Good day ISRM Members,

On behalf of the South African Institute of Rock Engineering (SANIRE), we would like to invite you to attend AfriRock 2017, hosted in Cape Town, South Africa. The event will commence on the 30th September 2017 and conclude on the 6th October 2017.

SANIRE has also arranged, in conjunction with the Southern African Institute and Metallurgy (SAIMM), other short courses and tours in order to showcase South Africa and its Mining History. A brief description of the events is included below:

Recent developments:

The European Rock Mechanics Symposium - Eurock 2018 was held in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, from 22-26 May

A new ISRM Suggested Method for Determining Stress–Strain Curves for Rocks under True Triaxial Compression has been approved.

Online lectures:

Two ISRM Online Lectures are available for viewing or downloading on the ISRM website:

17th Online lecture: Prof Charles Fairhurst: Why Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering?

18th Online lecture: Prof Marc Panet: The deformations in the vicinity of the face of a deep tunnel.

ISRM Conferences:

The following ISRM Conferences are scheduled:

Event title Start date End date Country City
AfriRock 2017 – 2017 ISRM International Symposium 2017-10-02 2017-10-07 South Africa Cape Town
3rd Nordic Rock Mechanics Symposium - NRMS 2017 2017-10-11 2017-10-12 Finland Helsinki
Shaoxing lnternational Forum on Rock Mechanics and Engineering Geology - an ISRM Specialised Conference 2017-10-27 2017-10-28 China Shaoxing
1st International Conference on Advances in Rock Mechanics 2018-03-29 2018-03-31 Tunisia Hammamet
EUROCK 2018 - the ISRM European Rock Mechanics Symposium 2018-05-22 2018-05-26 Russia Saint Petersburg
RockDyn-3 - 3rd International Conference on Rock Dynamics and Applications - an ISRM Specialised 2018-06-26 2018-06-27 Norway Trondheim
ARMS10 - the ISRM 10th Asian Rock Mechanics Symposium 2018-10-29 2018-11-03 Singapore Singapore
ISRM 14th International Congress on Rock Mechanics 2019-09-20 2019-09-27 Brazil Foz do Iguaçu

Full Name: William John Liebenberg

Position: Rock Engineering Manager

Company / Organisations: Buffelsfontein Gold Mine – Impala – Lonmin

Date and Place of Birth: 1961 – Klerksdorp

Education: Mine Overseer Certificate COM Rock Mechanics Certificate

First Job: Sold newspapers when still at school. Shift Supervisor at Buffelsfontein Gold Mine, after which I joined the Rock Engineering fraternity.

Philosophy of Life: Make every day in your life a fascinating day. Be positive and create your own enjoyment daily. Never let life be boring. Make things happen, do not wait for something to happen.

Favourite Food/Drink: Skaap tjops with krummelpap and milk

Favourite Sport: Golf, MotoGP, Golf, and sometimes Golf

Full Name: Theresa Van Aard

Position: Senior Rock Engineering Officer

Company / Organisations: Impala Platinum

Date and Place of Birth: 6 May 1985, Klerksdorp

Education: BTech (Mining), COM RMC, COM SCC, MM Cert, MO Cert.

First Job: Mining learner official at Anglo Platinum

Personal Best Achievement/s: Getting where I am in my career and family.

Philosophy of Life: The past is where you learned the lesson, the future is where you apply the lesson.

Favourite Food/Drink: Prawns and Coca-Cola

Favourite Sport: Mountain Biking

by G. More O’Ferrall


Numerous studies have been undertaken to develop a pillar design methodology for the UG2 seam in the Bushveld Complex of South Africa. Collaborative (PlatMine) and independent (Anglo Platinum, Lonmin Platinum, Impala Platinum and academic) research has been undertaken over a few decades in order to determine the load on a UG2 pillar, with the purpose being to develop a pillar design methodology (or empirical design formula) that would enable the Rock Engineering practitioner to optimise the mining layouts with appropriately-dimensioned pillars on the UG2 seam.

Formation of the UG2 pillar design interest group

During the second half of 2016, Michael du Plessis, approached various rock engineering and structural geology persons to form a collaborative practitioner-focused pillar design and performance interest group. The interest group comprises senior (in both age, in most cases, and experience) Rock Engineering personnel from Lonmin, Anglo, Impala, Northam and Sibanye Platinum, as well as a couple of external ‘interested parties’ comprising a ‘renowned’ structural geologist and a ‘global traveller’.

A Life Well Lived

Alan was born in Shropshire, and grew up in Newcastle, England. He completed his undergraduate degree at Portsmouth Polytechnic in Engineering Geology in 1972 and later went on to complete his Masters in Rock Mechanics and Excavation Engineering at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1973.

His first job out of university was as a geologist for the National Coal Board Opencast Executive. It wasn’t long, however, before he moved into rock mechanics and was appointed Regional Head of Geotechnics with the responsibility of reviewing the design and operational aspects of all opencast mines in Northumberland, Durham and Cumberland.

The time came to move onto bigger things, and Alan found the answer in Africa. In 1977 Alan was appointed the position of Rock Mechanics Engineer for Chibuluma Mine in Zambia with Roan Consolidated Mines. Just days before he was due to fly out, however, Alan received a telegram saying that he had been promoted and transferred to Mufulira - an underground operation! The mine had suffered a large scale collapse, and Alan had the task of organising the rehabilitation of critical ramps and haulages. Alan also gained experience in production at Mufulira, obtained his blasting ticket and worked as a shift boss. Alan and his team managed to hold the record for the largest underground blast of close to 150 000 tonnes for some time in the late 1970’s. The highlight of Alan’s time in Zambia was the birth of his first daughter, Sam.

Devoted husband, loving father, humble friend and colleague

I wish to share with you all the sad news of the passing of Lazarus Matebese, a Strata Control Officer at Lonmin’s Saffy shaft.

Lazarus was experiencing problems with his breathing and was admitted to Ferncrest Hospital on Monday 03 July.

He was in an isolation ward before being transferred to ICU later that week.

He exhibited some signs of improvement but was re-admitted to ICU and passed away at approximately 14:00 on 10 July.

We have lost both a friend and a colleague.

A man that was larger than life in his personal life and throughout his long and influential working career in the mining industry.

He was a well-known and respected member of the mining industry, being a key figure in many SANIRE and other supplier events. I am sure he has a special place in each and every one of your hearts.

As most people, that knew Eric, would know there was only one way and that was Eric’s way!

Eric would be all in whether it be work related, entertaining or just living life to its fullest “In his way”

He adored his children, always being there whatever the event or attraction was. He could never get enough of his beloved grandchildren. He always made an effort to be part of whatever they were busy with or participating in it.

Phil was a British citizen born in Jos, Nigeria, and grew up in Birmingham, England. His interest in mining came from his father who was a metallurgist. He has been a member at SANIRE since 1990 and served as vice chairman and chairman of the Eastern Bushveld Branch.

Phil’s first job was with the British Royal Navy as artificer apprentice in Marine and Mechanical Engineering, before he came to South Africa as a learner official in Hard Rock Mining for Johannesburg Consolidated Investment Company from 1981 to 1985 in Randfontein. He was then promoted to shift supervisor at Westonaria Gold Mine between 1983 and 1986. Phil was later transferred to Anglo Platinum Union Section where he worked until 1988 as strata control officer. He was then transferred again to Joel Gold Mine in 1988 as a rock mechanics officer until he was transferred in 1993.

new members