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Safety in Mines Research Advisory Committee
Final Project Report

A holistic assessment of SIMRAC

rock-related research to date
R.J. Durrheim, E.T. Brown, P.K. Kaiser

and H. Wagner

Research agency: CSIR

Project number: SIM 04 02 06

Date: February 2006

Executive summary

Since the establishment of the South African Safety in Mines Research Advisory Committee (SIMRAC) in 1991, more than R250 million has been spent on rock-related research, representing some 500 man-years of effort. The improvement in injury and fatality rates was initially disappointing, but the coal sector has shown a marked improvement since 1999 and the gold sector since 2003. This study seeks to assess holistically the scope, quality, and impact of the SIMRAC research programme to ensure that the maximum benefit is derived from past work, and that future research work is appropriately directed. The information, conclusions, and recommendations contained in this report are intended to support SIMRAC decision makers for the next decade, at least.

The Status Report enables stakeholders to derive the maximum benefit from SIMRAC’s past investment in rock-related research by structuring and analysing the large body of completed work and work in progress. SIMRAC projects have been reviewed, evaluated, and compared with similar efforts in Australia, Canada, and Europe, as well as several local collaborative research programmes (DeepMine, FutureMine, Coaltech 2020 and PlatMine). The evaluation by an independent panel of international experts ensures that the assessment is unbiased and benchmarked against global best practice. It has been concluded that SIMRAC has succeeded in identifying the major research needs and has conducted a comprehensive programme of research. SIMRAC has contributed to the emergence of new technologies, such as systems for seismic monitoring and analysis, dip-pillar mining layouts, preconditioning, and prestressed elongates. SIMRAC research has also contributed to the work of the collaborative research programmes and the formulation of the codes of practice to combat rockfall and rockburst accidents. The relatively small impact on safety statistics is attributed to: the increasing depth of mining; the increasing proportion of remnant and pillar mining; the long lead-time for new knowledge to be implemented; and shortcomings in the knowledge and technology transfer process. It must be noted that implementation is not driven by researchers, but by industry and regulators. It has been found that the scope and quality of the research work is comparable to efforts in Australia, Canada, and Europe.

The Foresight Report is intended to enable SIMRAC to deploy funds and resources optimally in future, ensuring that any important knowledge and technology gaps are filled, and that research efforts are strategically focused. It is recommended that SIMRAC’s mandate be reviewed to recognise the critical importance of rejuvenating competence. Greater emphasis must be placed on knowledge and technology transfer and implementation, though new funds will have to be sought for implementation activities, as the research budget has declined to a dangerously low level. It is desirable that universities play a larger role in the research endeavour so that the pool of highly qualified rock engineering practitioners is enlarged. Focus areas for research remain the measures to mitigate and manage the rockburst and rockfall risk. Emerging rock-related hazards associated with coal pillar and multi-seam mining, small-scale mining, and deep platinum mining should be proactively addressed. The research portfolio should cover the entire innovation cycle, ranging from basic science, engineering, risk assessment, and human issues, to technology transfer and the assessment of the impact of implemented technologies.

The Status Report and Foresight Report are supplemented by a Powerpoint slide show that makes the findings explicit to high-level decision makers who are not rock engineering specialists.


The authors are indebted to the following individuals who provided valuable insights into the research endeavour in general and rock-related research in particular.

Adams, Duncan Mine Health & Safety Council

Baxter, Roger Chamber of Mines of South Africa

Beukes, Johann Coaltech 2020

*Bosman, Koos Open House Management Solutions

*Day, Alan Lonmin

*Diering, David Anglogold Ashanti

*Dunn, Michael Anglogold Ashanti

*Ebrahim-Trollope, Ms Shana GeoHydroSeis c.c.

*Gcilitshana, Eric National Union of Mineworkers

Granville, Dr Arnold CSIR Mining Technology

Jager, Tony CSIR Mining Technology

James, Dr John PlatMine

Johnson, Roger Anglo Platinum

*Klokow, Johan Gold Fields

Makuluma, Dr Hlombe CSIR Mining Technology

Molapo, Dr Matseliso CSIR Mining Technology

*Laas, Johan Anglogold Ashanti

*Minney, Dave Anglocoal

*Morallana, Joseph National Union of Mineworkers

Roberts, Dr Mike CSIR Mining Technology

*Rymon-Lipinsky, Dr Woody Department of Minerals and Energy

Spottiswoode, Dr Steve CSIR Mining Technology

*Stacey, Prof. Dick University of the Witwatersrand

Strydom, Johan CSIR Defence Technology

Taute, Dr Barend CSIR Crime Prevention Centre

Van der Heever, Paul Mine Health & Safety Council

*Van der Merwe, Prof. Nielen University of Pretoria

Van der Woude, Sietse Chamber of Mines of South Africa

Van Niekerk, Ms Elna CSIR Transportation Technology

*Van Wijk, Johann BHP Billiton

Venter, Dr Pieter CSIR Transportation Technology
* indicates persons interviewed as part of the Survey of Stakeholders (see Appendix D).



Executive summary 2

Acknowledgements 3

Contents 4

List of figures 7

List of tables 7

1Introduction 8

2Methodology 10

2.1Literature survey 10

2.2Research inventory 11

2.3International review panel 11

2.4Sense-making techniques 12

2.4.1Mind map 12

2.4.2Cynefin framework 15

2.4.3Scenario planning and technology roadmapping 16

2.4.4Knowledge fingerprinting and mining 17

2.5Survey of stakeholders 17

3Status Report: A holistic assessment of rock-related research 19

3.1SIMRAC (1991 – present) 19

3.1.1Background and mission 19

3.1.2Scope 19

3.1.3Review of SIMRAC processes and outputs 22 of research needs 22 research 24 research / engineering 25 factor 27 assessment 27 of knowledge and technology 28 29 the impact of research 29

3.2 Other research programmes 30

3.2.1Chamber of Mines Research Organisation (1964 - 1993) 30

3.2.2DeepMine (1998 - 2002) 30 of geological structures ahead of mining 31 layouts and methods 32 support 32 management 33 development and support 33 of men, material and rock 34 transfer 35

3.2.3FutureMine (2001 - 2004) 35 methods and systems 35 processes 36

3.2.4Coaltech 2020 (1999 - present) 37 reserve utilization 37 mining 39 mining 40 environment 41 and social aspects 41

3.2.5PlatMine (2003 - present) 42 support 42 characterisation 43 design 44

3.2.6Shotcrete working group 44

3.2.7International collaborative research projects 45 earthquake generation experiments 45 active faults in South African mines 45

3.3Emerging technologies for the prevention and control of rockbursts 46

3.3.1Mine planning and development 46

3.3.2Macro-layouts and regional support 47

3.3.3Micro-layouts and local support 48

3.3.4Rockbreaking technologies 48

3.3.5Summary 49

3.4Research resources 49

3.4.1Human resources 49

3.4.2Funding 50

3.4.3Equipment and facilities 51

3.5Assessment 51

3.5.1Stakeholder perceptions 51 of research 51 and quality of research 51 / SIMPROSS processes 52 / technology transfer and implementation 52

3.5.2International review panel 52 of research 52 management and resources 53 and quality of research 53 / technology transfer and implementation 53

3.6Findings 54 of research 54 and quality of research 54, SIMPROSS & research supplier issues 56 resources 57

4Foresight Report: Priorities for rock-related research 57

4.1Trends in the mining industry 57

4.1.1Global trends 57 Sources 57 Trends 59 trends 59 factors 60 prospects for rock-related research 60

4.1.2South African trends 60 Sources 60 and political trends 61 challenges and trends 61 factor 61

4.2Lessons from other endeavours to improve safety and health 62

4.2.1Crime Prevention 62

4.2.2Road safety 63

4.2.3HIV/AIDS management 64

4.2.4Common themes 66

4.3Research priorities 66

4.3.1People 66

4.3.2Continuity 67

4.3.3A proactive approach 67

4.3.4Integration 67

4.4Recommendations 68

4.4.1Mandate 68

4.4.2Research, development and implementation strategy 68

4.4.3Research management 70

5Conclusions 70

References 72


A - Catalogue of rock-related research projects 77

B - Directory of researchers 103

C – Inventory of research equipment and facilities 108

D – Survey of stakeholders 112

Questionnaire 114

Mr Koos Bosman 124

Mr Alan Day 134

Mr David Diering 142

Messrs Michael Dunn and Johan Laas 148

Ms Shana Ebrahim-Trollope 156

Messrs Joseph Morallana and Eric Gcilitshana 166

Mr Johan Klokow 172

Mr Dave Minney 178

Dr. Wlodzimierz Rymon-Lipinski 188

Prof. Dick Stacey 194

Prof. Nielen van der Merwe 204

Mr Johann van Wijk 214

E – Report: Prof. E. T. Brown 224

F – Report: Prof. P. K. Kaiser 250

G – Report: Prof. H. Wagner 283

H – Research contract 287

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