Companies with the best prospects for managing geotechnical risks are committed to having access to good data, rigorous design and topnotch engineers. Here’s a look at the newest options available to meet the challenges.
by russell a. carter, contributing editor
Over the lifespan of a large open-pit mine, the design and ongoing work needed to maintain pit slope stability can evolve into an ongoing, sometimes complicated dance between safety and economics with uncertainty, variability and other forms of risk providing the music. It’s an area in which red-flag terms such as “resistive vs. destabilizing forces,” “high failure consequences” and “extreme events” are part of the jargon. Another term often encountered in the discipline’s past literature is “lack of…” as in lack of useful software for collecting and applying data, technologies for subsurface observation and monitoring, and sharing of geotechnical information throughout the industry to improve overall understanding. In fact, rock slope analysis was regarded as a dormant area of research for decades leading into the early 2000s.