The Lochiel Trial Pit Design and Excavation
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 1988
The Lochiel Deposit is a large occurrence of soft brown coal about 130 km north of Adelaide. The deposit is undergoing continued evalua- tion of which an integral part was the excavation of a Trial Pit. The Trial Pit was deemed necessary to demonstrate that the deposit may be mined efficiently by draglines and the particular emphasis was on the geotech- nical and hydrogeological aspects of what may be termed difficult mining conditions. The dewatering of the Trial Pit was commenced in September 1986. After considerable planning and excavation was successfully completed in May 1987. The project is unique in terms of its size and technical com- plexity. It entailed excavation of over 230,000 m3 of overburden to an overall depth of 36 metres. The excavated material was utilised for experimentation in a Trial Dump. Included in the Trial Pit design were several novel techniques includ- ing depressurisation drains to improve mining conditions in soil strength materials and the use of vacuum to aid dewatering.