With high-profile open pit wall failures and tailings dam collapses in the past decade, ultra-high accuracy predictive slope stability monitoring is no longer deemed a luxury – it is a necessity.
Slope stability monitoring is often perceived to be mainly about the instruments, such as radars that are deployed on the end of open pit mines or tailings dams – but the interpretation of the data is just as important as the hardware – at the largest players also offer remote monitoring services using their own in-house geotechnical engineering teams.
International Mining Editorial Director Mining Paul Moore recently visited with slope stability monitoring experts GroundProbe at its remote monitoring hub in Santiago, Chile – one of three global bases for its Geotechnical Support Service (GSS) offering.
Paulo Aguilera, Business Manager LATAM at GroundProbe:
“If you have one wall that you think is potentially fragile – for you to monitor that yourself 24/7 means the mine having to have a team in place when you consider shift changes. Thats a big commitment and investment so we give them a cost advantage as well as a safety advantage.”
GroundProbe has one of the world’s largest teams of fully qualified Geotechnical Engineers. GroundProbe today has over 800 SSRs in operation around the world. A lot of mines do their own and operate themselves using their own geotech teams after the appropriate training, with GroundProbe still maintaining and calibrating the units for them. They are still free to contact GroundProbe with questions and in some cases will request some help with back analysis after a failure has occurred.
“The benefits of us doing remote monitoring for their SSRs here is that we have a unique depth of experience and a global experience. The geotechs in Chile, Brazil and Indonesia can all support each other with knowledge and advice for example. Our procedures are also based on this worldwide experience. As we are GroundProbe we also have a good relationship with maintenance staff – if we see a grey alert, which may allude to a mechanical fault or lost connection – we call our own support team who will go to site to check the unit or fix it remotely. When using our remote services, this process is much faster.”
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