ABSTRACT: The structuring of rock engineering in South Africa is briefly outlined. The mining industry is dominated by large groups and rock engineering input is provided by in-house specialists rather than external consultants. Safety related research is predominantly concentrated in a single organisation, funded by an accident related levy and controlled by a committee system with strong industry representation. The South African National Group on Rock Mechanics utilises regional branches to serve specialist needs of its members.

Despite significant advances in rock mechanics and greatly enhanced understanding of rock behaviour, mining methods have not undergone meaningful developments in the last seventy years. However, latest developments are very promising and the stage is set for dramatic breakthroughs.

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