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geotechnical assistance for mine expansion

geotechnical assistance for mine expansion
Alacer Gold Corporation

geotechnical investigation and design allows expansion of ancient gold mine

In early 2012, a Denver-based gold mining company planning to expand one of its mine pits in Turkey retained Barr to evaluate the mine’s stability and develop designs for safe, stable pit walls. Although the mine dates back to pre-Roman times, several aspects of it continue to pose challenges today, among them:

  • gold-bearing ore extending to a depth of over 1,000 feet below the surface
  • geology comprising five different rock formations (including highly weathered formations of diorites and metasediments with widely varying strengths)
  • rock containing major jointing and faulting
  • location in an area of seismic activity

Barr prepared a site-specific drilling program that yielded detailed information about the geology of the pit-expansion area. The program incorporated oriented drilling, which provides highly accurate geotechnical data for analyzing joint patterns. We used the data to specify laboratory tests that helped determine the physical parameters of the rock, such as strength, water content, and joint-fill-material characteristics. The test results, in turn, allowed us to model scenarios with state-of-the-art software programs that produced safety factors for numerous potential pit-wall designs.

Alacer Gold and Barr worked closely together to develop the final designs, including blasting and monitoring requirements for a subsequent feasibility study.