Geotechnical strategy and tactics at Anglo Platinum's PPRust open pit operation, Limpopo Province, South Africa

Little, Megan Jane
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Over the last four years Potgietersrust Platinums (PPRust) has successfully implemented new geotechnical strategy and tactics to reduce risk, improving safety but also maximising profitability. A large database of core logging, face mapping and rock testing has been assembled and used in the slope design process. The data has also been used for optimising blast designs on a daily basis through the use of a geotechnical block model. This greatly improves blast fragmentation and therefore loading and milling efficiencies. Slope management includes a limit blasting programme, daily visual inspections, and state-of-the-art slope monitoring equipment, namely GroundProbe radar, Riegl lasers and GeoMoS automated prism monitoring. Slope optimisation incorporates all the field data, operational controls, cost of failure, full economic analysis of various slope angles and fault tree analysis. Savings on waste stripping of hundreds of millions of Rands were gained from the optimisation as slope angles could be increased due to improved geotechnical knowledge and management. PPRust’s geotechnical work is considered the benchmark for Anglo American open pit operations.
Geotechnology, Open-pit mining