The Mechanics of Waste Dump Instability on Steeply Sloping Terrain

CIM MineSpace 2001
Abstract Developments in mining methods and rates have led to an increase in the frequency and size of waste dump failures that have not been adequately predicted or explained in terms of conventional slope stability analysis. Monitoring data and visual observations suggest a unique mode of failure responsible for large runout events. A numerical model has been developed to capture commonly observed patterns of deformation, and investigate the formation of the ensuing failure mechanism. The analyses have yielded a good correlation with observed field behaviour and have provided significant insight into the coincident stresses and deformations within the dump. Results indicate that while creep effects in the waste dump could have a significant effect on the magnitudes of displacement, the overall dump stability is governed by the strength of the foundation soils underlying the toe region. Consideration of both the stress and velocity fields leads to factors of safety for various dump heights and foundation slopes that are approximately 66% less than predicted from limit equilibrium analysis. The results suggest potential inadequacies of conventional limit equilibrium analysis techniques when applied to the stability and design of waste dumps on steeply sloping terrain.
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