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Analysis of Large-Scale Pit Slope Stability — The Aitik Mine Revisited
Jonny Sjöberg, Itasca Consultants AB, Sweden
Diego Lope Álvarez, SKB, Sweden (formerly Itasca Consultants AB)
Patricio Gómez, Itasca S.A., Chile
Per-Ivar Marklund, formerly at Boliden AB, now retired
Sara Suikki, Itasca Consultants AB, Sweden
Analysis of the stability of overall slopes is an important issue for large open pits worldwide. The push towards larger, and deeper pits, further underlines the need for reliable and precise design tools. The methods and practices employed for large-scale stability assessment have evolved over the past decades, from simple empirical and limit equilibrium methods to sophisticated numerical computer modelling. This development has been augmented through the rapid increase in computer capacity, but also an increased understanding of the behaviour of large-scale slopes — although we are still severely data- and knowledge-constrained. This paper further explores this subject, using the Aitik open pit mine in northern Sweden as a case in point. The development of design tools and their usage, as well as data collection and improved knowledge through research and development work, is presented. An outlook and vision for the future concludes the paper.
Calculated shear strain (indicating location of potenial failure surfaces) for the case of persistent foliation in hangingwall and mining to 750 m depth and 50° overall slope angle.