The Importance of Structural Geological Mapping and Slope Monitoring in Open Pit Slope Stability

CIM Vancouver 2002
Abstract The importance of structural geology in open pit slope stability is overlooked in many mining operations due to pressures to cut costs and minimize mine personnel. As a result, mine geology staff are often unable to keep up with geological mapping of the pit slopes due to other day to day production oriented tasks. In some instances, key structural controls that contribute to slope instability may not be identified until after a slope instability has initiated, at which time it may be difficult or impossible to delineate these features in the field. Even for small slopes, understanding the engineering and structural geology of the rock mass, as well as the effects of groundwater and blasting practices, are of key importance to slope stability.

Two case histories are presented as examples of mining operations that experienced slope instability with little more than anecdotal information about the structural and groundwater conditions encountered during mining. By conducting field reconnaissance, simple slope stability analyses and ongoing slope monitoring, practical remedial measures were implemented, allowing continued safe mining operation.

Keywords: Slope stability, Slope monitoring, Stability analyses, Rock mechanics, failure prediction, structural mapping, geotechnical design, slope remediation
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