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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  • SAIMM President 2018/2019 – Alastair Stuart Macfarlane

    SAIMM President 2018/2019 – Alastair Stuart Macfarlane

    On the 16th of August 2018 Alastair Macfarlane was inducted as the SAIMM President for 2018/2019. The students and members attending the AGM welcomed him as president with applause. We look forward to the impact that Alastair Macfarlane will make during his year in office.

    Towards the future: African Mining Vision, Mining Phakisa and the SAIMM

    Recent winds of political change blowing through the African continent have created the hope of a new dawn for the mining industry, and for renewed impetus to support the African Mining Vision.

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  • Conference Review: Copper Cobalt Africa

    Copper Cobalt Africa, hosted by the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM), took place from 10 to 12 July 2018. The conference was held in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia, a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the mighty Victoria Falls. Recent strong rises in the prices of copper and cobalt, coupled with increasing international interest in developments in the African Copperbelt, attracted over 300 delegates, representing 22 countries.

    CuCoAfrica Dignitaries: L-R:
    Mooya Lumamba (Director of Mines and Minerals, Zambia), Jackson Sikamo (Chairperson and Country Manager at Chibuluma Mines Plc, Zambia), Sehliselo Ndlovu (President: SAIMM), Paul Chanda (Permanent Secretary: Zambia Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development), Sokwani Chilembo (CEO Zambian Chamber of Mines), Darius Muma (Zambian Branch Chair: SAIMM), Kathy Sole (Conference Chair: Copper Cobalt Africa 2018).

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  • Obituary - Emeritus Professor Dee Bradshaw

    Obituary - Emeritus Professor Dee Bradshaw

    Dee Bradshaw
    22 Sept 1958 to 7 June 2018

    Emeritus Professor Dee Bradshaw passed away on 7th June 2018 after a courageous battle with cancer, just a few months short of her 60th Birthday. Throughout her illness, Dee remained a leading light and inspiration to students, colleagues and professionals across the globe. A major highlight for her in 2018 was the launch of her book “Green Mining: Beyond the Myth” at the Two Ocean’s Aquarium ahead of the Annual Mining Indaba - attended by senior representatives of the Minister of the Presidency, AngloGold Ashanti and the University of Cape Town (UCT) as well as colleagues, students, friends and family. The book culminates a career of thought leadership, a passion for people and minerals in collectively addressing complex, intractable problems in society.

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From the President's Corner

  • Seeing the value of the SAIMM

    Being the President of a professional organization like the SAIMM can be quite demanding. However, it’s not always stressful because there are quite a few pleasures and privileges that accompany the job. One of the significant pleasures is the interaction with members at all the numerous events that are organized by the Institute. Here you get to talk and listen

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  • Diversity and Inclusion in the Minerals Industry

    A number of studies have confirmed that there is a positive relationship between diversity and business performance, and that diversity in leadership roles is what tends to define the success of a business. This is because knowledge creation and application is enriched by a variety of skills, experience, and cultural diversity. The more diverse a team, the more perspectives, the

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  • Upskilling the heroes of the mining industry

    I recently had the pleasure and opportunity to listen to one of the most well-known and admired person in South Africa; the former Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela. She gave keynote addresses at the International Women’s Day celebration hosted by the Motsepe Foundation and at the pre-AGM dinner for the Chamber of Mines (now known as the Minerals Council South

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From the Journal Comments

  • SOMP Regional Conference

    This edition of the Journal is dedicated to the Society of Mining Professors 6th Regional Conference 2018, which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 12 to 14 March. This Conference was hosted by Mining Engineering Education South Africa (MEESA) and the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM). MEESA is comprised of the School of Mining Engineering at

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  • From the Editorʼs desk

    The range of topics and the locations of the authors in this month’s edition is an indication of the international nature of the Journal, which is confirmed by the fact that of the 141 papers that were published in the Journal in 2017/2018, 58 were from outside South Africa. This is one of the criteria that ensures that the Journal

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Market News

  • KSB Pumps for University of Pretoria laboratory

    Professor Josua Meyer, Chairman of the School of Engineering and Head of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering of the University of Pretoria KSB Pumps and Valves has assisted the University of Pretoria in the construction of a large controlled-temperature test unit, which will form the backbone of ongoing research into heat transfer, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics. The impressive unit will allow

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  • Roadmap to interoperability

    How can the mining industry meet the challenges of interoperability? GMSG is building a path forward. Monday, April 9, 2018. Interoperability is a large, intricate, and complex issue that can inhibit technological advances in the international mining industry. Players hold widely different views and interpretations as to scope, content, application, and end state. Indeed, GMSG has identified interoperability as a

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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  
DSC01120 DSC00664 cruise boniface


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.