prescornerThis year started off with a bang. On most of the mines, the DMR instructed that certified Rock Engineers should conduct extensive audits of all working places. This created a new role profile of a qualified Rock Engineer – “Auditor”. As a result, we had little time to do anything else. Unfortunately, our work does not only revolve around keeping the DMR happy. We also have to ensure that systems, strategies and other critical areas of our work requirements, which could impinge on the safety of mine workers, are upheld. As a result, we manage the various challenges and crises as well as drive other critical projects, irrespective of the time constraints. I have, however, come to realise that all crises are cyclic and that the end of one challenge will lead to the next.

ISRM International Symposium

‘Rock Mechanics for Africa’

Dates: 02-07 October 2017
Venue: Cape Town Convention Centre, Cape Town, South Africa

The 2017 ISRM International Rock Mechanics Symposium is to be held in Cape Town. The conference theme is “Rock Mechanics for Africa”.

Approximately 170 abstracts were received, covering a wide range of topics including slope stability, underground excavation stability, ground support, rock mechanics data, testing methods, instrumentation and monitoring, mine seismicity and rockbursts, and numerical modelling. Over 100 papers have been received and are in the refereeing process.

Recent developments

  • Two nominations for ISRM President have been accepted at this stage.
  • New National Group Macedonia approved
  • The DRC and Zambia are in the process of establishing National Groups.

Online lectures
A new ISRM Online Lecture is available for viewing or downloading on the ISRM website ( 17th ISRM Online lecture: Prof. Charles Fairhurst – “Why Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering”

ISRM Conferences
The following ISRM Conferences are scheduled:

personality1Full Name: Sandor Zoltan Pethö

Position: Manager Rock Engineering

Company/Organisations: Glencore Coal South Africa / SANIRE, ISRM, SAIMM

Date and Place of Birth: 21st of February 1968, in Johannesburg

Education: Matriculated from Parktown Boys High School in Johannesburg; obtained my MEng (Rock Engineering) from the University of the Witwatersrand.

First Job: Junior Seismologist at SOEKOR (now known as Petrosa).

Personal Best Achievement/s: Involved with the South Deep pre-shaft pillar extraction from the design and implementation stage, and also the South Deep backfill plant upgrade.

Philosophy of Life: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Favourite Food/Drink: A rare steak and a superior bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinotage (Platter 5*).

Favourite Sport: Avid sports follower (Swimming, Athletics, Cricket, Rugby – ardent Blue Bulls fan, can’t get enough of our Blitzbokke at the moment).

rock stars1Full Names: Ivan Wright & Alan Wright

Positions: Superintendent/Sectional Rock Engineers

Company/Organisations: Sibanye Gold

Date and Place of Birth: 20 February 1987 (Twins)

Education: Chamber of Mines Rock Engineering Certificate, Strata Control, COMSOC 1 & 2

First Job: Alan: Top Vending – Cash Office Controller, Ivan: Top Vending – Route Merchandiser

Personal Best Achievement/s:Alan & Ivan: Rock Engineering Certificate

A magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck central Botswana on Monday, 3 April 2017 at 7h40pm, the largest to occur on this con-tinent in 11 years. The location was unusual as most large tectonic quakes in southern Africa are closely associated with the East African Rift System, an extension failure zone stretching from Djibouti by the Red Sea all the way to southern Mozambique. The key words here are ‘most tectonic’: the most seismically active regions in Africa are the gold mining dis-tricts along the edge of the Witwatersrand Basin, but these events are associated with mining and not with plate tectonics.

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: SANIRE Newsletter Volume 3 Issue 1 (12MB)

As with every New Year, we start very positive, setting new resolutions. I found that I need to set goals for myself to ensure that I stay focussed and determined to achieve my goals in the anticipated time period. These include personal, work, academic and fitness goals.

WELL DONE to all the teams that took part in the first ever SANIRE Rockbowl last year. The Event was well attended by members and contestants, with teams taking each other on in a knock out format.

The event was hosted at the Sibanye Kloof Training Centre on the 18th November 2017. A total of 7 Young Members teams entered and participated with the overall Winners being the #ROCKSMUSTNOTFALL team from SRK Consulting.

WELL DONE everyone for surviving 2016! It was one very busy year for the Western Bushveld mines, with everyone in the Rock Engineering Departments just trying to stay afloat – but we all managed to scrape though still intact.

SANIRE still remains very active in this region. At the Western Bushveld Branch meeting for 2016, a new committee and chairperson were elected. This truly was a challenge, as the previous chairperson, Naomi Ayres, had left big shoes to fill!