Proceedings, Slope Stability 2011: International Symposium on Rock Slope Stability in Open Pit Mining and Civil

Engineering, Vancouver, Canada (September 18-21, 2011)

Distinct Element Analyses for Calibration of Rock Slope Properties
J. Mylvaganam SRK Consulting, Perth, Australia
N.R.P. Baczynski Ok Tedi Mining Limited, Tabubil, Papua New Guinea
I.A. de Bruyn SRK Consulting, Perth, Australia
J.R. Price SRK Consulting, Perth, Australia

Deformation rebounds in the blast-damaged East wall cutback slope were monitored over three years at Ok Tedi
mine. The monitored rebound was proportional to the horizontal cutback distance, and the data was used for the
calibration of rockmass properties for future design and development of this large open pit slope. The
calibration was initially performed by means of conventional continuum-based finite element numerical analyses
under elastic and plastic conditions. These analyses could not adequately account for the observed
displacements, however, it was realised that the observed response can be better explained in terms of nonelastic dilation and shear sliding along geological structures in the rockmass than by slope rebound of the
rockmass as a continuum. Therefore, distinct element analyses using UDEC, a more sophisticated numerical
tool, were performed to provide better insight to the complex set of factors controlling the monitored rebound.
The sensitivity of rockmass modulus, joint spacing, joint stiffness, and shear strength parameters of joints were
carefully studied, for application in the future modelling for open pit and underground design.



Ok Tedi mine is situated in the highlands of the Western Province of Papua New Guinea, close to the border
with Indonesian territory (Figure 1). The ore body lies within Mt Fubilan and contains copper, gold and silver
mineralisation. The current pit is 3000m by 2000m in plan and 700m deep. The final depth will be 900m by
2013. The cutback area is located on the eastern part of the slope. Figure 2 shows the early and completed stages
of the cutback slope.

Figure 1.

Location of Ok Tedi Mine (after de Bruyn et al., 2009).

Version 7. a high level of input data such as detailed geology.0) was therefore selected for further analyses. These initial analyses failed to adequately explain the measured deformation. For this Ok Tedi East wall model. rockmass and structural properties. and b) After -May 2009 (after Baczynski. and in situ stresses was required. and it was expected that the geological structures influence the deformation behaviour. The Parrot’s Beak Thrust defines the contact between the upper siltstone and the top of the limestone. 2010). Numerical modelling was employed for this calibrations exercise. Initial calibration modelling was carried out using Phase2 (Rocscience. It was expected that the monitoring data could be useful for calibration of rockmass properties for future design and development of this large open pit slope. 2 Background Calibration of rockmass properties in any numerical modelling exercise is very important as these properties are often difficult to interpret accurately. piezometrically-monitored groundwater conditions. and to observe progressive failure development. The deep thrust passes through the lower siltstone. Universal Distinct Element Code (UDEC. 3 Geology and structure of the cutback slope The geology of the East wall cutback (Figure 3) comprises predominantly siltstone with a relatively minor wedge of limestone and a small remnant pod of mineralized skarn remaining behind the lower central part of the slope face. Considering the complexities in the geology and in the mining scenario.0) which is a 2-D elasto-plastic finite element program for calculating stresses and displacements around excavations. UDEC is a 2D numerical programme which provides the ability to model complex geological structures such as fault and joints. (b) East wall cutback: a) Before -Feb 2006. The base of the limestone is conformable with the underlying lower siltstone. Field monitoring equipment was installed in the East wall to monitor the slope deformation during the cutback excavation. a calibration modelling exercise was warranted before proceeding to assess the future performance of pit walls in the order of 900 m in height and of selected plans for underground mining. to simulate the interaction of mining activity and related displacement behaviour. and truncates the limestone at its eastern end where it intersects the Parrot’s Beak Thrust.(a) Figure 2. Itasca Version 4. . The monzodiorite and various types of skarn that occur to the west. in the toe of the cutback slope had already been largely excavated prior to the cutback mining and thus are unlikely to impact the monitored rebound.

after December 2007 cutback advanced in parallel with general deepening of the overall mine pit complicating the observed ground responses. Old waste rock fill materials were unexpectedly encountered in the first lift with along 50% of the exposed face. slope crest stability was paramount. However. In general. This network comprised of 55 target prisms. Two moderately steep fracture sets. Due to an already constrained working area around the crusher.  Cutback slope Limestone Monzodiorite Skarn Upper siltstone Fault zones Parrots beak thrust Lower siltstone                                          Figure 3. are widespread. mining of the cutback slope had progressed down by 60m. dipping at 45° to 55° into the slope and into the pit. By December 2006. requiring reinforced earth walls to be constructed in these areas. are very common and control much of the over-break observed along bench crests. . a computerised slope monitoring network was installed. Geology of the East wall at Ok Tedi Several steep normal/transverse faults and sedimentation-contemporaneous slumping structures occur and dissect the slope rockmass into a number of fault-bounded major strata blocks. Figure 5 shows the computerised survey monitoring station. Only at that stage. meshing and shotcrete along the slope face immediately below an in-pit crusher (Figure 4). 4 Slope cutback and monitoring The cutback slope mining commenced in November 2005. Subsequent cutback progress was rapid with a 13 bench-high cutback being achieved by late 2008. Installation of all ground support and walls was completed by late July 2006. the majority of which are still being continuously read when favourable weather prevails. The initial 15m high bench was mined down in three 5m lifts / flitches to allow installation of shear-piles. two levels of cable anchors. one sub vertical joint sets trending approximately normal and parallel to the slope crest alignment and two sub horizontal fracture sets generally co-aligned with the Parrots Beak Thrust (dipping into the slope face) and the deep contact / thrust (dipping into the pit).

Figure 4. . Reliable ground displacements for mining down the first 60m of slope height are unknown. these holes were collared 80m or more behind the cutback slope crest and inclinometer results could not be easily related to the survey monitoring data for slope face rebound. Ground support being installed on second flitch / lift of top bench. Figure 5. Computerised survey monitoring station. Although displacements were actually monitored in three inclinometer holes.

It was found that the horizontal rebound dominated the displacement pattern on this west facing mostly North-South tending cutback slope. the vertical rebound was very small. horizontal slope rebounds of 33mm.Figure 6. . Ground displacements for three sections along East wall at Ok Tedi. 95mm and 120mm were monitored for horizontal cutback distances of 75m. 110m and 125m. and significantly lower (10 times or more) than the vertical rebound. Example of raw survey monitoring data for the East wall at Ok Tedi. Based on the raw data. respectively as the cutback area was mined down from 60m to 105m below original crest level (Figure 6-9). For the purposes of back-analysis. East displacement (mm) 423700-800N: REF & HUT Corrected Data: MEAN 0 -100 423700N -200 423750N -300 423800N -400 -500 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 Days elapsed since 15 Dec 2006 Figure 7.

  East Rebound (mm) 423700-800N: Cutback Slope Rebound: MEAN 50 25 0 -25 -50 -75 -100 -125 423700N 423750N 423800N 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 Days elapsed since 15 Dec 2006 Figure 8. In fact.0017x . 5 Modelling approach 5. with the same rockmass input properties.180 0. it was intended to issue the result in Baczynski (2010). slope mapping and laboratory testing investigations undertaken .080 0. It is perhaps worth noting that field data was processed to interpret ground displacements in early-2008.120 y = 0.0.1 Model For the initial Phase2 continuum analyses and UDEC discontinuum analyses.Figure 3) was used.160 0. Ground displacements for horizontal cutback distance behind initial slope crest.200 Slope Rebound (m) 0. PNG: East Wall Cutback: 2007-2008 0.040 0.140 0.9998 0. whereas the opportunity to UDEC model the cutback slope only arose in mid-2010.0977 0. but the numerical work could not be completed in time for inclusion in that presentation. The geotechnical properties for the rockmass and rock structural fabric for the subject slope area were derived during several drilling.060 0.020 0.100 2 R = 0. in-situ stresses and groundwater conditions. the same geological section (section along 423750N. Ground displacements corrected for survey station and reference prism movements. OK Tedi.000 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 Horizontal Cutback Distance (m) Figure 9.

04 4 20 0.22 43 0. Domain A represents the best quality rock within each lithology type. but modeled as very weak continuum material.03 2. mine planning and pit design purposes over the last 20 years.1 6 Deep Thrust zone 25.7 0.7 0.5 Fault Zone 4 25.7 0.001 0 0.03 2.28 38 0.75 0. and basal contact (Figure 3) were not assigned with joint network.7 0.15 25 Lower Siltstone 25.03 2. The rock structural fabric (joint network) utilised for the UDEC analyses is described in Table 2 and illustrated in Figure 10. Rockmass Properties used for Phase2 and UDEC models.7 0. Joint sets and their shear strength parameters.1 0. Density 3 (kN/m ) Poisson’s Ratio υ Friction (°) Cohesion (MPa) Tension (MPa) Emass (GPa) Upper Siltstone 25. The rockmass properties are listed in Table 1.28 26 0.2 0.28 26 0.03 2.5 Rock type Fill Table 2.28 33 0.7 0.for ore reserve.3 0.13 0.65 0.45 35 0.04 4 East PBT FZ 25.28 41 0.06 13 Skarn 43.28 33 0.9 0.13 0.4 0.16 10 Monzodiorite 25. The rockmass at the mine has been divided into several geotechnical domains.13 0.28 26 0.3 Fault Zone 1 25.7 0. Rock Type Skarn & Monzodiorite Lower Limestone Lower Siltstone Upper Siltstone Apparent dip (˚) * Continuity (m) 50 40 16 40 Gap length (m) Spacing (m) Cohesion (kPa) Friction (°) Tension (kPa) 80 35 0 50 33 0 15 15 8 -50 50 8 85 40 15 50 40 11 -50 50 6 16 40 -16 40 11 85 40 11 4 11 *Positive numbers denote dips from right (east) to left (west).06 9 Lower Limestone 26.28 26 0.5 Fault Zone 3 25. based on its quality. thrust zone.4 0.26 49 1. and Domain E the worst.7 0.25 50 0.2 0.5 Fault Zone 2 25.7 0. negative values denote dips from west to east . The major weak zones such as faults.13 0. Table 1.

0 and koz=3. 5. The east and west boundaries were restrained only in the x direction whereas the bottom boundary was restrained in both the x and y directions.Figure 10. a best interpreted groundwater condition was used based on the field measurements and groundwater modelling.4 Boundary and groundwater conditions Boundaries were extended far enough to avoid any boundary effect on the analysis. 5. one analysis was carried out assigning the rock blocks/rockmass with the linear elastic constitutive model. For both Phase2 and UDEC analyses. the in-plane horizontal stress equal to double the vertical stress and the out-of-plane stress equal to three times the vertical stress (i. .3 In situ stresses Initial pre mining stresses were assigned by setting the vertical stress according to depth below the initial ground surface. kox=2. and joints were assigned with the joint area contact (Coulomb Slip) model. In both Phase2 and UDEC modelling approaches. The in-plane and out-of-plane stress ratios were interpreted from field measurements. In this modelling exercise. 5. Rock structural fabric for the cutback slope. The relative motion of joints in normal and shear directions is governed by built in nonlinear constitutive relations.2 Constitutive model The system of blocks created by the joint sets was subdivided into triangular finite difference zones which respond according to a prescribed non linear stress-strain law. the Mohr Coulomb plasticity model was assigned for the rock blocks.0).e.

however some higher displacements observed within the slope (Figure 11b) may be associated with the shearing nature of major weak zones (figure 3) and dominant joint pattern sub parallel to the slope face. Joint stiffness and the spacing seem less influential in the measured deformation. but all cohesion and friction values reduced by 20% for joints not for rock blocks 6 7 8 6 Same as run 2. and displacements are plotted at the end of each stage. the elastic model for Phase2 (run 1) yielded higher horizontal rebound than the plastic model (run 2). Table 3. C and D (shown in Figure 11a) during cutback slope excavation in Phase2 and UDEC. lower limestone. lower siltstone. respectively. Run number Groundwater conditions Description 1 Dry Originally interpreted joint and rockmass properties 2 Originally interpreted joint and rockmass properties 3 Same as run 2. In general. even though some similarities exist in the contour pattern of displacement. one using the Mohr Column plasticity model and the second one using a linear elastic model. Eight UDEC model runs were performed with different conditions (as described in Table 3) in order to assess the calibration factors necessary to achieve the monitored slope deformation . As mentioned above. Based on Figure 12b. but spacing of 85° dip joint set halved for Skarn.5 Analyses To better simulate the stress path in the analyses. The horizontal and vertical displacements were monitored in the model during excavation at the locations shown in Figure 10. but use of elastic model Results and discussion Figures 11a-11b compares the accumulated horizontal displacement for the Phase2 and UDEC modeling approaches. Figures 12a-12b illustrate the average horizontal displacement monitored at points A.5. Four stages were used to achieve the pre-cutback slope and the rest five stages were used to replicate the cutback mining for which slope monitoring was conducted. however field monitoring started after the first stage was completed. the excavation of the cutback slope was completed in 5 stages. but joint stiffness values reduced from 5 to 3 GN/m same as run 2. These displacements are not completely associated with the monitored rebounds as they are total accumulated displacement from pre-mining surface. respectively) and field monitored deformations. There are differences in the horizontal displacement behaviour at the cutback slope between the two modelling methods. As shown in Figure 12a. These internal displacements have no or little influence on the observable rebound on the slope face. but all E values halved Best interpreted groundwater levels Same as run 2. for Mohr Coulomb plastic analyses with best interpreted properties. two models were run. B. The plots in Figure 12 correspond to the field monitoring schedule of the cutback slope. the horizontal rebound is seen to be more sensitive to the rockmass modulus values and constitutive model used. nine excavation stages were defined for mining down to the final cutback slope from the original land surface. In Phase2. and upper siltstone same as run 2. higher displacements are shown at the cut back slope face. However. these values are significantly lower (33% to 50%) than that of the UDEC analyses (Phase2 runs 1 and 2 can be compared with UDEC runs 8 and 2. but all E values halved except within fault zones and thrust zones 4 5 Same as run 2. UDEC runs performed. respectively. .

and b) UDEC run 2. .(a) (b) Figure 11. Accumulated horizontal displacement for a) Phase2 plastic analyses.

(b) Horizontal displacement corresponding to measured a) Phase2. whereas the change in modulus values produce displacement that deviates considerably from the field measurements. (b) Average horizontal displacements for Cutback Stages: a) Phase2.(a) Figure 12. As mention in section 4. As shown in Figure 13b. (a) Figure 13. The changes in joint stiffness and spacing (runs 6 and 7) do not produce displacement that deviates significantly from the field monitored rebound. b) UDEC. the UDEC run with the originally interpreted rockmass and joint properties. b) UDEC. and only the dominant horizontal rebounds were matched in this celebration model. . Figures 13a-13b compare the field monitored horizontal rebound with the modelled rebound for Phase2 and UDEC. and best interpreted groundwater level (run 2) very nearly matches the field monitored rebound. respectively. the monitored and modeled vertical displacements were insignificant. The Phase2 modelled rebounds are significantly lower than the field monitored values (see Figure 13a).

the selection of the correct numerical analysis approach is very important in achieving an accurate and reliable outcome. 8 Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank Ok Tedi Mining Limited for giving permission to publish the paper 9 References Baczynski. Numerical analyses for evaluation of pit wall stability and stresses resulting from proposed underground mining excavations beneath the Ok Tedi open pit.. 15-17 June 2010. Slope Stability 2009. Itasca (2004). M. Rocscience (2008). In EUROCK 2010 Conference. Minnesota. USA.A. (2010).. .. Rocscience Inc. Lausanne.R. Price. Mylvaganam.. Papua New Guinea.R. Deformation rebound in a blast-damaged cutback rock slope.. Santiago. based on field monitoring data or factual observations. Canada. UDEC-Universal Distinct Element Code Ver 4. Phase2 Ver 7. In Proceedings. joint properties and groundwater conditions most accurately accounts for the field measurements. and thereby in the design recommendations.7 Conclusions The continuum modelling approach based on elastic and plastic conditions did not adequately account for the observed displacements.P. is carried out to increase the level of confidence in the modelling outcomes. Toronto. Du Plooy. J. User’s Manual. K. 4 p. Interestingly. The observed response was therefore better explained in terms of non-elastic dilation and shear sliding along geological structures in the rock mass. Coulthard. Baczynski.P. N.. I. the discontinuum analyses with original interpreted rockmass properties. (2009). It is recommended that calibration of rockmass properties. Switzerland. J. User’s Manuals.0.R. N. de Bruyn.A. where possible. For complex geological and structural conditions.