Utilizing Strain Criteria to Predict Highwall Stability Performance

CIM Edmonton 2004
H. Warren Newcomen, Dean R. Brox,
Abstract Assessments of the stability performance of open pit highwalls have traditionally been based on consideration of surface movement rates. Although generally accepted in industry, this approach presents challenges for establishing appropriate threshold values to allow for safe mining operations and does not address the issue of total strain. Surface movement monitoring data from a limited number of open pit mining operations in North and South America has been evaluated in terms of highwall strain, rock mass quality and inferred mechanism of instability. Threshold strain levels for key stages of highwall stability proposed from previous work have been reviewed and are generally endorsed based on evaluation of additional data. An empirical highwall strain criteria for the assessment of highwall stability performance is postulated based on the observed trends in highwall strain data from the case histories presented.

Keywords: Rock mechanics, Strain, Open pit mining, geotechnical
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