Damage to Open Pit Slopes

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1992
There is considerable economic incentive to increase the angle of open pit walls so as to reduce the total volume of waste to be moved to gain access to an orebody. However, a number of slope failures has increased the awareness of mine operators to the potential and consequences of slope failure. Sophisticated methods for the analysis of slope stability have been developed but they rely on an understanding of the appropriate parameters to describe the structural properties of the slope materials. Unfortunately, these properties change with time.The excavation of an open pit mine removes the constraint and weight of the overlying material and allows the newly formed slope to release previously locked in stress. The release of this stress allows the opening of joints and leads to a significant reduction in bulk modulus. The rock mass is also further affected by damage from nearby blasts. Such damage is cumulative and further reduces the modulus of the near surface material and weakens the bonds between structural elements in the slope.
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