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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The South African National Committee on Tunnelling (SANCOT) was formed in 1973 during a phase of extensive infrastructure
development in South Africa, in particular the construction of the km long Orange-Fish tunnel. This followed the success of the 1970 TUNCON conference in Durban, after which it was decided that it would be useful to form a body covering the interests of owners, designers, contractors, researchers, and suppliers in the underground construction industry. SANCOT has been active since this time, promoting the use of underground space, exchanging information, and arranging conferences and seminars.



In 2003 there was a significant decrease in tunnelling activity following the successful completion of the Mohale Tunnel, part of the Lesotho Highlands Phase 1B project. At this time SANCOT was re-formed as a committee of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM) and has continued to operate within the SAIMM ever since.

The International Tunnelling Association (ITA) was formed in 1974 with South Africa as a founding member. It is a United Nations affiliated body and is managed as such, with a majority of member nation votes required for the election of office bearers and passing of resolutions. South Africa has been represented at the annual General Assembly every year since the inaugural meeting, in Oslo in 1974, but one.

The work of the ITA is performed by working groups and committees as listed below. These groups and committees are staffed by volunteers who produce bulletins on best practice and arrange events to facilitate the sharing of knowledge within the industry. A wealth of information is available on the ITA website at http://www.ita-aites.org/en/

Anyone wanting information on either organization, or to be included in a database of persons interested in tunnelling, should contact Camielah Jardine at the SAIMM at Camielah@saimm.co.za
A. Wilson

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Other mining news

Mining Weekly | Africa

The latest mining world news and project information from Africa.
  • Angola seeks to stimulate diamond, ornamental stone exports
    The Angolan newspaper “Jornal de Angola” has reported that diamond mining companies operating in the country will, in future, be able to sell up to 60% of their production in the free market, under the country’s new Diamond Commercialisation Policy. Under the previous system, adopted in 2007, miners had to sell their diamonds to “preferred buyers” designated by the State-owned Empresa Nacional de Comercialização de Diamantes de Angola (National Diamond Commercialisation Company of Angola), better known by its acronym, Sodiam.
  • Gold Fields remains in ‘strong’ financial position, despite $367m loss, says Holland
    Despite attributable losses from continuing operations for the six-month period ended June 30, of $367-million or $0.45 a share, CEO Nick Holland maintains that the NYSE- and JSE-listed Gold Fields remains in a strong financial position. Holland further noted on Thursday that the integrity of the South African gold mining company’s balance sheet remains intact after funding cumulative project expenditure, namely at Damang, in Ghana, and Gruyere, in Australia, of $330-million over the past 18 months.
  • Amplats starts construction on Polokwane sulphur dioxide abatement project
    Construction of the sulphur dioxide (SO2) abatement project at Anglo American Platinum’s (Amplats’) Polokwane smelter got under way on Thursday. The company will implement new wet sulphuric acid (WSA) technology at the smelter and will ultimately reduce SO2 emissions by an estimated 96%, to deliver the targeted abatement levels at the smelter.