The SANIRE Coalfields branch held its year-end function on the 02nd of December 2016 at the Tweefontein Recreation Club, in eMalahleni. This marked one of the very first events since the new branch committee was elected in February. A number delegates, consisting of practitioners, consultants and suppliers, came from various parts of the country to enjoy this prestigious event. The total number of delegates in attendance was 47 and the event was sponsored by Videx and Rocbolt technologies.

Rudiger Welf Olgert KERSTEN

Student No 7272848

A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Johannesburg, September 2016


The design of stable pillars in mining is of fundamental importance not only in the Bushveld mines but in the entire mining industry. Wherever mining occurs, pillars will be formed at some stage, and it is essential to predict their behaviour. It is imperative to know whether they would burst, yield or remain stable. Although of major importance, the design of pillars still suffer from major drawbacks and weaknesses that affect the results in a fundamental manner.

In recent years, the advent of borehole imagery and the ability of computers to manage and process the much larger data sets involved, have revolutionised the mineral wireline logging industry.

A continuous, orientated, high-resolution representation of a borehole wall offers many advantages to the rock mechanics engineer. The data provides knowledge about geology, structure, fractures and stress orientation. Most of this knowledge might be gained by analysis of orientated drill-core, but that option has proved to be time consuming, imprecise and costly.

Please note that the closing date for the Rock Mechanics practical examinations will be 17 January 2017 and NO late entries will be accepted.

Dear Members,
You are invited to the Joint Symposium of ISRM Young Scholars’ Rock Mechanics Symposium (YSRM2017) and New Development in Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (NDRMGE2017). Please note the following overview and please feel free to forward this information to anybody who might be interested.

  • Title: 2017 ISRM Young Scholars' Symposium on Rock Mechanics (YSRM2017) & 2017 International conference on New Development in Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (NDRMGE2017) – An ISRM Specialized Conference
  • Organizer: Korean Society for Rock Mechanics (KSRM)
  • Sponsor: International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM)
  • Date: 10-13 May, 2017
  • Venue: Jeju Island, Korea
  • Important Dates:
    Abstract: 12 December, 2016 (Extended from 11 November, 2016)
    Extended abstract: 11 February, 2017
    Full paper to a special issue (optional): 11 June, 2017
  • Website:

Download the flyer


Dear Member
Attached, please find an invitation to the 9th South African Young Geotechnical Engineers Conference (SAYGEC) to be held in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, 13, 14 & 15 September 2017


Dear Members
Please follow the link to the latest quarterly newsletter. Stories and articles are always welcome. Please email Paul Couto at for enquiries.

Download the PDF version:  pdf 2016 11 16 SANIRE Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 4
(12.12 MB)
Download the ePub version: default 2016 11 16 SANIRE Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 4 (109.66 MB)


At the SANIRE AGM held in August we shared some of the history of the pass rates achieved for the various papers of the Rock Mechanics Certificates. The pass rate being relatively low is, however, dependent on the candidates being experienced enough to understand the study material and knowing how to apply it in actual case studies or work situations. For most candidates, obtaining a Rock Mechanics Certificate is a true journey, comprised of highs and lows. There is no greater feeling of disappointment when you know that you have put in a lot of effort, yet you still fail a subject. I can recall the accomplishment I experienced when I “eventually” passed my ticket. We always hear our mentors and managers saying that we need to keep on trying; perhaps the next paper is your paper. Looking back, I can now also echo these words. Through your personal journey to obtain the qualification, you will also reach a point in your career when you will look back and realise that you only passed the ticket when you were prepared technically and had obtained sufficient experience to understand and apply the knowledge you had gained over the years. In South Africa we have achieved more than 100 qualified Rock Engineers in the past 5 years. Success is dependent on each person’s ability and effort. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” (Winston Churchill).

The SANIRE AGM was hosted on the 9th September 2016 at Ruimsig Country Club, whereby the following awards were handed over to deserving members of SANIRE. The day was enjoyed by all who attended.

Full Name: Michael du Plessis

Company: Lonmin Platinum

Designation: Group Rock Engineering Manager

Qualifications: B.Sc., AREC, GDE, M.Eng., Ph.D.


Michael joined Anglo American Platinum in 2002 after graduating from RAU (now University of Johannesburg). He obtained his Rock Mechanics Certificate in 2005. From 2005 to 2007, Michael worked for Minova, servicing the mines, especially along the eastern limb of the Bushveld. In 2007 Michael joined Lonmin Platinum. He was appointed as the Group Rock Engineering Manager in 2009. He obtained his Master’s degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2009 and a Doctorate from the University of Pretoria in 2016.