CSIRO helps redefine large open pit design

By November 10th, 2009

New guidelines for open pit slope design have been released for the first time in more than 30 years.

The 496-page Guidelines For Open Pit Slope Design aims to address many of the uncertainties surrounding the development of large open pit mines.

Open pit mining is an efficient way to mine many deposits, but there are complications.

Make the slope of the pit too shallow and you have to move millions of additional tonnes of valueless overburden. But if it’s too steep, you risk failure with subsequent risk to people and property.

Guidelines For Open Pit Slope Design aims to address many of the uncertainties surrounding the development of large open pit mines.

Up until now, the only handbook of this type available to open pit mine slope design practitioners including engineering geologists, geotechnical engineers, mining engineers, civil engineers and mine managers has been the CANMET manual last published in 1977.

The new Guidelines For Open Pit Slope Design was officially released at the Slope Stability conference in Santiago, Chile, on November 9.

It is a direct outcome of the CSIRO Minerals Down Under National Research Flagship’s Large Open Pit research project and is comprised of 14 chapters that follow the life of mine sequence from project development to closure.

CSIRO’s Dr John Read is one of two editors and has also authored a number of chapters in the book.

Dr Read has over 40 years experience as a practitioner and consultant in the mining industry, with special interests and expertise in rock slope stability and open pit mine design and investigation tasks in Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Canada, South Africa and Zambia.

He says that each chapter is written by an industry practitioner with specific experience in the topic being described.

“The purpose of the book is to be a new generation guideline that links innovative mining geomechanics research with best practice” Dr Read said.

“The book outlines for today’s practitioners what works best in different situations and why, what doesn’t work and why not, and what is the best approach to satisfy best practice in a range of situations.”

The publication is the result of four years of effort and support from a group of 12 mining companies representing the majority of the world’s production of diamonds and base metals.

Guidelines For Open Pit Slope Design is available from CSIRO publishing for A$195.

CSIRO initiated the National Research Flagships to provide science-based solutions in response to Australia’s major research challenges and opportunities. The ten Flagships form multidisciplinary teams with industry and the research community to deliver impact and benefits for Australia.

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