The Use of 3D Models and Analysis in Support of Waste Stockpile Design and Operations

2 November, 2018 | White paper

Luciano Piciacchia

Luciano Piciacchia, P.Eng., Ph.D.

Director - Earth and Infrastructure

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Vahid Marefat, Jr. Eng., Ph.D.

Geotechnical Engineering and Hydrogeology

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Jenyfer Mosquera, P.Eng, M.Eng.

Geotechnical Engineer

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The complexities of waste rock stockpiles are often underestimated. Slope stability analysis for such earth structures is usually carried out using two-dimensional (2D) slope stability methods. Furthermore the sections used in the analysis are often idealized. Selecting a typical or critical section is left to the designer. Given the number of parameters that can affect stability this approach may not always bring focus to those areas of the waste stock pile which are most critical. As such, three-dimensional (3D) slope stability analysis offers a more complete screening tool which assists the designer in identifying the most critical areas. Mining projects, in which complex co-deposition schemes are employed, using both fine and coarse material, coupled 3D seepage and slope stability analysis can prove useful. This allows modelling the impact of various co-deposition methods on the waste rock pile’s hydraulic regime and its effect on stability. Some complex co-deposition configurations modelling cannot be carried out with 2D analysis.

Note that this white paper was the subject of a presentation at the Tailings and Mine Waste’18 Conference in Colorado State University.