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Nielen van der Merwe
Nielen van der Merwe was born in 1947. He obtained the B.Sc. in Mining Engineering at the University of Pretoria S. AFRICA (1972), the M.Sc. (Eng.) at the University of Witwatersrand S. AFRICA (1984), and the Ph.D. also at the University of Witwatersrand (1991).
He started his professional activity in 1972 at Gold Fields of SA Ltd., where he reached the position of Chief Rock Mechanics Engineer (1976-1978). From 1979 to 1984 he was engaged as Rock Mechanics Manager and Consultant on Rock Mechanics problems by Gencor Company (1979-1984). He was Founder of the Strata Control Department, Consultant to 5 mines on Rock Mechanics matters, and finally Manager on Scientific Technology Development at Sasol Coal Division (1984-1997). He acted as Managing Director at ITASCA Africa (PTY) Ltd (1997-1999), and from 1999 as Programme Manager on Rock Engineering at the CSIR Mining Technology. After six years as Professor and Head of the Mining Engineering Department at the University of Pretoria, he is now back on the private sector with his own consultant company.
Prof. van der Merwe has played an important role in the South African National Group on Rock Mechanics both as Member of the Executive Committee (1983 to date) and as President (1992-1996). In 1999 he became President of the South African National Institute of Rock Engineering – SANIRE. From 2003 he became President of the ISRM, after having acted as Vice President for Africa from 1995 to 1999.
He is Fellow of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, of SANIRE, and of the South African Colliery Managers Association. He is also a Fellow of the South African Academy of Engineering.
He is author of more than 40 technical papers and of two handbooks on practical Coal Mine Rock Engineering.