Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
When slope angles are designed during open pit optimization, there is a risk factor applied in steepening the slopes. The steepening of slope angles has implications for the safety and economics of the mining operation. The steeper the slope angles, the greater the probability of slope failure. Although a slope failure will result in added costs, the challenge is to compile an accurate cost-benefit exercise optimizing the economic benefits of the project without exposing mine workers and equipment to unacceptable risk of rockfalls. A balance between the safety of the operation and the economics of the investment is therefore required. The ideal situation is to have a slope monitoring system that will predict slope failure by detecting any ground movement before the actual failure occurs. This early warning will allow the risk factor to be applied with a high degree of confidence, knowing that the risk will be adequately mitigated. The objective of this paper is to provide guidelines on how to design an optimal survey slope monitoring system. It is the authors' view that for a survey monitoring system to yield desirable results, it should adhere to survey principles such as working from the whole to part and consistently cross-checking. The case study used is Jwaneng Mine, and the design strategy outlined can be used as a guideline for developing a new slope monitoring system or to optimize an existing one.
Keywords : open pit optimization; slope angle; slope failure; slope monitoring system design.