Mines and Underground Excavations

Monitoring of mine workings is key to:

· Improving decision making
· Managing risks
· Increasing safety
· Increasing productivity
· Optimizing designs
· Reducing costs

Mine Monitoring – An Overview

Many areas of mining sites benefit from monitoring, including:

  • Tailings Dams and Waste Dumps – these structures store mine by-products (tailings or waste rock) generated during operations. Stability of these structures should be monitored to determine movement (vertical or horizontal), increases in pore water pressure, or seepage. Monitoring programs should be designed with the site-specific characteristics (e.g. foundation materials, dam materials, height, and construction style) and overall risks for the structure in mind.
  • Open Pit Mines – the slopes of open pit mines typically consist of a series of benched, steep cuts. Movement of slope walls and groundwater levels can be monitored to watch for areas of instability or aid in pit dewatering efforts. Geotechnical instruments typically complement geospatial or radar systems, which monitor surficial movements.
  • Underground Mines – the various openings, tunnels, and shafts of underground mines can experience ground failure or instability. Monitoring programs can consist of instruments to monitor tunnel roof subsidence/convergence and shaft instability.

Benefits of Monitoring Systems

  • With an effective monitoring system in place, changes in geotechnical parameters such as ground movements and pore pressure can be detected through early warning monitoring systems. Early warnings allow mine owners to enact contingency plans to counteract the observed changes in parameters.
  • Real-time monitoring systems allow engineers to access data immediately to allow for rapid decision making. Also, less effort spent on collecting data means more time spent on effectively interpreting and using the data collected.
  • Monitoring instruments provide insight to key areas of concern such as:
    • Ground displacement (settlement or lateral movement)
    • Groundwater levels
    • Seepage of dams

The Path to Success – Core Mine Monitoring Components

  • Instrumentation and data acquisition and collection should be selected to suit site-specific conditions and stability concerns.
  • Instrumentation installations should be designed to answer specific concerns in the structure, including the geotechnical parameter to monitor and the location to install the sensor.
  • A variety of data acquisition options are available to meet site specific needs. These can range from manual to fully automated systems.
  • RST’s Instrumentation Engineers and Specialists can aid in selecting the right solutions for your site conditions.

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Dams, Hydropower

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Mines and Underground Excavations

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Data Collection

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Structural Health

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  • McArthur River Operation, Saskatoon – Canada
  • Chuqicamata Mine – Chile
  • Georgetown Mine – Guyana
  • Inco Ltd. (various mines) – Canada
  • Highland Valley Copper – Canada
  • Bema Gold Corporation – Russia
  • Kumtor Gold Mine – Kyrgyzstan
  • San Juan Mine, New Mexico- USA
  • Pascua Lama Project – Chile
  • Quintette Coal Mine – Canada
  • Konkola Copper Mines PLC – Zambia
  • Sao Bento Mineracao – Brazil
  • Cemento Melon, Mina Navio – Chile
  • Codelco, Andina Division – Chile
  • Mina El Penon – Chile
  • PT Kaltim Prima Coal – Indonesia
  • Codelco, El Teniente Division – Chile
  • Elgin Explorations – Philippines
  • Tara Mines – Ireland
  • Island Copper Mine, BHP Ltd.- Canada