Commenced in January 2007
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Paper Count: 3

Search results for: open pit mine

3 Considerations for Effectively Using Probability of Failure as a Means of Slope Design Appraisal for Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Rock Masses

Authors: Neil Bar, Andrew Heweston

Abstract:

Probability of failure (PF) often appears alongside factor of safety (FS) in design acceptance criteria for rock slope, underground excavation and open pit mine designs. However, the design acceptance criteria generally provide no guidance relating to how PF should be calculated for homogeneous and heterogeneous rock masses, or what qualifies a ‘reasonable’ PF assessment for a given slope design. Observational and kinematic methods were widely used in the 1990s until advances in computing permitted the routine use of numerical modelling. In the 2000s and early 2010s, PF in numerical models was generally calculated using the point estimate method. More recently, some limit equilibrium analysis software offer statistical parameter inputs along with Monte-Carlo or Latin-Hypercube sampling methods to automatically calculate PF. Factors including rock type and density, weathering and alteration, intact rock strength, rock mass quality and shear strength, the location and orientation of geologic structure, shear strength of geologic structure and groundwater pore pressure influence the stability of rock slopes. Significant engineering and geological judgment, interpretation and data interpolation is usually applied in determining these factors and amalgamating them into a geotechnical model which can then be analysed. Most factors are estimated ‘approximately’ or with allowances for some variability rather than ‘exactly’. When it comes to numerical modelling, some of these factors are then treated deterministically (i.e. as exact values), while others have probabilistic inputs based on the user’s discretion and understanding of the problem being analysed. This paper discusses the importance of understanding the key aspects of slope design for homogeneous and heterogeneous rock masses and how they can be translated into reasonable PF assessments where the data permits. A case study from a large open pit gold mine in a complex geological setting in Western Australia is presented to illustrate how PF can be calculated using different methods and obtain markedly different results. Ultimately sound engineering judgement and logic is often required to decipher the true meaning and significance (if any) of some PF results.

Keywords: Probability of failure, point estimate method, Monte-Carlo simulations, sensitivity analysis, slope stability.

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2 Strategic Mine Planning: A SWOT Analysis Applied to KOV Open Pit Mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Authors: Patrick May Mukonki

Abstract:

KOV pit (Kamoto Oliveira Virgule) is located 10 km from Kolwezi town, one of the mineral rich town in the Lualaba province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The KOV pit is currently operating under the Katanga Mining Limited (KML), a Glencore-Gecamines (a State Owned Company) join venture. Recently, the mine optimization process provided a life of mine of approximately 10 years withnice pushbacks using the Datamine NPV Scheduler software. In previous KOV pit studies, we recently outlined the impact of the accuracy of the geological information on a long-term mine plan for a big copper mine such as KOV pit. The approach taken, discussed three main scenarios and outlined some weaknesses on the geological information side, and now, in this paper that we are going to develop here, we are going to highlight, as an overview, those weaknesses, strengths and opportunities, in a global SWOT analysis. The approach we are taking here is essentially descriptive in terms of steps taken to optimize KOV pit and, at every step, we categorized the challenges we faced to have a better tradeoff between what we called strengths and what we called weaknesses. The same logic is applied in terms of the opportunities and threats. The SWOT analysis conducted in this paper demonstrates that, despite a general poor ore body definition, and very rude ground water conditions, there is room for improvement for such high grade ore body.

Keywords: Mine planning, mine optimization, mine scheduling, SWOT analysis.

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1 Numerical Modelling of Shear Zone and Its Implications on Slope Instability at Letšeng Diamond Open Pit Mine, Lesotho

Authors: M. Ntšolo, D. Kalumba, N. Lefu, G. Letlatsa

Abstract:

Rock mass damage due to shear tectonic activity has been investigated largely in geoscience where fluid transport is of major interest. However, little has been studied on the effect of shear zones on rock mass behavior and its impact on stability of rock slopes. At Letšeng Diamonds open pit mine in Lesotho, the shear zone composed of sheared kimberlite material, calcite and altered basalt is forming part of the haul ramp into the main pit cut 3. The alarming rate at which the shear zone is deteriorating has triggered concerns about both local and global stability of pit the walls. This study presents the numerical modelling of the open pit slope affected by shear zone at Letšeng Diamond Mine (LDM). Analysis of the slope involved development of the slope model by using a two-dimensional finite element code RS2. Interfaces between shear zone and host rock were represented by special joint elements incorporated in the finite element code. The analysis of structural geological mapping data provided a good platform to understand the joint network. Major joints including shear zone were incorporated into the model for simulation. This approach proved successful by demonstrating that continuum modelling can be used to evaluate evolution of stresses, strain, plastic yielding and failure mechanisms that are consistent with field observations. Structural control due to geological shear zone structure proved to be important in its location, size and orientation. Furthermore, the model analyzed slope deformation and sliding possibility along shear zone interfaces. This type of approach can predict shear zone deformation and failure mechanism, hence mitigation strategies can be deployed for safety of human lives and property within mine pits.

Keywords: Numerical modeling, open pit mine, shear zone, slope stability.

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