Coal Age

APR 2019

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30 April 2019 highwall management Measuring Motion: New Angles for Slope Stability Monitoring 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 stabili- ty can evolve into an ongoing, some- times complicated dance between safety and economics with uncertain- ty, 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 sub- surface observation and monitoring, and sharing of geotechnical informa- tion throughout the industry to im- prove overall understanding. In fact, rock slope analysis was regarded as a dormant area of research for decades leading into the early 2000s. However, due to technological ad- vances and higher awareness of the need for solid geotechnical knowl- edge and advice following various slope failures at several large mines, new geotechnical instrumentation and software solutions have been emerging at a much quicker pace lately. And, as will be seen later in this article, efforts are under way to attract future geotechnical engineers and train them to more effectively navi- gate the corporate terrain of a rapidly changing industry. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, most of the notable technological ad- vances in this area have occurred in three sectors that overlap the indus- try's current technical focus in gener- al: sensor systems, information man- agement and data visualization. The Slope Stability 2018 conference and exposition, held April 10-12 in Seville, Spain, offered an opportunity for ge- otechnical equipment and service providers to showcase their latest of- ferings, many of which featured new capabilities drawn from those three technologies. In particular, radar- and LiDAR-based systems — both already in wide use throughout the industry, and now incorporating both ground- and satellite-based technology — continue to evolve with expanded feature sets and better data collection and management capabilities. Reutech Offers Independent View Reutech Mining introduced two new products at the conference — the Slope Vision georeferenced cam- era system and MSR Connect soft- ware suite. Slope Vision, according to the company, is an advanced geo- referenced camera. "While perform- ing real-time monitoring utilizing Reutech's Movement and Surveying Radar (MSR), Slope Vision provides the user with an independent view of the pit. Once slope instability is detected, the camera can be point- ed to the affected area that allows the radar to continue with its prime function," said Daryl Grobler, project manager. "In an operational envi- ronment where reaction time is crit- ical, and manpower limited, Slope Vision offers an extra pair of eyes when most needed." Slope Vision can be mounted in- dependently in the pit and on mul- Reutech's Slope Vision system comprises a high-definition camera and advanced software that enables the user to direct the camera to specific georeferenced coordinates or points of interest.

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