SURFACE MINE DESIGN AND PRACTICE
INTRODUCTION TO OPEN PIT MINING
The ore deposits being mined by open pit techniques today vary considerably in size,shape, orientation and depth below surface. The initial surface topographies can varyfrom mountain tops to valley floor. In spite of this there are a number of geometry baseddesign and planning considerations fundamental to them all.The ore body is mined from top to the down in the series of horizontal layers of uniformthickness called benches and after a sufficient floor area has been exposed, mining to thenext layer can begin. The process continues until the bottom bench elevation is reachedand the final pit outline achieved. To access different bench a road or ramp must becreated. The width and steepness of this road or ramp depends upon the type of equipment to be accommodated. Stable slopes must be created and maintained during thecreation and operation of the pit.Slope angle is an important geometrical parameter which has a significant economicimpact. Open pit mining is very highly mechanized. Each piece of mining machinery hasan associated geometry both related to its own physical size, but also with the space itrequires to operate efficiently. There is a complementary set of drilling, loading andhauling equipment which requires a certain amount of working space. This spacerequirement is taken into account when dimensioning the so called working benches.From both operating and economic view points certain volumes must or should at least be removed before others. These volumes have a certain minimum size and an optimumsize.
Engr. Izhar Mithal Jiskani