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These criteria are currently under review as soon as the changes have been voted on at the AGM this page will be changed to reflect the latest information.

There has been a steady growth in SANIRE membership over the last few years. We have had a constant stream of new applications and very few resignations. At present, the numbers are as follows;

  1. Honorary Life Fellows
  2. Fellows
  3. Members
  4. Associated Members
  5. Retired Members
  6. Corresponding Member
  7. Student
  8. Company Affiliates - Discontinued 2008
  9. Total membership

Over the last few years there have been many queries about membership grading, and especially, why some people qualify for full corporate membership and others are graded as associate members. The general rule for mining rock engineers is that they qualify for full membership when they have four years of relevant experience since obtaining the COM Rock Mechanics Certificate. Obviously, there are exceptions to the rules, and each case is considered separately, on its merits. The guidelines for membership grading have been drafted, based on the SANIRE constitution and are reproduced below. The document is intended to clarify some of the ambiguities surrounding SANIRE membership grading and is based on the SANIRE constitution.

When an application for membership or transfer is received, it is carefully assessed by the Membership Committee and a provisional recommendation is made. These recommendations are then discussed and approved by Council and ratified by the President.

If you believe that your current grade of membership is incorrect, please send a completed membership application form and tick the box for "transfer". Alternatively, a letter, fax or e-mail can be sent to SANIRE stating your case. If you are seeking an upgrade in membership, i.e. from Associate to Member or from Member to Fellow, it is advisable to attach a current C.V. outlining your qualifications and experience.

Remember, SANIRE is the national voice of rock engineering in South Africa. It is vital that we set our own standards and maintain them. Any queries on membership can be directed to the SANIRE secretary.

DEFINITION AND DIVERSITY

For the purposes of SANIRE, a "Rock Engineer" is defined as,

A person who holds a tertiary qualification in Rock Engineering and/or the Chamber Of Mines Certificate in Rock Mechanics.

In order to try and meet the needs of all our potential members, several categories/vocations have to be considered. These are as follows;

* Mining Rock Engineers i.e. those currently practicing their profession within a mining environment such as employees of mining companies and independent consultants. This category may include those whose only formal tertiary qualification is a Chamber of Mines (COM) Certificate in Rock Mechanics.

* Academic and research Rock Engineers. This category includes those with a first degree in mining engineering, geophysics, civil engineering or geology and occasionally, some other scientific or engineering discipline. Many in this category have post graduate qualifications in rock engineering or geophysics but may have little or no practical mine experience.

* Seismologists and Geophysicists. This category includes those with a first degree in seismology, geophysics or geology and occasionally, some other scientific or engineering discipline. A mine seismologist may be practicing his/her profession on a mine but would not necessarily have experience or qualifications in mining or rock engineering.

* Engineering Geologists, Geotechnical Engineers and Civil Engineers. This category includes those who may have no connection with the mining industry but are involved with rock engineering in tunnels, foundations etc.

* Company representatives. SANGORM membership traditionally included a significant number of representatives from mining supply companies. Whilst the majority of company representatives have no Rock Mechanics qualification and fall in to the Associate category of SANIRE membership, some have COM Certificates in Rock Mechanics and a few others have degrees and even post graduate degrees in Rock Engineering.

* Government Employees. This category is aimed primarily at the Department of Minerals and Energy, which employs a few Rock Engineers.

It goes without saying that some individuals have experience in several different fields and could, therefore fall into more than one of the above categories. When classifying new members the individuals current vocation will determine the category into which they fall. There may be individuals who are not directly involved in Rock Engineering but have an interest in the subject and wish to join the Institute.

MEMBERSHIP CLASSES

Membership is classed as corporate and non-corporate. At this stage the only significant difference is that corporate members are entitled to hold office and vote at Institute meetings. The issue of the registration of Mining Rock Engineers who are entitled to carry out the work as specified in the new "Guidelines for the Compilation of a Code of Practice to Prevent Rockfall and Rockburst Accidents" is discussed separately in Section 3.

There are three categories of corporate membership.

HONORARY LIFE FELLOW

This class of membership is reserved for those senior figures in the Rock Engineering field who have contributed significantly to the advancement of the discipline. Such a person should have practiced Rock Engineering for at least 20 years, but may now be retired.

All recipients of the SANIRE Lifetime Achiever awards automatically qualify for Honorary Life Fellowship

FELLOW

A fellow must be over 30 years of age, must be currently practicing his/her profession and must have been in a position of "importance" for at least 10 years. In all cases it is expected that a fellow would be in a position to supervise and give guidance to others within his/her discipline.

For the purposes of grading, "importance", is defined for each discipline as follows;

* Mining - Consulting Rock Engineer or Head of Department. Head of Department in this case implies responsibility for a mine or a group of mines and in most cases would include managing a department of qualified Rock Engineering staff. Some further education is also indicated, such as a relevant degree or the Chamber Of Mines Advanced Rock Engineering Certificate (COM AREC).

* Research/Academic - Qualifications must include a degree in a discipline relevant to Rock Engineering, and preferably a post graduate qualification in Rock Engineering. An academic should be a Professor or Senior Lecturer. A researcher should have experience of leading major projects.

* Seismologist/Geophysicist - Qualifications must include a relevant degree and preferably a post graduate qualification in geophysics or seismology.

* Civil/Geologist - Must have tertiary qualifications in a discipline related to Rock Engineering (Engineering Geology or Civil Engineering) and must have experience of rock related engineering design work, such as tunneling, site investigations, dam foundations etc.

* Company Representative - Must have tertiary qualifications in a discipline relevant to Rock Engineering or a COM Certificate in Rock Mechanics and must be involved in Rock Engineering work, such as designing new support systems.

* Government - Must have tertiary qualifications in a discipline relevant to Rock Engineering or a COM Certificate in Rock Mechanics and must be involved in Rock Engineering work.

MEMBER

A member must be currently practicing his or her profession and must have been in a position of "importance" for at least 4 years. In this case "importance" has been defined for each discipline as follows;

* Mining - Must have held a COM Certificate in Rock Mechanics for at least 4 years. In terms of responsibility it can be difficult to compare some mines with others, as structures vary, but the applicant must be in a "senior" position, with responsibility for at least one shaft. A member must be capable of mentoring junior rock mechanics staff.

* Research/Academic - Qualifications must include a degree in a discipline relevant to Rock Engineering and preferably with a postgraduate qualification in Rock Engineering. An academic should have been a Lecturer or Senior Researcher for at least four years. A researcher should have been involved with major projects for at least four years.

* Seismologist/Geophysicist - Qualifications must include a degree in a discipline relevant to geophysics or seismology followed by at least four years relevantexperience since graduation.

* Civil/Geotechnical Engineer - Qualifications must include a degree in a discipline relevant to Rock Engineering and must be involved in rock related engineering design work, such as tunneling, site investigations, foundations etc. with a minimum of four years relevant experience.

* Company Representative - Must have tertiary qualifications in a discipline relevant to Rock Engineering and must be involved in Rock Engineering work, such as designing new support systems. Should be manager or director of a company associated with mining or civil engineering.

* Government - Must have tertiary qualifications in a discipline relevant to Rock Engineering and must be involved in Rock Engineering work, such as consulting to the Chief Inspector of Mines.

The following categories are for non-corporate membership.

ASSOCIATE

This category is non-corporate and as such has very few entry requirements. The constitution simply requires a minimum age of 18 and states that °... he/she is a fit and proper person ...". This category is for junior or relatively inexperienced Rock Mechanics personnel such as strata control officers and recently qualified Rock Engineers. It is also the category for which most company representatives qualify.

A recently qualified Rock Mechanic is expected to remain in this class of membership until he/she has had four year experience in a position of importance (see 2.3 above) where upon he/she may apply for transfer to corporate membership.

COMPANY AFFILIATE - Discontinued 2008 

STUDENT

Student members must be enrolled full time at a tertiary education institution, studying for a technical qualification relevant to rock engineering such as mining, geology, or civil engineering.

CORRESPONDENT

This category is reserved for members of the ISRM who are not resident in the RSA and who may not wish to maintain any of the full membership categories defined above.

RETIRED MEMBERS

This category is for former members of SANIRE or SANGORM who have retired from rock engineering or associated careers but wish to maintain links with the industry.

CONCLUSIONS

There will always be some individuals whose professional experience falls outside of the criteria defined above. In order to help the membership committee grade such individuals, it may be necessary to call for an extended CV, especially in the case of corporate membership. Any applicant who feels that their education, training or experience is unusual in this regard is encouraged to supply additional information in support of their application.

In cases of dispute, the SANIRE council will discuss the application and vote on whether to grant membership and if so, at what grade.