On the 26th May 2017, at Sibanye Kloof Training Academy, the 2017 National RockBowl was proudly hosted by SANIRE.

The RockBowl is a quiz show, whereby participants answer questions related to the Rock Engineering Field. This quiz show can be played in an individual or team format, with the most correct answers winning the event. The RockBowl can be compared to the Rock Engineering version of “Nooit vir Nooit” “Who wants to be a millionaire” or “The weakest link”.

Approximately 60 individuals and 9 teams competed in the event. The participants ranged from a variety of large mining houses and consulting companies covering different commodities.

Good Day Candidates
Please note that the closing date for the Rock Engineering Practical Examinations will be 07 August 2017.

Please log onto COMCERT and register online. Please ensure that your payment and acceptance of registration has been confirmed before the closing date.

Once registration has closed the registered candidates will be contacted with more details entailing the Practical Exam.

NO late entries will be accepted.

Dear ISRM Members and Rock Mechanics Colleagues,

For the 18th ISRM Online Lecture the ISRM invited Professor Marc Panet. The title of the lecture is “The deformations in the vicinity of the face of a deep tunnel". The lecture will be broadcast next Thursday, 13th July at 10 AM GMT, and will remain available in a dedicated webpage. To watch the lecture just open the ISRM website after the indicated time and follow the link.

The results are in for the 2017-19 SANIRE Council. A total of 227 votes were cast. It should be noted that not all names on the list will be called to Council and all, current and new members will be notified via email of their inclusion.

    % of Votes
Friedemann Essrich 14%
Paul Couto 13%
Andre Esterhuizen 12%
Dave Neal 11%
Naomi Ayres 11%
Sanjay Singh 9%
Robert Armstrong 8%
Bantu Tati 7%
Daniel Avutia 6%
Matthew Barnard 5%
Adam Cooper 4%

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 SANIRE Newsletter Volume 3 Issue 2 (4.60 MB)

Download the Pub version:  default SANIRE Newsletter Volume 3 Issue 2 (10.08 MB)

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 (www.isrm.net): 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!

gbranch1While trying to scout for something a little more unconventional for the year-end event, and thinking of the wealth of mining source material at our fingertips in Gauteng, we stumbled upon the KLOOFENDAL NATURE RESERVE where the Friends of Kloofendal happen to be none other than Steve and Karin Spottiswoode with Rod Kruger, so naturally the decision was made for itself!

gbranch2In spite of a Saturday morning time slot, there were stalwart enthusiasts as well as newbies (thanks to our SAICE and SAIEG communication channels) who all trekked together for a geological, nature and mining history adventure. The local geology comprises somewhat disturbed quartzites, sandstone and shale (yes, indicating promises of gold-bearing reefs!). Steve was our conductor here while Karin revealed the magic of fauna and flora. Rod then gave us a tour into the early diggings of the Struben brothers, amazingly excavated by hand drills, pickaxes, shovels and explosives, and are largely still intact. Being intelligent rock engineers, we all assessed the safety of the strata and decided it was perfectly acceptable to enter and exit unscathed. Which is what we did!

Full Name: Dr. Rudiger Welf Olgert Kersten
Designation: Independent Consultant
Qualifications: M.Sc Geology, Ph.D


Rudi Kersten, rock mechanics consultant, has more than 45 years experience in the mining industry. As consultant to Anglovaal he has been involved in the design and maintenance of both open pit and underground mines. The underground mines included shallow, intermediate, deep and ultradeep operations of archean and Witwatersrand type mines. Also included are manganese, copper, chrome, platinum, andalusite and silica operations. Consultancy work was also done on copper, gold and manganese mines in Brazil, Kazakstan, Uzbekistan, Zambia, Zimbabwe, DRC,United States of America, Australia, United Emirates and Tanzania. Experience covers the evaluation of borehole core to selection of mining method and detail planning and commissioning thereof. He has also been actively involved in designing and installing backfill plants at a number of mines. Rudi has been an independent mine consultant with South African and overseas clients since 1994 and has been involved in a number of due diligence and resource evaluations. He gained his MSc degree in geology at the University of Pretoria, currently busy with a PhD degree and, throughout his career, he has been involved in the guidance and evaluation of the research activities of the Chamber of Mines research organisation.

Jan Abram MaritzFull Name: Jan Abram Maritz

Position: Senior Lecturer

Company/Organisations: University of Pretoria

Date and Place of Birth: 5 July 1978 – Welkom

Education: MEng (Mining Engineering), COM REC, MMC

First Job: HTH Sales Rep

Personal Best Achievement/s: Advancing through all the spheres of Mining at a young age.

Philosophy of Life: Life is too short for cold coffee

Favourite Food/Drink: Good steak and beer

Favourite Sport: Athletics

Cassius SelaiFull Name: Rock Star of the Quarter

Position: Rock Engineering Superintendent

Company/ Organisations: Glencore Coal South Africa

Date and Place of Birth: 14 October 1985, Muila Village in Limpopo

Education: BESMEG (UNIVEN); CoM Certificate in Strata Control (Coal); CoM Certificate in Rock Mechanics (Coal)

First Job: Bolt Tester at Kenny’s Strata Bolt Testing

Personal Best Achievement/s:

  1. Obtaining my University qualification, because I was the first to achieve this in my family
  2. Successfully designing a coal pillar extraction and further receiving the CEO award for this work
  3. Presenting and publishing my very first Technical paper at the SHIRMS conference in 2012

Philosophy of Life: Whatever you do, do it with all your might.

Favourite Food/Drink: Simple Pap and Chicken

Favourite Sport: Soccer and Karate