort and safety break is enforced (Figure 3).

An hour further along the road, which is actually a single lane dirt road that hugs the sides of the mountains, with occasional passing lay-byes, brought us to the mining village/camp.

I was pleasantly surprised to see what I thought was green grass in the camp, which was a small soccer field. This grass is Astroturf, and the soccer field appeared to be permanently occupied, except during meal times (Figure 4).

Thankfully when I arrived at camp, I was one of two Gringos on site (word quickly spread that another Gringo had arrived). The other Gringo was another AMEC employee, who is Canadian and had lived in Chile for three years. He quickly became my translator, as nobody else on site could speak English (poquito Español, Señor).

Our accommodation was pleasant, with each room having a shower and toilet en-suite. Unfortunately, my room was next to the mining offices (Figure 5) and, due to this being a 24-hour operation, seven days a week, and a safety requirement for all vehicles on site to sound their horn every time they moved (blow their hooter in South African terminology) and to be fitted with a back-up signal (reversing alarm), I did not get much sleep and resorted to working 20-hour days for the 10 days that I was on site. It’s amazing how much you can achieve in the early hours of the morning.

The mine is in a desert region (thankfully it was the middle of winter and the temperature was around 27 °C to 32 °C), which has its own wildlife (Figure 6). This brought great concern to the Chilean project members, as they had not expected to find wildlife (must be city slickers) in this arid region. They quickly learned to lift their boots off the floor at night, not to walk barefoot and to ensure that their boots were unoccupied before putting them on.

An item that I will not miss after this site visit is the cuisine. For all three meals a day, and for 10 days in a row, the only food available at the canteen was Pollo y Arroz (Chicken and Rice). The difference on most occasions was the spice in the water in which the chicken was boiled. I had never eaten chicken and rice for breakfast before, yet alone for all three meals in one day. On the way out of the desert, I saw numerous chicken farms that had sprung up since the mine was started, and I personally wanted to call in drone attacks to destroy these farms and hence save the mine employees from having to endure this culinary torture any longer.

Before you think that this visit was a tourism expedition, I suppose that I’d better show/tell you something about the mine (Figure 7). Entrance to the massive orebodies (of which eight have been identified thus far and mining is taking place in four of these) is via portals/adits (Figure 8).

The operation is fully mechanised, and openstope dimensions are typically 20 m wide, 30 m high and vary in length between 40 m and 70 m. As I mentioned earlier, these boy’s toys are far bigger than the remote-controlled cars I used to dream of having (I suppose things truly are bigger in America) (Figure 9.).

This mining method is very challenging, particularly in the geotechnical environment in which it is taking place. The strength of the ore is extremely variable; with the uniaxial compressive strength varying from 20 MPa to 110 MPa. (Very few laboratory tests have been conducted.) In some areas it is possible to crush the “rock” in your hand, whereas in other places it is difficult to break it with a geology pick. (Figures 10 and 11.)

Needless to say, with this variation in ore strength, the sizing of the excavations in the orebody is very difficult to optimise without the frequency of strength variation being known. (It varies considerably over 5 m intervals.)

The plan is for mined-out stopes to be filled with a pastefill, but teething problems associated with pastefill plants has resulted in some of the open voids being unfilled, resulting in the collapse of the stopes. In one instance, the collapse propagated to a height of 250 m, resembling more of a cave mining operation.

The 10 days were spent visiting all the underground working places, the core sheds, pastefill plants and participating in meetings and workshops. The personnel on site were extremely pleasant and helpful. However, before I finish the write-up about the mine, I thought I’d post a familiar-face-to-some. Ruben Maza (Figure 12) visited Impala Platinum a few years back and fondly remembers his visit to South Africa, including his visit to Jackpot (New Concept Mining’s manufacturing facility at Nasrec) and to the Carnivore Restaurant, where he got to sample lion meat. (The Peruvians at site frequently asked me if it was true that we South Africans eat lions. I informed them that it was only tourists that did so.)

Lima in general

I managed to spend half a day in Lima to do some form of sightseeing/gift shopping. I managed to avoid the delicacy of grilled guinea pig on the dinner menu and was threatened that the next time I am in Lima, I will eat it. (Apparently it is flayed out like the roast pigs that you see in some pictures with an apple in the mouth. They probably put a grape in the guinea pig’s mouth.)

My impression of Lima is that there is a more evident wealth differential than you see in South African cities. Thank goodness I had a driver, as the traffic is more chaotic than I experienced in Ghana. The person with the biggest vehicle and loudest horn has right of way, and any pedestrian attempting to cross at a stop street or pedestrian crossing may have a death wish.

Figure 13 features some photographs of the buildings that I walked past. What really intrigued me was that the petrol stations are located on the island in the busy parts of the suburb where I was staying, and yet these did not interfere with the traffic flow. I would definitely not promote this location for filling stations in South Africa.


Figure 1: Location of Cerro Lindo mine.

2 3
Coastal desert with fertile valley.
Desalinated water pipeline over mountain tops.
 Figure 2: Terrain over which the desalinated water is piped.


Figure 3: Tourist photograph at safety oasis along mountain pass.


Figure 4: Artificial turf soccer field (must be lunchtime).


Figure 5: Visitor and Senior Official sleeping quarters and Underground Mine Office.


Figure 6: An ex-wildlife member of the Peruvian coastal desert region and cacti behind accommodation.


Figure 7: Gregory More O’Ferrall at the entrance to the mine site.


Figure 8: Main access to underground operations.


Figure 9: Remote-controlled LHD (note the operator wearing the remote-control harness)


Figure 10: Variation in strength of ore (freshly drilled core in the core tray)


Figure 11: Medium- and coarse-grained chalcopyrite


Figure 12: Ruben Maza, Cerro Lindo’s geotechnical engineer.

 14 15

View from hotel room – construction

Typical architecture in wealthy suburb.
16 17
Electric fence – consequence of
high unemployment.
Old church and parliamentary building. 
18 19
Fuel station on island between traffic lanes. Catholic cathedral.
Figure 13: Some sights in Lima. 

SANIRE offers you access to global rock engineering excellence through the International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM). Find out more about it here.

There are several benefits to being a member of SANIRE. All such benefits are in line with SANIRE’s mission statement, which reads:

  1. Encouraging interest and advancement of Rock Eng. through education
  2. Maintaining professional practice and high standards of ethics
  3. Encouraging networking, collaborating and information exchange
  4. Identifying, promoting and facilitating Rock Eng. related research
  5. Providing access to global Rock Eng. through ISRM

In the spotlight in this issue of RockTalk is point (e), SANIRE’s provision of access to global rock engineering excellence through its affliation with the International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM).

To promote the advancement of rock mechanics and rock engineering, the ISRM has established various means of providing leading practice knowledge in the form of; the ISRM Suggested Methods, online video lectures and the ISRM digital library.

Registered members of SANIRE, are automatically ISRM members and thus have full access to the above mentioned sources of knowledge.

The ISRM Suggested Methods

The ISRM Suggested Methods provide a systematic approach of documenting procedures relating to field testing, laboratory testing, site investigations and various other aspects of the discipline. These documents are accessible for download on the ISRM website ( http://www.isrm.net/gca/?id=177).

You can also access them in the ISRM Blue Book (publications from 1974 to 2006, Edited by R. Ulusay and J.A. Hudson), various issues of the International Journal for Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences and, of late, Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering.

This system was developed in the early 1970s and has records of suggested methods from these early years. The records extend up to 2014. This goes to show how much the ISRM is committed to keeping its members abreast with best practice and the latest standardised developments in the discipline.

Here are just some of the topics on which Suggested Methods have been published in the past three years:

  • Determination of mode II fracture toughness (2012)
  • Determining the abrasivity of rock (2013)
  • Determining the creep characteristics of rock (2013)
  • Drucker-Prager criterion (2012)
  • Failure criterion based on true triaxial testing (2012)
  • Hoek-Brown failure criterion (2012)
  • Introduction to suggested methods for failure criteria (2012)
  • Lade and modified Lade 3D strength criteria (2012)
  • Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion (2012)
  • Determining the mode I static (2013)
  • Laboratory determination shear strength of rock joints – revised edition (2013)
  • Monitoring rock displacements using gps (2013)
  • Rock failure criterion - general introduction (2012)
  • Rock stress estimation - part 5 (2012)
  • Step-rate injection method for fracture in-situ properties (simfip) (2013)
  • Three dimensional failure based on the Hoek-Brown criterion (2012).

Online video lectures

The ISRM website hosts video lectures that you, as a member, can view for free. Four lectures have been presented to date, all of them in 2013:

  • “50 Years of NATM – from a construction method to a system” by Prof. Wulf Schubert (Garz University of Technology, Austria)
  • “Solving the Unsolved Problems in Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering” by Emeritus Professor John A. Hudson (Imperial College, UK)
  • “Rock Mechanics Lessons from Dams” by Prof Pierre Duffaut (France)
  • “Catastrophic landslides – The legacy of Vaiont” by Prif Eduardo Alonso (Department of Geotechnical Engineering and Geosciences, Civil Engineering School, UPC, Barcelona, Spain)

To view these lectures, go to  http://www.isrm.net/gca/?id=1104 .

The SANIRE Council is pleased to announce that, beginning this year, SANIRE will also be producing video lectures on various topics for the benefit of its members. Two lectures are scheduled for the year and the number may increase in future.

ISRM digital library

The ISRM digital library is hosted on www.onepetro.org, which is run by the Society of Petroleum Engineers. It contains publications from ISRM meetings and congresses as well as publications from various other journals.

As SANIRE members registered on the ISRM website, you are allowed to download, at no cost, up to 100 papers per year. ISRM corporate members can download 250 papers.

The login details to onepetro.com where recently changed. New or old registered members who have not yet upgraded their login details as per the new login requirements can update their details by following the instructions on the ISRM website ( http://www.isrm.net/gca/?id=992 ).

Find out more

For further information or any queries about the ISRM, please contact Jacques Lucas. He is the current Vice-President for Africa on the ISRM board. Back home, Jacques is a former President of SANIRE and now holds the ISRM Liaison portfolio on the SANIRE Council. For Jacques’s contact details as well as some highlights of his career, please visit  http://www.isrm.net/gca/index.php?id=1034 .

There’s no need to wait until you are “experienced enough” to publish a paper. Thapelo Kolokoto and Halil Yilmaz proved this beyond doubt. Lawrence Rwodzi tells you more about what they did and the David Ortlepp award.

Why not give yourself a challenge: to publish one paper a year, or even one paper, one year?

Every year, SANIRE awards its members for their concerted efforts in publishing technical papers through various journals or conferences. Many younger practitioners may view this as an opportunity intended for older, seasoned practitioners, but that should not be the case. These accomplished practitioners got to where they are today by pushing boundaries, striving to be the best they could be. Being published is something younger practitioners can strive towards from their very early days.

A typical example is a publication by Thapelo J. Kolokoto and Halil Yilmaz in Volume 113 of the SAIMM Journal, published in April 2013 – ‘An investigation into introducing a new support element at Khomanani 2: resin bolts or 1.5m in-stope roofbolts.This project was research work carried out by Thapelo in partial fulfilment of his BSc Mining Engineering Degree at the University of the Witwatersrand. Halil was Thapelo’s project supervisor. Thapelo has since successfully completed his BSc Mining Engineering degree and is a mining engineering graduate trainee at AngloPlatinum.

What stands out is that, Thapelo and Halil’s paper was nominated for the SANIRE 2013 Salamon Award, along with papers by seasoned practitioners Mathew Handley and Les Gardner. The Salamon Award is given to the best publication in a particular year; the paper providing the most advancement and/or best practices each year. Wow! Right?

To distinguish the seasoned practitioners from the young and upcoming practitioners, SANIRE launched the David Ortlepp Award at the 2013 SANIRE Symposium last year. This award commences this year and will be given to the best paper published or presented by a young practitioner (aged 35 or less). The paper must have been published or presented in any journal or at any of the various industry conferences in the year. The award includes a medal and an all-expenses-paid opportunity for the winner to present the same paper at an international conference anywhere in the world.

While putting together a publication may appear a very daunting task, as Chinese philosopher Laozi said: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Just take that step! Here are a few pointers to get you started:

  1. Select a project/work that you have or are working on that is interesting, challenging or includes interesting information from which others in the field can learn;
  2. Seek the necessary permissions to publish the work;
  3. You do not have to do the paper alone; you may co-author or work with your colleague/senior/manager/boss/mentor;
  4. Select and approach a peer reviewer to look at and critique your paper;
  5. Identify publications/conferences to which your work could be relevant;
  6. Document your findings/work in line with the requirements of the publication/conference. A common example is the SAIMM Journal guidelines for authors ( http://www.saimm.co.za/guidelines-for-authors) .

Bear in mind that, apart from the award, which is only an incentive; publications are a great way of marketing yourself, developing confidence in the trade and contributing to the knowledge base of the rock engineering discipline.

youthrepAs the focus on young members increases across the SANIRE, the Eastern Bushveld Branch has elected a Youth Development Representative (YDR), to join their Branch committee.

Adam Cooper was the winning candidate of three nominees.

Adam says “My main objective as YDR is to assist the junior SANIRE members with their studies such that they can become competent Rock Engineers. I would like to utilise this opportunity to also develop and implement systems for the benefit of the Eastern Bushveld Branch as well as bring the Branch closer with the other SANIRE branches”.

In 2002 Adam obtained a bursary with Anglo Platinum to study towards a BSC Honours Degree in Engineering Geology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal which he successfully completed in 2004. His career in Rock Engineering kicked off the following year when he was deployed by Anglo Platinum to Lebowa Platinum Mine (Bokoni Mine) as a Graduate Rock Engineer. Wasting no time, Adam obtained his Strata Control Certificate in the same year.

In 2009 he was transferred within Anglo Platinum to Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine (Royal Bafokeng Platinum). During the same year, he completed a Graduate Diploma in Engineering (Rock Engineering) from the University of the Witwatersrand.

He went on to complete the Chamber of Mines Rock Engineering Certificate in 2010 and the Advanced Rock Engineering Certificate in 2011. He was also appointed to Shaft Rock Engineer in 2011.

In 2012, he joined Platreef Resources as a Senior Geotechnical Engineer and is with the same company to date.

He is also currently finalizing his project for the completion of his Master’s in Engineering, Mining (Rock Engineering) degree with the University of the Witwatersrand.

As a young and highly motivated individual, with the experience and qualifications, Adam is well positioned for his role as a youth development representative.

Adam can be contacted on adamco@ivanplats.com or 082 664 2763.




         Coalfields Branch


The SANIRE Coalfields Branch will have the pleasure of hosting the annual SANIRE Symposium on the 11th of September 2014 at the Maccauvlei on Vaal. Additional details will follow shortly.




Chairman: Sandor Pethö                                                       Vice Chairman: Steve Poczik
Secretary: Duncan Lees                                                        Student Members: Olwethu Swakamisa & Marc Henderson
Supplier Representatives: Danie Blom & Frikkie Kaap
       Treasurer: Mandla Mazibuko



The Southern African Institute of Mining & Metallurgy (SAIMM) in collaboration with South African National Institute of Rock Engineering (SANIRE) presents the . . .

6th South African Rock Engineering Symposium
SARES 2014

'Creating value through innovative rock engineering'

12–14 May 2014 | Misty Hills Country Hotel and Conference Centre, Cradle of Humankind

Have you booked your seat yet?

Recent developments in the global mining industry have led to the conclusion that it is time for significant change. Mining needs to become yet safer and more efficient while addressing the challenges of rising costs, skills shortage, marginal ore, complex geology and greater mining depth. The easy pickings have been taken. Innovative rock engineering design is therefore essential for the future of the mining industry. Creating value through innovative rock engineering

Preliminary Programme

The preliminary program is jam packed with very interesting topics addressed by speakers from Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Iran, USA and across South Africa.

Day 1 Keynote Speaker is Peter Kaiser (Mining Excellence) who will be talking about ‘Deformation-based support design for caving operation’. The sessions on the day will dwell on different numerical modelling and fracture analysis approaches.

Day 2 Keynote Speaker is Terry Wiles (Mine Modelling Pty Ltd) discussing ‘Three ways to assess mining induced fault instability using numerical modelling’. The days’ sessions will cover aspects of slope failures and innovative support and monitoring systems.

Day 3 Keynote Speaker is G.S. Esterhuizen (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) on ‘Extending empirical evidence through numerical modelling in rock engineering design’. The day’s sessions will cover geotechnical data modelling in design and mine seismicity.

To view full programme visit SARES 2014

Who Should Attend

Rock engineering practitioners from all back grounds should book and diarise this event. Young practitioners are also encouraged to come learn from and network with the various seasoned practitioners. The event is also very much applicable to the DMR inspectors, Researchers, Academics, Mining engineers and Civil engineers.

To make your booking visit SARES 2014

For more information

For more Information visit: SARES 2014 or contact:
Raymond van der Berg
Head of Conferencing
Tel: 011 834 1273
Email: raymond@saimm.co.za

Exam season is just around the corner. Make sure you know what to do.

Now would be a good time to go to www.comcert.co.za to check up on the step-by-step examination application process, the relevant closing dates and the examinations programme for the May and October 2014 Chamber of Mines Rock Engineering exams.

Please ensure that you register before the closing dates and remember that your registration form needs to be accompanied by proof of payment.

Please also remember these other important dates:

  • The results of the May 2014 exams will be available on the Chamber of Mines website on 2 July 2014.
  • The closing date for registration for the October cycle of the rock engineering practical exam is 16 July 2014.

Yolande Jooste is the head of the Exams Committee. Please send her any questions or alert her to problems directly at yolande.jooste@harmony.co.za.

SAYREF members will be taking one another on in the first ever RockBowl, a trivia competition for rock engineers in training.

During the 2014 SANIRE Symposium, SANIRE and SAYREF plan to run the first ever RockBowl, a trivia competition for young people being trained up in the rock engineering discipline.

Each branch is expected to participate in two ways: adding to the questions in the question bank and then selecting representatives to compete against other branches in the Bowl. RockBowl will have a knockout format, with two teams battling it out in each round.

This year’s winners will be the first ever SAYREF RockBowl Champion.

Please send your comments and questions to Jannie Maritz at  Jannie.Maritz@up.ac.za or via the SAYREF Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/South-African-Young-Rock-Engineering-Forum/290066337814334. Jannie represents young members’ interests on the SANIRE Council.


Due to unforeseen circumstance beyond our control, the Strata Control Practical Exam has been postponed to 27th March 2014.

The first annual Strata Control Practical Exam will be hosted by Bokoni Platinum on behalf of the Eastern Bushveld SANIRE Branch on the 27th March 2014


07h00 – Arrival candidates at Bokoni Platinum

07H00 – Visitors induction

08h30 – Underground visit will commence

11h00 – Return from underground (Shower/ Lunch)

12h00 – Oral exam will commence

Venue Details:

Venue: Bokoni Platinum

Date: 27th March 2014

Time: 06h30 for 07h00

R.S.V.P: No later than 14th March 2014

Co Ordinates: S24° 17.144' E 29° 52.000


Confirmation of your attendance and queries must be sent to the following people below before the 14th
March 2014.

Paul Couto at paul.couto@norplats.co.za



Seventh International Conference on Deep and High Stress Mining

16–18 September 2014  |  Radisson Hotel   Sudbury  |  Ontario, Canada


Over 100 abstracts have been accepted!  

View the list of accepted   abstracts and Deep Mining 2014 brochure.


Samantha Espley 

Vale, Canada


David Counter

Glencore Canada Inc., Canada

Keynote address:Kidd Mine – dealing with the   issues of
  deep and high stress mining – past, present, and future

Professor Ray Durrheim

CSIR and the University of the Witwatersrand, South   Africa

Keynote address: Has research contributed to improvements   in
  safety and profitability of deep South African mines?

Dr Stephen Hardcastle

Natural Resources Canada – CanmetMINING, Canada

Keynote address: The continuing challenges to provide
  adequate ventilation and a safe environment in deep mines

Ground Support Subjected to Dynamic
Loading Workshop

15 September 2014
  Radisson Hotel Sudbury  |  Sudbury, Canada

View the preliminary   programme.


Winthrop Professor Yves Potvin

Australian Centre for   Geomechanics, Western Australia

Winthrop Professor Phil Dight

Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Western Australia

Sponsor and exhibitor opportunities available


For more information   please contact the ACG.


SRK Consulting
  3M Canada

  ESG Solutions

  Geobrugg North America, LLC

  Itasca International, Inc.

  King Shotcrete

  Mine Design Technologies Inc

  Normet Canada Ltd.

Spray On Plastics Ltd.

Mining Journal


Contact the ACG via  info-acg@uwa.edu.au






Dear EuroRock 2013 participant,

We invite you and your colleagues to submit and abstract for the International Society of Rock Mechanics 2015 Congress.

Abstract submission deadline is two months away. The attached CALL FOR PAPERS should be
further circulated to your network of Rock Mechanics colleagues.

Initial abstract submissions are requested to be made directly by the authors, and not by the National Committees, to the website of the ISRM Congress at www.isrm2015.com with the final submission deadline being May 1, 2015.

Following receipt of abstracts, it is the intent of the Congress Organizing Committee to provide access for each National ISRM Committee or Group to abstracts submitted by members of that country for approval and abstract selection.

Following National Group selection of member abstracts, the Congress Organizing Technical Committee will perform additional reviews of recommended National Group abstracts, as well as others that may be deemed to be of significant interest for the Congress themes.

On behalf of General Chair, Ferri Hassani - Lise Bujold

Director, Conventions & Trade Shows

Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM)

Tel.: (514) 939-2710 ext. 1308 | Fax: (514) 939-2714

The first annual Strata Control Practical Exam will be hosted by Bokoni Platinum on
behalf of the Eastern Bushveld SANIRE Branch on the 20th March 2014

· All applicants must have a Strata Control Theory Paper in order to qualify to enroll for the Strata Control Practical Exam.

· All applicants need to register with Joma vd Merwe at accounts@sanire.co.za in order to attend the Practical evaluation.

· Applications will be confirmed with Joma vd Merwe at accounts@sanire.co.za in order to ensure that registration has taken place.

The Strata Control Practical will consist of a compulsory underground visit followed by an oral exam session.


– Arrival candidates at Bokoni Platinum

– Visitors induction

– Underground visit will commence

– Return from underground (Shower/ Lunch)

– Oral exam will commence

Venue Details:

Venue: Bokoni Platinum

Date: 20th March 2014

Time: 06h30 for 07h00

R.S.V.P: No later than 14th March 2014

Co Ordinates: S24° 17.144' E 29° 52.000

What is equipment and P.P.E is required?

Please ensure that you bring along the following:

Note book, Pencil, Pen, Scale ruler, Protractor, Refreshments / Lunch

Please note that every person attending the Strata Control Practical Exam is required to bring along their own PPE.

Bokoni Platinum requires the following as PPE:

Overall, Gum Boots, Hard hat, Cap lamp belt, Ear Plugs, Safety Glasses, Socks, Knee pads


In order for your registration to be accepted please complete the registration form. Click HERE

Confirmation of your attendance with proof of registration with Joma vd Merwe at accounts@sanire.co.za must be sent to the following people below before the 14th March 2014.

Paul Couto at paul.couto@norplats.co.za

Please note that the registration for the Chamber of Mines Rock Mechanics practical closes 7 February 2014 and registration for the theory will close 31 March 2014. To register please follow this link http://www.comcert.co.za/ and send proof of payment to Colin.

11th International Symposium on Mining with Backfill

20–22 May 2014 | Novotel Perth Langley Hotel | Australia

For more information please click HERE

To View the ACG event calendar please Click HERE!

View the Deep Mining 2014 brochure!

Deep Mining 2014 abstracts due 24 February 2014! Visit the Author's Portal to submit your abstract online.