Research Chairs

1. Harmony Chair


"To become the leading rock engineering research facility for the mining industry."

The University of Pretoria, in establishing the Harmony Gold Chair in rock engineering and numerical modelling in 2015, created a vehicle that could assist the South African Industry to continue research in rock engineering, and especially the use of numerical modelling techniques within the field. Ultimately this vehicle will be able to serve the whole mining industry and evaluate substantially more rock engineering issues than originally intended.

Aims and Objectives

Accepting that the Harmony Gold Chair will promote rock engineering research, the following are the updated aims and objectives of the Chair, which is in line with the general aims and objectives of the University of Pretoria:

  • To promote study and research in the field of rock engineering;
  • To further education and learning in the field of rock engineering at both under graduate and post-graduate levels in unison with the research and development efforts of the Chair;
  • To further the interaction between academic institutions and the Industry.

Click on the links below for further information about the Harmony Research Chair

  1. Research Projects
  2. Publications
  3. Study opportunities in Rock Enigneering
  4. General Rock Engineering Research
  5. Staff

2. AEL Mining Services Chair in Innovative Rock-breaking Technology 

The recently established AELMS Chair in Innovative Rock Breaking Technology Has initially been tasked to deliver on three projects.
  1. Developing a Methodology for Accurately and Efficiently Measuring Flyrock with the Intention of Eventually Optimising Flyrock Prediction Models

    This project was initiated following an investigation conducted on behalf of AELMS and Glencore’s Goedgevoden Mine. During the course of the investigation it became apparent from the literature survey that not much research has been conducted in this field in the past. The existing empirical prediction models for flyrock generation are mostly dependent on depth of burial of the explosive charge. To improve on these models a means of measuring flyrock other than the inadequate traditional physical observation of the final resting place of rocks had to be developed. Ideally the method should be able to determine the flight path of the rock and the initiation point and final landing point determined. The use of photogrammetry methods to capture the flight path of the flyrock are been pursued.
  2. EECE VR Visualisation Project

    This project is run by the EECE department at Pretoria University and aims at developing software capabilities to transform point cloud data from 2 dimensional images (e.g. taken from a drone) into a fully immersive 3 dimensional virtual reality experience.
  3. Using Virtual Reality Techniques to Facilitate and Enhance Training of AELMS personnel and Clients

Outcomes of this project are:

  • To provide a training solution in the form of simulations which can be used by the AEL trainers. For example, the blaster trainers could use the simulation to practice how to program the tagger in electronic detonators applications. This training programme could be built using game-based elements to motivate the trainers by bringing in that level of competition.
  • To provide an immersive solution for both training and assessment purposes in the form of a Virtual Reality solution. This solution will again include game-based elements allowing different scenarios will have to be identified and solved against time.






Published by Marietha Hicks

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