The SAIMM is a professional institute with local and international links aimed at assisting members source information about technological developments in the mining, metallurgical and related sectors.
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  • GMSG Corporate Member Report January 2018

    future mining 2018The Global Mining Standards and Guidelines Group (GMSG) January 2018 Corporate Member Report has been published. It contains an overview of projects which are defining the future of mining and helping to create solutions to industry challenges. This year’s Corporate Member Report features important GMSG news, highlights and an overview of GMSG’s guideline work, and outlines GMSG’s new 2018 strategy. The report is available here.

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  • World Leader in New Steel Research Visits the University of Pretoria

    world leader11dec17

    Photo: Prof Roelf Mostert, Sir Prof Harry Bhadeshia, Prof Charles Siyasiya, Prof Pieter Pistorius and Dr Johan Westraad

    Next-generation bainitic steel with remarkable properties was the central theme of a colloquium hosted by the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Pretoria on the 4th of December 2017. Sir Harry Bhadeshia, a global leader in metallurgy and the Tata Steel Professor at Cambridge University, was the main speaker. Sir Prof Bhadeshia was on a visit to South Africa as a result of an application made by the Microscopy Society of Southern Africa and the trip was funded through a NRF instrument.

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  • Report Calls for Open Standard for 3D Applications in Mining Industry

    Image result for gmsgUser Interviews and Analysis Highlight Common Challenges

    Wednesday, November 15, 2017 – A new report released by Global Mining Standards and Guideline Group (GMSG) says a survey of more than 18 3D software applications shows the users experience significant difficulties and delays working with the software, collaborating with peers and learning multiple proprietary programs. A solution to these difficulties is an Open Mining Format (OMF) that would encompass a set of guidelines and recommended steps.

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From the President's Corner

  • A new year, new reflections

    The start of a new year is always worth celebrating. We celebrate the achievements of the previous year. We also celebrate making it through the previous year’s challenges and, with optimism, look forward to twelve more fruitful months ahead. However, the fact that a year of our life has just passed by also usually leads to introspection. We question our

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  • A Christmas gift for the Institute

    It is the end of the year and Christmas is in sight. We have all had a busy year and thus look forward to a restful break, which we will fill with new memories with our families and friends. Above all, we all look forward to receiving that well-chosen wonderful gift from loved ones. A gift is always treasured. It

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  • Women in the mining and minerals industry

    Summer is finally here and Christmas is around the corner. I do hope that you are all enjoying the warm weather that is prevalent in Southern Africa at this time of the year and, at the same time, have started shopping for those elusive but perfect Christmas gifts for friends and families. Since taking over the reins as the President

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From the Journal Comments

  • The SAIMM Journal

    The SAIMM organizes a number of conferences every year to promote technological developments in the mining- and metallurgy-related sectors. Selected papers from each of these conferences are published in the SAIMM Journal throughout the year. The SAIMM Journal is not only one of the top journals but also one of the most popular journals in the field of mining and

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  • The SAMREC/SAMVAL Companion Volume Conference

    This edition of the Journal features papers that were presented at the SAMREC/SAMVAL Companion Volume Conference held on 17 and 18 May 2016 and attended by some 100 people. The intention of the conference was to provide Competent Persons and Competent Valuators with the opportunity to prepare and present details of recognized standards and industry benchmarks in all aspects of

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Market News

  • Mining insights: Curbing protracted and violent strikes in 2018

    By Johan Olivier, Partner at Webber Wentzel In one of its most recent surveys, the Chamber of Mines estimated that the mining industry was responsible for creating approximately 450,000 direct jobs in South Africa. The most recently published Fraser Institutes research also reported that South Africa had Labour Regulations/Employment Agreements and Labour Militancy/Work Disruptions which could act as a relatively

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  • Call for participation in ISO Standards Development for Collision Avoidance and Emergency Remote Stop

    We are requesting assistance regarding standards that are being developed for Collision Awareness and Avoidance, and Emergency Remote Stop. These standards development projects are being developed through an established Joint Working Group under ISO TC 127 (i.e. TC127 Joint Working Group 22 (JWG22). This is a joint working group of TC127 Earth Moving Machinery (the international committee for mobile surface

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SANCOT - The South African National Committee on Tunnelling

SANCOT was formed in 1973 and is a founding member of the International Tunnelling Association which was itself formed in 1974. The creation of SANCOT came about as a result of the extensive infrastructure development taking place in South Africa in the late 1960's and foreseen in the decades ahead. Schemes such as the Orange River Project, Ruacana Hydropower Scheme and Hex River railway tunnel attracted a number of overseas consultants and stimulated local engineering expertise.

The TUNCON 1970 conference which followed was well supported and the organising committee saw the need to set up an umbrella organisation to cover the interests of tunnel owners, designers, researchers, professional specialists, contractors and equipment suppliers. This culminated in the establishment of SANCOT in 1973 with Alec Wilson as the first Chairperson, who then represented SANCOT at the inaugural meeting of the newly formed International Tunnelling Association in Oslo in 1974. Since then SANCOT has been represented at every ITA General Assembly, except one in Prague.

In 2003 there was a significant decrease in Civil Engineering tunnelling in South Africa and SANCOT was reformed as a committee of the SAIMM. The committee is now an interest group consisting of volunteers who meet regularly to collate information on both Civil and Mining tunnelling in South African and to hold conferences, site visits and colloquia.

If you wish to contribute news on tunnelling please contact the committee on

durbantunnel Blast1BeforeB Blast1BeforeC  
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The South African National Council on Tunnelling (SANCOT) makes an annual award, namely the Alec Wilson Memorial Award for the best paper on Underground Construction, to the author(s) of the best paper concerned with the technology of underground construction published in any South African journal or to any paper by a South African journal or to any paper by a South African author in overseas journals, or in any conference proceedings.
The Award was initially instituted by SANCOT in 1984 in order to encourage South African citizens and residents to submit technical papers on tunnelling matters both for local conferences and publications and overseas events.

Judging Criteria
The criteria for judging by the panel are originality, interest value, quality of presentation, clarity, information content and the contribution of the paper towards the advancement of the technology of underground construction.
Should no paper published be considered of sufficient merit, no award is made.
The award may be divided between the authors of papers judged of equal merit. If more than one paper is considered to be of exceptional merit, the runner-up may be carried forward for consideration together with nominations for the following year.
The Judging Panel elected by SANCOT Exco, consists of three persons, each of whom represents one of the three main 'constituencies' within SANCOT, namely Tunnel Designers, Tunnel Contractors and Suppliers and Tunnel Owners. This enables a balanced paper review to be undertaken.

Photo_Alec_WilsonThe late Alec Wilson was one of South Africa's foremost Tunnel Engineers. He was born in Cape Town in 1926 and grew up in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. He obtained his Civil Engineering degree at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and joined the South African Department of Water Affairs. In 1964 he became a partner in the Consulting Engineers Keeve Steyn and Partners, remaining with them throughout his career.
He was heavily involved in the Orange-Fish River Scheme and continued his career in tunnelling and rock mechanics. He was chairperson of Tuncon '70, one of the first major international conferences to be held in South Africa in 1970. Following that conference he was instrumental in the formation of SANCOT in 1973, being it's Chairperson until 1976 and subsequently assisted in the formation of the International Tunnelling Association in 1974.
He was involved in many tunnelling conferences and became well known as a mediator and arbitrator. He advised on a number of aspects of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. After his death in 1992, it was unanimously decided by SANCOT Exco in June 1993 that, as a lasting tribute to a fine engineer, the Annual SANCOT Award should be presented henceforth in his memory.

Award Recipients

1984 - J.C. Sharp and T.W. Mellors (RSA)
1985 - H. Duddeck (Germany) - "General Approaches to Design of Tunnels"
1986 - N.J. Terblanche - "Underground Power Stations: Critical Design Influences"
1987 - O. Fenn - "The use of water jets to assist free-rolling cutters in the excavation of hard rock"
1988 - P. Loudon (RSA)- the award was for a suite of papers relating to the Huguenot Tunnel published in an issue of "The Civil Engineer in South Africa"
1989 - C. Forbes (RSA) - "Heatlieskrans - a recent Tunnelling experience in Cretaceous Sediments"
1990 - O.T. Blindheim and A. Boniface (RSA) - "Boreability Assessments for Major Tunnelling Projects"
1991 - C.R. Spiers (RSA) - "Support for Tunnels subjected to Changing Rock Loads- Comparison of Design Loads"
1992 - I.J.A. Brackley, R.M. Galliers, A.M. Dell and S. Nthako. (RSA and Lesotho) - "Geotechnical Investigation for a Water Transfer Tunnel in Lesotho"
1993 - M.J. de Witt (RSA) - "Limits of Watertight Linings for the Delivery Tunnel, Lesotho Highlands Water Project"
1994 - B.S. Bruce, J.G. McKelvey and S.A. Taylor (RSA) - "Excavation of the Clermont Tunnel. (KwaZulu/Natal)"
1995 - L. Pringle (RSA) - "Construction of a Drill and Blast Tunnel under the Caledon River (LHWP)"
1996 - A.R. Leach and D. Ras (RSA) - "Use of Three Dimensional Numerical Models in Shotcrete Design for Development of Target Exploration Company, Lorraine Gold Mine"
1997 - T.R. Stacey and W.D. Ortlepp (RSA) - "Performance of Rockbolt and Wiremesh Tunnel Support under Dynamic Loading"
1998 - No award
1999 - B.C. Viljoen and J.R. Metcalf (RSA) - "Commissioning of the Delivery Tunnel : Overview of work done and results obtained (LHWP)"
2000 - T. Okai (Japan) - "Tunnel construction procedures to overcome the high pressures of rock mass swelling"
2001 - D. H. Deiring (RSA) - "Tunnels under pressure in an ultra-deep Witwatersrand gold mine"
2002 –
2003 –
2004 – Mr J P L Morgan, Prof J L van Niekerk and Mr D Cosijn for their paper entitled: “Gautrain Tunnels: Surface vibration and ground-borne noise”, published in the SAIMM publication: Tunnelling and Development in Southern Africa in 2003.
2005 - Mr W D Ortlepp, Mr A H Swart and Mr P N Erasmus for their paper entitled: “The performance of yielding tunnel support systems under dynamic loading”, published in the Surface Support in Mining Conference Publication in Perth in 2004.
2006 - R G B Pickering and K Moxham for their paper entitled: “The development and implementation of the Lonmin mechanised breast mining.”
2007 - Andrew Hindmarch, Andy Griffiths, Andrew Officer and Gert Wittneben for their paper entitled:  “Durban Harbour Tunnel – first use of a slurry tunnel boring machine” as published in the proceedings of the 2007 Rapid Excavation and Tunneling Conference, held in Toronto, Canada.