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 rules as taken from the constitution are outlined in the below sections.

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 as previously stated, on the below sections. The document is intended to clarify some of the ambiguities surrounding SANIRE membership grading.

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 (Minerals Council of South Africa).

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 fellow and honorary life fellow members are eligible to a blazer pin selected by the council for recognition.

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.

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

a) have been in a Rock Engineering position of “importance” in mining or civil engineering, consulting, government, educational or research organisations concerned with those industries, for at least ten (10) years. In all cases it is expected that a fellow would be able to supervise and give guidance to others within his/her discipline.

b) be practicing his/her profession at the time of his/her application or nomination and satisfy the council that he/she is a reputable person to become a fellow, and the council must be satisfied that his/her qualifications, training and technical experience justify such professional status.

c) have made a meaningful contribution to the Rock Engineering profession either by means of research or by systems design and implementation in the sector in which he/she is or was practising. These further, includes publications related to Rock Engineering and contributions in terms of being an examiner and marker for Rock Engineering related certificate papers

d) Head of Department with relation to point (a) above. Thus, implies responsibility and managing a department with a COM AREC (Advanced Rock Engineering Certificate).

MEMBER

A member must be currently practicing his or her profession and must qualify for the below stated:

  1. A candidate working as a Rock Engineering practitioner on a mine or civil engineering tunnelling project must have practiced as a competent person in terms of Regulation 14.1(8) and the requirements of Section 22.14.1(8) of the Mine Health and Safety Act (Act 29 of 1996), and be:

a. in possession of a Chamber of Mines Certificate in Rock Mechanics appropriate for the type of mine concerned, and have at least three years’ mining- or tunnelling-related geotechnical experience, of which a minimum of six months must be for the type of mine concerned;

or

b. registered with the Engineering Council of South Africa as a Professional Engineering Technician or under a higher category of registration, specialising in mining- or tunnelling-related geotechnical engineering, of which a minimum of six months must be geotechnical experience for the type of mine concerned;

or

c. registered with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions as a Certificated Natural Scientist or under a higher category of registration, specialising in mining- or tunnelling-related geotechnical engineering, of which a minimum of six months must be geotechnical experience for the type of mine concerned;

or

d. in possession of any other appropriate qualification recognised by the Mining Qualifications Authority or the Chief Inspector of Mines in consultation with the appropriate professional body for this purpose, and who has at least three years’ mining- or tunnelling-related geotechnical experience, of which a minimum of six months must be for the type of mine concerned.

  1. A candidate working in consulting, government, educational, research or associated organisations concerned with mining, petroleum or civil engineering must have practised Rock Engineering-related work for a minimum period of three years after completion of tertiary studies (e.g. diploma, higher diploma, bachelor’s degree or honours degree, as applicable).
  1. A candidate must be practising his/her profession at the time of application and satisfy the council that he/she is a suitable person to become a member, and the council must be satisfied that his/her qualifications, training and experience justify such professional status.

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 for the conditions stated in the corporate membership section 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.