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Tunnel Boring in Mining and Civil Engineering

sancot 31012023This year’s biennial symposium of the South African National Committee on Tunnelling (SANCOT) was hosted in November in the university town of Stellenbosch at the Wallenberg Conference Centre @STIAS (Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study). Needless to say, the setting in itself presented its own attraction, and soon enough we’ll have new tunnelling developments in the region to draw a second occasion!

There is yet another, more specific reason to couple the beauty of the Western Cape winelands, and the richly concentrated resources of a world class university and research instution to that of exploring tunnelling advancements. Aside from the obvious burgeoning and burning need for urban infrastructure development, this is additionally juxtaposed on that of global consciousness on sustainable development and protection of the environment. Sustainable solutions to the exploding problems associated with those indelible effects of our human footprint on this precious planet mean that not only are we bound to seek short-term results to accommodate ourselves, but an imperative to find long-term results that future generations can live with.

At the risk of expanding on a cliché, it is through tunnelling that this will be achieved – is already being achieved, and has been largely entrenched into urban development strategies globally. Underground infrastructure development provides a means through which we foresee a lasting offset to environmental impacts as a result of urbanisation. And for the Sub-Saharan region, this SANCOT symposium held special significance. In the near future, water shortages, roads, rail, urban networks, access to raw materials through mining, the establishment of storage facilities to hold grain, for underground cultivation or waste disposal, will become imperative to accommodate the approximately 2.5 billion people projected to occupy the African continent by 2050, less than 30 years from now.

SAIMM members honoured as Top Scholars in South Africa

assaf awards 2022Twenty-nine of the country’s leading scholars and scientists were inaugurated as Members of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) at the annual Awards Ceremony on 19 October 2022.

As the official Academy of South Africa, ASSAf has as core function to honour the country’s most outstanding scholars by electing them to Membership of the Academy. ASSAf Members are drawn from the full spectrum of disciplines.

New Members are elected each year by the full existing Membership. Membership of the Academy is a great honour and is in recognition of scholarly achievement. Members are the core asset of the Academy and give of their time and expertise voluntarily in the service of society.

The 29 new ASSAf Members bring the total Membership of ASSAf to 659.

The SAIMM is proud to announce that two of the new members are Prof Rodney Jones, a Past President (2015-2016) and a Fellow of the SAIMM, and Prof Aubrey Mainza, a Member of the SAIMM.

Their membership certificates were presented to them by the President of ASSAf, Prof Jonathan Jansen.

Corporate Partnerships

Corporate Partnerships09102022SAIMM is proud to partner with Implats and Sibanye Stillwater with the goal of establishing and entrenching not only strategic relationships, but useful and uplifting networks of people and professionals.
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SAIMM Statement on the Collapse of the Jagersfontein Mine Tailings Dam

The leadership and members of the SAIMM extend our heartfelt condolences to the families who have lost loved ones and belongings following the wall collapse of the Jagersfontein mine tailings dam in the Free State Province of South Africa on 11 September 2022.  We wish those who were injured a speedy recovery.  This was a tragedy that has not only caused loss of life and injuries, but also severe damage to infrastructure. 

The Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM) was launched in 2020.  The GISTM is a critical initiative responsible for tailings storage facility execution and management. SAIMM supports the principles of the GISTM.  Our members are working with their respective employers to achieve the objectives of the GISTM. SAIMM also has a Tailings Committee that strives to disseminate and share knowledge on this topic, and encourages industry thought leaders to participate in the conversation. 

An investigation has commenced to establish the cause of the Jagersfontein incident, and we encourage our members and the public not to speculate, but to allow the investigation to proceed and to focus our efforts in supporting remediation and restoration of services for the affected communities.

PRESS RELEASE: SAIMM honours former Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani

Mark Cutifani 12082022Credited with transforming one of the world’s biggest mining companies, mining veteran Mark Cutifani was awarded the Brigadier Stokes Memorial Award by the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM). The Award is considered to be the highest honour to be bestowed by the South African mining and metallurgical sector in recognition of meritorious service to the industry.

Mining veteran, Cutifani received the platinum medal during the online annual general meeting of the Institute on Thursday, 11 August 2022. The award was presented to Cutifani for his substantial contribution to the South African minerals industry.

SAIMM Annual General Meeting

Thursday, 11 August 2022 at 12:00,
via Zoom

To join us click here


1. Welcome
2. Confirmation of minutes
3. Obituaries
4. Honorary Life Fellowship
5. Brigadier Stokes Memorial Award
6. Announcement of awards, medals and certificates
7. Annual financial report for the year ended 30 June 2022
8. Declaration of election of Office Bearers and Members of Council for the year 2022/2023
9. Election of auditors and legal advisors for the year 2022/2023
10. Corporate Partnerships
11. SAIMM new offices
12. Outgoing Presidential Award
13. Induction of President—Z. Botha
14. Presidential address
15. Vote of thanks

Presidential Address

Collaboration and Diversity in STEM

Why do mega projects so often fail? If one of the reasons for failure is bad relationships, is there value in diversity and inclusion to foster collaboration during project execution? When we talk about diversity and inclusion, how do we foster involvement of our young would-be STEM engineers, to pursue a career in the STEM arena? How do we encourage women to sit at the STEM table and to participated in the conversation? According to neuroscience, when functioning in a group, the masculine brain tends to rank in order, where the feminine brain tends to side together (Dr Etienne van der Walt, MD Neurozone). Translated into working within a team, it seems like the masculine brain inspires goal setting and competition, whereas the feminine brain inspires collaboration and empathy. Could the merging of these two leadership styles foster collaboration and innovation? And what would be the role of the team leader in creating the space for a team to show up and do this work together?

Invitation to submit papers for the Data Science Journal edition

 The Journal of the SAIMM has the pleasure of inviting papers for a special edition that would fit into the theme:

Data Science – Enabling and Enhancing Future Intelligent Mining and Metallurgy’.

Authors can submit a paper here: Please select the Data Science section.
The deadline date for paper submissions: 31 August 2022

A Future Beyond Bricks and Mortar

A future 01042022 1The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world of work forever, as it catalyzed and brought forward changes to work arrangements for all companies. The Minerals Council as a progressive and agile organization also adapted to the ‘new For the last 132 years the Minerals Council (previously known as the Chamber of Mines) has had a leading presence in the inner city anchored in the Minerals Council building, which was constructed in 1921. It was a six-storey building, constructed in the Renaissance style with the Minerals Council taking occupancy at the end of 1921 and holding its first AGM in the building on 27 March 1922.

Passing of Professor Emeritus Huw Phillips

Passing of Professor Emeritus Huw Phillips
10 July 1947 – 26 January 2022

Dear Colleagues and Members

Prof Huw Phillips 27012022We learnt recently of the passing of Professor Emeritus Huw Phillips, a Wits stalwart renowned for his teaching, research, and leadership in mining engineering the world over. An integral part of the Wits community, Professor Phillips left an indelible mark in his field, and a legacy which will undoubtedly influence future generations of scholars. 

Professor Phillips served for over 27 years as a Full Professor in the School of Mining Engineering at Wits, during which time he supervised more than 20 PhDs and over 40 Masters students. A formidable administrator and leader, he served as the Head of Mining Engineering from 1986 for a period spanning over 25 years. He also served as the Chair of Mining Engineering until his retirement in 2012. He was appointed as an Emeritus Professor in 2013 and continued to supervise postgraduate students and to serve the University in various roles.  

In 2013, Professor Phillips was announced as the winner of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy’s prestigious Brigadier Stokes Memorial Award. He was also a Retired Fellow of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. He was lauded by the mining industry for his unique input and was honoured by the Institute of Mine Surveyors of South Africa, the Mine Ventilation Society of South Africa, and the International Society of Mining Professors.

Memorial service to mourn the loss of Professor Emeritus Huw Phillips who passed away after a short illness on January 26th.
The service will be held at 9:00am on Friday 04 February 2022.
The family, in recognising how many people, both here and around the world, knew and respected Professor Phillips, have arranged for the memorial service to be live-streamed HERE...

SAIMM on twitter

Other mining news

Mining Weekly | Africa

08 December 2023

The latest mining world news and project information from Africa. providing updates on the progress of future, new and existing projects. Developments in mining legislation, policies, investments and infrastructure will be highlighted
  • NextSource Materials appoints automotive veteran to its board
    Battery metals development company NextSource Materials has appointed automotive industry veteran Martina Buchhauser to its board of directors. The company, which is developing the Molo graphite mine, in Madagascar, says she has "a profound knowledge" of the automotive industry and its shift towards sustainable and low-carbon technologies. 
  • Anglo American preps sweeping cost cuts as price rout bites – sources
    Anglo American is preparing to freeze spending on growth and widen job cuts in South Africa, going far beyond its initial savings target and paving the way to mothballing some higher-cost platinum mines, sources familiar with the matter said. Anglo's sweeping spending cuts could be announced as soon as Friday, when the miner updates investors on its three-year outlook, five sources said.
  • Geopolitical tensions, continued central bank buying likely to support gold in 2024
    Gold had a strong 2023, defying expectations amid a high interest rate environment and outperforming commodities, bonds and most stock markets, the World Gold Council (WGC) says as it outlines possible scenarios for the gold market in 2024. In its ‘2024 Outlook on Gold’ report, published on December 7, the council states that market consensus is for a “soft landing” in the US, which should positively affect the global economy.