Rock Engineering 2009 - Rock Engineering in Difficult Conditions
Erik Eberhardt, Michael Van Den Heever, Alan Stewart,
Abstract The demand for base metals has influenced mining companies to push boundaries of mine design by producing deeper and larger open pit mines, and becoming more commonly associated with underground operations. As a function of these larger mines, complex slope movements are becoming prevalent within open pit slopes causing safety and financial concerns. To better plan for future developments, the study of geological and geomechanical structures and their resulting control on the slope deformation of existing cases involving steep and deep pits (with and without the co-existence of underground mining operations) becomes essential. Advances have been made improving the ability to monitor and observe these complex movements through a variety of state-of-the-art monitoring techniques, however, geodetic monitoring still represents the most relied upon data set for early warning detection of changing slope movements. Numerical modeling has been shown to greatly assist in the understanding of complex subsurface processes. Due to simplifications made in models, often the results do not correlate well with actual monitoring records. An understanding of the kinematic controls of complex slope displacement gained from the review of monitoring data improves the ability to simplify numerical models to represent more realistic models. Review of recent field mapping data completed at Palabora Mine in South Africa by University of British Columbia in collaboration with Rio Tinto and Simon Fraser University, assists in the understanding of the importance of geological structure and kinematic controls on pit slope stability.
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