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No. 14 - June 2011


Welcome to Beijing

The ISRM 12th International Congress on Rock Mechanics, jointly organized by the ISRM national groups for China and Singapore, will be held in October 18-21, 2011 in Beijing, China. The congress venue is the China National Convention Center (CNCC), right next to Bird’s Nest and once served as the main press center and international broadcasting location of the 29th Olympic Games in 2008.

With a theme of "Harmonising Rock Mechanics and the Environment", the ISRM 2011 congress emphasizes the critical roles of rock mechanics and rock engineering in sustainable development and environment preservation. The 4-day technical event will serve as a platform where novel theories, technologies and ideas will collide and spark. In addition to the 4-day technical program,workshops, short courses, technical visits, exhibitions and social programs will be organised, meetings and functions of ISRM Board, council and commissions and other ISRM related activities will also take place in conjunction with the congress. Most importantly, the ISRM will celebrate her 50th anniversary during the congress.

Seven organizing committee meetings have been held, following the kick-off meeting in Singapore on November 10, 2006. Great efforts have been devoted into the preparation of the congress, including fund raising, selection of congress venue, website construction, promotion and advertisement, invitation of keynote speakers, call for papers, paper review and edition, program arrangement, and selection of technical tours, etc. At this stage, paper submission and edition have been completed. The congress program has been formulated and will be available online soon. For more updated information on the congress, please visit the congress website at . Especially, the early-bird registration has been extended to July 31, 2011. Please grab the opportunity to enjoy the early-bird rate. We look forward to seeing you in this golden Autumn.


Sincerely yours


For more information visit the Congress website at .

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ISRM 2012 International Symposium - Eurock 2012, Stockholm, 28-30 May
Rock Engineering & Technology for Sustainable Underground Construction

The Swedish National Group of ISRM will host the ISRM Eurock 2012 in Stockholm during 28-30 May 2012, jointly with BeFo, which houses the Secretariat of the Swedish National Group of ISRM. The symposium aims at presenting and discussing new, sustainable development related to underground projects including mining with the emphasis on the complexity and the need for interaction between different disciplines. It is still possible to send abstract as submission date has been extended until August 15 2011.

Keynote speakers:  

  • Dr. Johan Andersson, JA Streamflow AB, Sweden
  • Dr. Robert Sturk, Skanska-Vinci, Sweden
  • Prof. Håkan Stille, Royal Sweden
  • Prof. Roger Flanagan, UK

  Theme Opening Lectures:

  • Prof. Xia-Ting Feng, China
  • Prof. Charlie Chunlin Li, Norway
  • Prof. Wulf Schubert, Austria
  • Prof. Uday Kumar, Sweden
  • Prof. John Hadjigeorgiou, Canada

Three pre-symposium workshops will be held May 27 and a Special Business Workshop “Going Underground” will take place May 28.

Meetings of the ISRM Board, Commission Groups and the ISRM Council will take place during two days before the Symposium.

A Field Trip to Northern Sweden will take off May 24-25. Three Technical Tours on May 31: Sight visit to Norra Länken/City banan in Stockholm organized by the Swedish Transport Administration, a visit to the Dannemora Mine and a visit to Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory in Figeholm organized by the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB).

Social program includes welcome reception (May 27), Gala Dinner (May 29) and Spouse program.

Further information visit the conference website: .

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7th Asian Rock Mechanics Symposium - Seoul, Korea, October 15-17, 2012
an ISRM regional symposium

The Korean Society for Rock Mechanics (KSRM) - Korean National Group of ISRM - extends a cordial invitation to the international community to attend the 7th Asian Rock Mechanics Symposium, an ISRM regional symposium. The event will be held on October 15-17, 2012 in Seoul, Korea; it is a timely celebration of the 1st Asian Rock Mechanics Symposium that took place fifteen years ago in the same location.

The theme of the Symposium is ‘The Present and Future of Rock Engineering.’ The symposium intends to cover all aspects of rock mechanics, from theories to engineering practices, emphasizing the future direction of rock engineering technologies.

The venue for the symposium is located in the heart of Seoul, with convenient access to subways, restaurants and hotels. This event will be an excellent opportunity to contemplate the present and future of rock engineering, as well as to enjoy traditional and modern Seoul. On behalf of the KSRM, I am delighted to welcome all of you and look forward to meeting you in Seoul.

Dr. Kong-Chang Han, President of KSRM

Click here to download the first circular , or visit the Symposium website at .

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ISRM sponsored meetings

  • 14-16 October 2011, Beijing, China – 2nd ISRM International Young Scholars' Symposium on Rock Mechanics : an ISRM Specialized Conference
  • 16-21 October 2011, Beijing, China – Harmonizing Rock Mechanics and the Environment : the ISRM 12th International Congress on Rock Mechanics
  • 27-30 May 2012, Stockholm, Sweden – EUROCK 2012 Rock Engineering and Technology : the 2012 ISRM International Symposium
  • 15-17 October 2012, Seoul, Korea – ARMS 7 – The present and Future of Rock Engineering : the 2012 ISRM Asian Regional Symposium
  • 23-26 September 2013, Wroclaw, Poland – EUROCK 2013 Rock Mechanics for Resources, Energy and Environment : the 2012 ISRM European Regional Symposium
  • 29 April-5 May 2015, Montréal, Canada – Innovations in Applied and Theoretical Rock Mechanics : the ISRM 13th International Congress on Rock Mechanics

Click here to view the list of ISRM Sponsored Conferences .

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Election of the Regional ISRM Vice Presidents 2011-2015

Election of the ISRM Regional Vice Presidents 2011-2015 will take place at the Council meeting to be held on 17 October 2011 in Beijing, China. The following nominations were received:

- Mr Jacques Lucas, nominated by the NG South Africa

- Prof. Yuzo Ohnishi, nominated by the NG Japan
- Dr Zhou Yingxin, nominated by the NG Singapore

- Dr David Beck, nominated by the NG Australia

- Prof. Scott Kieffer, nominated by the NG Austria
- Prof. Gian Paolo Giani, nominated by the NG Italy
- Prof. Frederic Pellet, nominated by the NG France

- Dr John Tinucci, nominated by the NG USA

- Dr Antonio Samaniego, nominated by the NG Peru

As part of the current ISRM Board’s modernisation programme, the Board wishes to ensure that ISRM members have the opportunity to learn about the candidates’ experience and intentions. Accordingly, we have asked the candidates to provide 10 minute videos of their background and intentions. T hese videos will be uploaded in July on the ISRM website, from where the candidates’ nomination documents can be also downloaded.

Click here to go to the Vice President's election page on the ISRM website.

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Ivan Vrkljan interviews Nick Barton

Dr. Nick Barton was interviewed by Prof. Ivan Vrkljan during Dr. Barton's stay in Croatia from 1 to 6 June 2011.

Dr. Barton came to Zagreb to hold a short course entitled "Rock Engineering for Tunnels (Drill-and-Blast and TBM), Pre-Grouting, Caverns, Dam Abutments, Rock Slopes and Rockfill". The course was organized by the Croatian Geotechnical Society (CGS) and the event was hosted by the Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering of the University of Zagreb. Dr. Barton also gave the 10th Nonveiller Lecture entitled: "Pre-Grouting for Water Control and for Rock Mass Property Improvement". Nonveiller Lectures are organized by the Croatian Geotechnical Society in honour and memory of professor Ervin Nonveiller. On the occasion of this lecture, CGS awarded the plaque of recognition to Dr. Barton in deep appreciation of the scientific and professional support given to the Croatian Geotechnical Society.

Ivan Vrkljan is a Full Professor for the Engineering Rock Mechanics at the Faculty of Civil Engineering of the University of Rijeka, and the Head of Geotechnical Laboratory at the Institut IGH in Zagreb. He is also the Secretary General of the Croatian Geotechnical Society.

Click here to download the interview.

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ick Barton

Ivan Vrkljan

Rock Engineering Design - a new book by Xia-Ting Feng and John A.Hudson

The book was published by CRC Press / Balkema in June 2011 and is a product of the Commission on Rock Engineering Design Methodology of the ISRM . Written by two eminent authors, this illustrated guidebook will benefit engineers, contractors, clients, researchers, lecturers and advanced students who are working on rock engineering projects in civil, mining, geological and construction engineering. The book is organised in the following eight chapters.

1. Introduction
2. The ways ahead for rock engineering design methodologies
3. Flowcharts for rock engineering modelling and design
4. Specifying the information required for rock mechanics modeling and rock engineering design
5. Technical auditing of rock mechanics modelling and rock engineering design
6. Case example of the design and construction of a rock slope
Case example of the design and construction of a large underground hydroelectric powerhouse in a deep valley region
8. Protocol Sheets
9. Illustrative example of the Protocol Sheets use
10. Concluding remarks

Click here to download the brochure .

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50th Anniversary ISRM Commemorative Logo

Dr Ludger Suarez-Burgoa from Colombia won the competition launched by the ISRM for a commemorative logo of its 50th anniversary. Ludger is also a member of the ISRM Young Members' Presidential Group.

The logo will be used by the ISRM during the period of commemorations, which will start in the Beijing Congress, in October 2011, and will end in the ISRM International Symposium in Stockholm, in May 2012.

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ISRM 50th Anniversary Young Members’ Slide Show Competition
“The Future Directions for Engineering Rock Mechanics"
Deadline is 15 July 2011

In October 2011, the International Society for Rock Mechanics will begin the celebrations to commemorate its 50th anniversary; these celebrations will include a number of special events and initiatives.

One of the initiatives consists of a competition open to Young Members of the ISRM to present their vision of “The Future Directions for Engineering Rock Mechanics”. Candidates are asked to prepare a fully explanatory PowerPoint slide show explaining, illustrating and justifying their ideas.

The winner will be invited to present the slide show at the Second ISRM International Young Scholars' Symposium on Rock Mechanics, which will take place in Beijing, China, on 14-16 October 2011, i.e. immediately preceding the 12th ISRM International Congress also being held in Beijing. In addition, the winning slide show will be announced and published on the ISRM website. The winner will also be formally acknowledged with a certificate during the ISRM Congress.

It is anticipated that the winner will be granted a financial contribution to the air travel costs (if necessary) plus free registration and inexpensive accommodation at both the Young Scholars’ Symposium on Rock Mechanics and the ISRM Congress in Beijing.

The ISRM invites all its members who are aged 35 years or less during 2011 to submit a PowerPoint slide show on their vision of “The Future Directions for Engineering Rock Mechanics”. The slide show must be presented in English, and consist of exactly 40 slides and shall be submitted to the ISRM Secretariat ( ) not later than 15 July 2011.

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ISRM Rocha Medal 2013 - nominations to be received by 31 December 2011

Nominations for the Rocha Medal 2013 are to be received by the ISRM Secretariat by 31 December 2011. The winner will be announced during the 2012 ISRM International Symposium in Stockholm, Sweden, in May 2012, and will be invited to receive the award and deliver a lecture at the 2013 ISRM International Symposium.

The Rocha Medal has been awarded annually by the ISRM, since 1982, for an outstanding doctoral thesis in rock mechanics or rock engineering, to honour the memory of Past President Manuel Rocha while stimulating young researchers. Besides the Rocha medal awarded to the winner, one or 2 runner-up certificates may also be awarded.

Click here to download the announcement with details on the Rocha Medal 2013 .

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News from the ISRM in Asia

The year 2011 is packed with Rock Mechanics and Engineering activities and events in Asia. The ISRM national Groups for China and Singapore are jointly heading for the 12th ISRM International Congress on Rock Mechanics to be held on 18-21 October 2011 in Beijing. In addition to the 4-day technical program, workshops, short courses, technical visits, exhibitions and social programs are organized.

Korean National Group (KSRM) is celebrating its 30th anniversary by organizing a special festive event on 29 - 30 September 2011. The event is expected to be joined by over 150 national participants and a number of international guest speakers.

In conjunction with the 12th ISRM Congress in Beijing, a post-congress tour is scheduled in Gyeongju, Korea on 21-22 October 2011. Participants of this event will have unique opportunities to visit the first underground repository for nuclear waste as well as one of the oldest cultural heritages in Korea. Details of this trip are available at the website of the12th ISRM Congress.

7th Asian Rock Mechanics Symposium is scheduled to be held on 15-19 October 2012 in Seoul. Information regarding this symposium is available at the website ( ).

Indian National Group of ISRM, Central Board of Irrigation & Power (CBIP) and Jaypee University of Information Technology (JUIT) jointly organized a Workshop on “Construction of Dams and Tunnels in Weak Rocks” at JUIT in Himachal Pradesh State of India on 25 and 26 May 2011.

Dr. Zhou Yingxin and Prof. Yuzo Ohnishi were nominated by the National Groups of Singapore and Japan respectively for the ISRM Vice President’s election to be held at the Asian Council Meeting prior to 12th ISRM Congress in Beijing for the term 2011-2015.

4th Iranian Rock Mechanics Conference is scheduled to be held on 19-20 July 2011 in Tehran. Professor Maurice B. Dusseault, Professor Xia-Ting Feng, Professor Ajay Ghose, Dr. Daniel Francois Malan, Professor Nielen Van Der Merwe and Dr. Anthony G. Meyers will deliver keynote speeches during this conference.

Abdolhadi Ghazvinian,
Vice-President for Asia, ISRM

SANIRE offsets its 2010 carbon footprint by planting trees

In 2010, SANIRE Council supported the implementation of ‘green rules’ to reduce the impact of the institute’s activities on the natural environment with a green levy of R30 per member per year to be deducted from the member fees. This project was the brain child of Mr Friedemann Essrich. In 2010/11, a total of R10 920 was collected in this way. In order to put these funds to the best possible use, SANIRE approached FTFA (Food and Trees for Africa at ), to identify possible projects within communities affected by mining. The funds were sufficient to purchase and plant 122 indigenous trees and three rural schools around Rustenburg were identified as beneficiaries:

  • 30 trees for Mperebere Primary School (Lerume Township)
  • 40 trees for Bakgofa Intermediary School (Ledage)
  • 52 trees for Borite Primary School (Mokgwase/Mabeleapudi)

FTFA arranged for trees of a minimum 1m height, compost for planting, a digging crew to dig holes before the auspicious day (phew!), and instruction cards branded with the sponsor's details for each tree. The trees chosen for the day included Rhus lancea (Karee), Oleaeuropaea subsp. africana (Wild Olive / Olienhout) and Combretum erythrophyllum (River Bushwillow / Vaderlandswilg).

On Friday, 11 March 2011, Les Gardner, Wouter van Aarde and Friedemann Essrich – kitted out with hard hats and spades - met up with Sipho Mathe and Emmanuel Sinthumule from FTFA at the Sun City Gates.

The first stop was Mperebere Primary School where learners were patiently awaiting the 'dignitaries' arrival. A ceremonial table had centre stage underneath a Scented Thorn ( Accacia nilotica subsp. kraussiana ) and chairs for the learners were crowded into its shade, but many had to endure the sun. Proceedings were opened with scripture and prayer, followed by a poem, a dance group, several drama groups and many thanks and festivities before moving along to 'the purpose of the day'.

The Bakgofa contingent had patiently waited for SANIRE to arrive, understanding the complexities of 'african time' and issued a very warm welcome to the visitors. The learners sat around the square and the dignitaries were again seated at ceremonial tables laden with snacks – luckily in the cool shade of the patio. The event was opened with prayer and then an extended introduction of all the persons involved with the day's program. The students entertained the guests with poems, song and drama – all themed on tree planting, as were the decorations. With time running out, the tree planting demonstration was held in the school yard before groups again split off to plant their trees. Within an hour another 40 trees were planted with the enthusiastic aid of the learners. Luckily FTFA had already planted the trees at the 3rd school.

Members of Sanire who were involved in the tree planting initiative. From left to right are Wouter van Aarde, Les Gardner (New SANIRE president) and Friedemann Essrich.

One of the trees that were planted in the Sun City area with the SANIRE tag attached to it.

Francois Malan
ISRM Vice President for Africa

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Small in-pit radar increases safety in open cut mines

Always on the minds of persons working within open cut pits is the possibility for sections of a wall to detach suddenly and, with minimal warning, bring down tonnes of rock.

Since 2003 one of the most significant contributions to in-pit safety has been the development, application and refinement of in-pit radar for monitoring wall movement. Radar systems are now in use throughout the world. These systems have been designed to continuously monitor entire walls, or even entire pits, for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

There has however not been an easy to use rugged mobile system available that is specifically designed to target just the work zone around where a crew is working.

To address this issue, GroundProbe ( ) has released the Work Area Monitor (WAM). The WAM is a small high resolution radar that is mounted on a light mine vehicle which enables it to be deployed quickly to a work zone. Once there, it can be set up and running in less than a minute; a camera and radar enabling the work crew to quickly select the area to be monitored. The system continuously monitors that area for movements of large rocks or loose material as opposed to bench sized movements monitored by larger in-pit radar systems.

When the WAM detects movement it alerts the work crews via wireless Personal Alerts that display emergency text messages, audio, visual and vibrating alerts while at the same time sounding local lights and sirens to warn miners.

Tony Meyers
ISRM Vice President for Australasia

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Slope Stability 2011 - Vancouver, Canada, 18-21 September

The Organizing Committee for Slope Stability 2011, together with the Canadian Rock Mechanics Association (CARMA), would like to invite you to Vancouver to discuss the challenges being faced in the design and management of large open pits in mining and the innovative solutions being developed in response to these challenges. This symposium will offer the complete professional development experience, together with short courses, social events, and other activities that will ensure a busy and enjoyable meeting in the city often rated as one of the World’s most desirable cities to live.

Slope Stability 2011 marks the return of this symposium series to Vancouver, where in 1970, the first "International Conference on Stability in Open Pit Mining" was held. This meeting was followed by a second meeting in Vancouver the following year. The purpose of these conferences was to review the state-of-the-art in pit slope engineering in practical terms. The conferences that followed included a third meeting in Vancouver in 1981 and a fourth meeting in Denver in 2000, which adopted the shortened name Slope Stability 2000. Subsequent meetings include those in Johannesburg (2006), Perth (2007), and Santiago (2009).

The Technical Program will examine the transformation our profession is undergoing as unprecedented amounts of quantitative data become available through new measurement and analysis techniques. The question is, how do we make sense of all the numbers and data that are now available? Topics to be considered include:

  • Assessment and implications of uncertainty
  • Ground water and in-situ stress
  • Monitoring and managing slope movements
  • Numerical analysis and design methods
  • Open pit-underground mining interactions
  • Pit closure and decommissioning
  • Remote sensing applications
  • Rock mass characterization for large rock slopes
  • Rockfalls - analysis and control
  • Slope design and acceptance criteria
  • Slope design in arctic conditions and extreme climates
  • Slope excavation, blasting techniques and quality control
  • Slope failure mechanisms
  • Slope performance, optimization and risk
  • Support, drainage and stabilisation of slopes

Click here to go to the conference's website.

Tony Meyers
ISRM Vice President for Australasia

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8th WBI-International shortcourse - 5 days on Advanced Rock Engineering

  The WBI-International Shortcourse on Advanced Rock Engineering will take place at the WBI Head Office in Aachen, Germany, from 15 to 19 September 2010. The course will cover the following topics:
  • Fundamentals - Modelling, Investigation, Testing, Exercises
  • Analyses - Wedge Type, Finite Elements, Exercises
  • Tunnels - NATM, TBM, Design Concept, Case Studies, Exercises
  • Dam foundation - Investigation, Analyses, Grouting, Drainage, Monitoring, Case Studies, Exercises
  • Slopes - Investigation, Analyses, Stabilization, Case Studies, Exercises
For more information, click here to download the announcement or visit

Claus Erichsen, 
Vice-President at Large, ISRM

ISRM Secretariat, c/o LNEC, Av. Brasil, 101, 1700-066 Lisboa, PORTUGAL
Tel: (+351) 218443419; Fax: (+351) 218443021; Website: ; E-mail:
Opening image credits: ISRM Slide Collection, photo by Professor John A. Hudson
© 2011 ISRM; Editor: Luís Lamas; Webmaster: Ricardo Resende

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