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A practical Rockfall Hazard

Identification system for open


pit mining slopes

Brent W. Gilmore and P. Mark


Hawley
Piteau Associates Engineering Ltd.
John Pottie
Compaa Minera Antamina S.A.

Abstract
Rockfalls are a major hazard in an open pit mining environment. A comprehensive rockfall hazard identification and mapping system
was recently developed and is being systematically implemented on a trial basis at the Antamina Mine in Per. The system sequentially
evaluates a number of parameters to arrive at one of five qualitative hazard levels (from Very Low to Very High).
The parameters considered to be most important for identifying rockfall hazards in the Antamina open pit are:
1) the slope height above the area of interest;
2) the presence of mining activities above the slope;
3) the condition of benches and bench faces and quality of scaling; and,
4) the presence and effectiveness of rockfall impact berms.
The rockfall hazard levels identified throughout the pit using these criteria are displayed on a current mine status plan. This hazard level
status plan is posted in key locations to convey the information to mine personnel, and is used to facilitate discussions and directives
during safety, operations, and planning meetings.

INTRODUCTION
Compaa Minera Antamina S.A. (Antamina) is a Peruvian mining company with four shareholders: BHP Billiton PLC (33.75%), Xstrata
(33.75%), Teck Resources (22.50%), and Mitsubishi Corporation (10.0%). The Antamina orebody is a polymetallic (primarily Cu and Zn with
minor Mo) sulphide deposit located in the Central Andes of northern Peru at approximately 93217S latitude and 770351W longitude
and at 4,300 meters above mean sea level (masl). The mine is located 270 kilometers north of Lima and 103 kilometers east of the Pacific
Ocean, and lies on the eastern side of the Western Cordillera in the upper part of the Rio Maran basin, a tributary of the Amazon (Figure 1).
All of the mining concessions are located in San Marcos District, Province of Huari, Ancash Department.

Figure 1 Location of the Antamina Mine

Mining activities at Antamina were initiated in 1998 and normal concentrator production began in September 2001. Mine operations
are conducted using conventional hard rock open pit methods. The average nominal concentrator throughput at Antamina is 94,000

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tonnes per day. Approximately 144 Million tonnes of material were moved within the Antamina open pit in 2008 with 31 Million tonnes
of copper and zinc ore processed in the concentrator. Antamina has published probable and proven reserves of 745 Million tonnes of
copper and zinc minerals, which provides an expected mine life until 2035 under current processing rates. Maximum slope heights
within the Antamina open pit will reach 975 m at the end of the mine life. The open pit will be mined in twelve distinct mining phase
denominated Phases 1 to 12, of which Phases 1 and 2 have been completed and Phases 3, 4, and 5 are currently active. Phases 7
and 11 are located within Usupallares which will be a small satellite pit to the southwest of the main ore body.

SETTING AND GEOLOGY


The physiography of the Antamina mine site can be described as rugged. Elevations in the vicinity of the open pit range from about 4000
masl at the current pit bottom to over 4750 masl along the ridge crest to the west and northwest of the open pit. The terrain is typical
of glaciated regions, and is characterized by subdued or hummocky, poorly drained valley bottoms, concave, steep to very steep (and
locally vertical) valley walls and cirques, and sharp crested ridges and horns. The Antamina deposit is exposed in a U-shaped, northeast
trending glacial valley (Antamina Valley), with the head of the valley formed by a cirque.
Precipitation at the site is distributed unevenly throughout the year, with a rainy season typically starting in October and lasting to the
middle of April. Much of the precipitation is concentrated between January and March. The estimated average annual precipitation at the
mine is about 1150 mm. The majority of precipitation falls in the form of rain, with occasional hail and snow squalls, but no significant snow
accumulation. During the dry winter season, temperatures can reach -5 C at night and 20 C during sunny days.
The country rocks hosting the Antamina deposit are a thick sequence of light to dark grey, massive to medium bedded, fine grained
limestones and dolomitic limestones of the Upper Cretaceous Jumasha formation. These rocks form the steep cliffs and sharp ridges
and peaks that define Antamina Valley. They also comprise the bulk of the waste rocks and pit slopes.
The Jumasha Formation is stratigraphically overlain by thinly to medium bedded, light grey to beige, interbedded limestones, shaley
limestones, calcareous shales, shales and marls of the Upper Cretaceous Celendin Formation. Celendin Formation rocks do not
outcrop in Antamina Valley, having been removed by erosion and/or thrust faulting. Celendin Formation rocks appear to be softer and
less resistive to erosion than the Jumasha limestones.
The Jumasha and Celendin Formations have been intruded by a quartz monzonite stock of Upper Cretaceous to Tertiary age. Several
stock-like emplacements are apparent throughout the region. The main intrusion (Antamina Stock) is roughly centred at the head of
Antamina Valley. Numerous dykes and sills emanate from the main stock resulting in a geologically complex rock mass. The intrusive
rocks have a porphyritic texture and are hydrothermally altered.
Emplacement of the intrusion resulted in contact metamorphism of both the limestone and quartz monzonite, and the development
of a skarn zone at the contact. Hydrothermal fluids emanating from the intrusion and circulating through the contact zone deposited
sulphide minerals, forming the massive sulphide bodies, disseminated sulphides and veins that comprise the deposit. The limestones
in the vicinity of the intrusion also exhibit varying degrees of recrystallization and transition to marble.
At least 11 distinct rock types have been recognized at Antamina. Many of these rock types represent slight compositional variations
or gradational phases of metamorphism. For practical purposes, and to simplify geologic and geotechnical interpretation and modeling,
these lithologies were grouped into the following four main lithologic units: Limestone/Marble, Green Garnet Exoskarn, Brown Garnet
Endoskarn and Monzonite Porphyry.

GEOTECHNICAL CONDITIONS AND SLOPE DESIGN CRITERIA


Geotechnical parameters for the main lithologic units are derived from comprehensive core logging, laboratory testing, and bench
documentation programs conducted during the original feasibility studies and over the life of the mine. Average unconfined compressive
strength (UCS) and average Rock Mass Rating (RMR) as per Bieniawski (1) for the main lithologic units are provided in Table I. The
ore-bearing skarns and intrusives are relatively weaker and less competent than the carbonate rocks.
Lithologic Unit

Average UCS

Average RMR

Limestones and Marbles

77 MPa

66

Exoskarns

32 MPa

55

Endoskarns

25 MPa

54

Intrusives

28 MPa

45

Table I Typical Geotechnical Parameters for Main Lithologic Units

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The geotechnical slope design criteria for the open pit were originally prepared in 1997 based on surface mapping and non-oriented
diamond drillholes. These criteria have since been periodically updated based on mapping and documentation of mined benches using both
manual and digital mapping techniques, and using data obtained from supplemental oriented and non-oriented diamond drillholes.
The most recent structural analyses and interramp slope design updates for the Antamina open pit and the Usupallares satellite pit were
completed in 2008. As illustrated in Figs. 2 and 3, nine structural domains are currently recognized in the main open pit, and eight in the
Usupallares satellite pit. Interramp slopes at Antamina are designed to provide for adequate kinematic stability, reasonable bench access
(for bench cleaning, access to mine installations, etc.), and effective rockfall catchment.
The majority of the highwalls in the main Antamina open pit are comprised of limestone and marble waste rocks. These rocks have
been folded and thrust into the Antamina Anticline, and structural conditions and slope controls vary depending on the position of the
slope with respect to the axial plane of this anticline. Within these rocks, interramp slope angles range from 48 to 54 (see Figure 2), with
recommended berm widths ranging from 10 to 11 m and bench face angles ranging from 58 to 70. All bench heights in waste are 30
m (i.e., double benches). In the central intrusives and skarns, the interramp slope angle is 44, with a recommended berm width of 9 m
and a bench face angle of 66.5. The bench height in the skarns and intrusives is 15 m (i.e., single benches).

Figure 2 Interramp Slope Designs for the Antamina Open Pit

For the Usupallares deposit, recommended interramp slope angles range from 47 to 55 (see Figure 3), with recommended berm
widths of 11 m and bench face angles ranging from 68 to 72. All bench heights in waste are 30 m (i.e., double benches). In the central
intrusives and skarns, the interramp slope angle is 44, with a recommended berm width of 9 m and a bench face angle of 66.5. The
bench height in the skarns and intrusives is 15 m (i.e., single benches).

Figure 3 Interramp Slope Designs for the Usupallares Satellite Open Pit

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ROCKFALLS
Rockfalls occur at Antamina primarily due to one of four causes:

inadequate cleaning (scaling) of walls following mining;


adverse structural conditions that form kinematically viable, metastable blocks;
blast damage during mining causing general loosening of the rock mass and generation of new fractures and metastable blocks; or,
overspill from one mining phase to a lower mining phase during mining operations causing direct rockfall or a residual rockfall hazard
due to catch benches filling up.

Of the four direct causes, overspill during mining is the most difficult for Antamina to control and manage. This is because the Antamina
ore body is being mined in a series of narrow phases. Narrow phase mining was adopted during the original design of the Antamina
open pit to permit the mining operations to reach ore quickly and meet the required payback schedule for the initial investment. This
narrow phase mining approach increases the potential of overspill from operations in upper phases to lower phases during blasting and
subsequent mining. The overspill causes catch benches to fill up rapidly, with the consequent loss of rockfall catchment protection for
the lower mining phases. Wider phases would permit mining techniques that minimize overspill. In an effort to minimize this overspill
problem, where possible, Antamina has adopted a three-phase blasting and mining process wherein a centre slot cut is blasted and mined,
followed by a free-face directional (inward) crest blast, and a free-face final wall trim blast. The crest cleaning process is equipment
intensive and inefficient, and reduces, but does not eliminate, over spill. Due to the shape of the Antamina ore body, it is not possible
to implement the three phase technique at all locations. Antamina has additionally adopted frequent wide step outs between phases to
provide additional rockfall protection. However, these step outs can also rapidly fill with material and maintenance is required to maintain
the effective catchment.
The nominal bench height at Antamina is 15 m; however, in the more competent rocks (i.e., the limestones and marbles) the design
criteria provides for double, 30 m-high benches. Interramp slopes comprised of 30 m-high double benches are difficult to clean using
traditional scaling equipment because most excavators cannot reach and effectively scale the intermediate zone between the two benches
following excavation of the final lift of the double bench. The result is a lip or remnant bench of loosened rock about 15 m above the mining
phase floor on the 30 m-high bench face. Antamina has historically only been able to clean this lip by constructing temporary fill ramps, or
by chain scaling from the top of the 30 m-high bench, which is not very effective. Both of these techniques expose the excavator operator
to increased risk from rockfalls during cleaning.
The Antamina ore body is structurally complex. The interaction of structure orientation and wall orientation has resulted in several
problematic areas within the open pit that have led to localized bench-scale failures, and ultimately several wall redesigns and/or changes
in operational practice. Structural conditions have also been exacerbated by less than optimal blasting techniques, although Antamina has
and continues to employ both pre-split and trim blasting techniques in an effort to reduce wall damage due to expansive blast gases and
blast vibrations. Unfortunately, because of the narrow phase mining, it is not always possible to implement optimal blasting practices and
meet the minimum required operationally efficiency.
Mining geometry, adverse structural conditions, operational practices, and blasting can all lead to rockfalls within the open pit. The rockfall
hazard is typically exacerbated by rainfall and freeze thaw conditions that can occur frequently due to the large temperature swings that the
mine is exposed to during any given day.

ROCKFALL MITIGATION
General
Considering all of the potential mechanisms that can lead to rockfalls, the Antamina Geotechnical Department, with the support of Mine
Operations, has made numerous changes to the operational procedures, implemented design changes, and introduced new equipment to
improve cleaning and reduce blast damage to final pit walls. These changes are intended to be proactive measures to reduce and manage
the rockfall hazards within the open pit. Some of these specific measures are summarized below.
Passive Measures
Visual Inspections
The Geotechnical Department conducts twice-daily inspections of the open pit, and signs off on prepared and cleaned interim and final
walls. This sign off is required prior to the entry of mine equipment or personnel into an area.
Hazard Warnings
Hazard warnings are provided as part of a rockfall hazard identification system which is described below.

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Buffer Zones and Closures


In consultation with the Mine Operations Department, areas that are considered to be susceptible to continuous or significant rockfalls
are closed to all access.
Active Measures
Scaling
Scaling at Antamina has been carried out using a variety of methods. Principal bench face scaling is conducted by the shovel or
loader at the time of mining. Scaling of bench crests and faces has been conducted using dozers or excavators dragging chains
draped over the face, although this practice is not used frequently.
Excavators have traditionally been the main method of secondary scaling, although their effectiveness has been hampered by their
limited reach in relation to the 15 m-high benches employed at Antamina. In April 2008, Antamina acquired a Caterpillar CAT 385CL long
arm excavator (21.6 m boom) that is dedicated to wall scaling. This excavator is specially designed for wall scaling and can employ a
rock pick or small rock bucket. The long arm of the excavator allows the equipment operator to set up a safe distance from a wall while
scaling, and to effectively clean the mid-bench zone on a 30 m-high bench without having to build access ramps or conduct chain scaling
from above. The extended-boom excavator is shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4 Cat 385CL Extended-Boom Excavator Scaling a Bench Face

Bench Cleaning
Benched slopes are the primary means of controlling rockfall. To be effective, benches should be cleaned on a regular basis to maintain
optimum catchment. The Geotechnical Department prepares a bench cleaning plan on a weekly basis, and this plan is submitted to Mine
Operations along with priorities for bench cleaning and maintaining rockfall catchment on accessible benches.
Rockfall Impact Berms
Rockfall impact berms are a critical tool in mitigating rockfall hazard along haulroads and active mining levels. Rockfall impact berms
are typically constructed along the inside edge of all haulroads, secondary access roads, and light vehicle roads. These berms are also
utilized in critical areas along the toe of the pit bottom. The rockfall berms are constructed as high as practical and as far away from the
wall toe as possible, with due consideration of safe road widths and transit distances on access ramps within the open pit.
Improved Drill and Blast Practices
In 2007 Antamina purchased a dedicated Titon 600 drill rig for pre-split drilling. This drill rig has the capability of drilling angle drill holes
to depths exceeding 15 m at high altitude. Antamina has also conducted blasting trials with specialized blasting consultants to optimize
and evaluate pre-split drilling techniques. These trials are ongoing, and have been coupled with vibration monitoring trials. Adjustments
to the pre-split and trim blasting procedures have been made and significant improvements realized. Blast damage is estimated using
site-specific evaluation criteria, and this data is used to prepare a contoured plan of blast damage throughout the pit. Areas with higher
damage are considered to be more susceptible to rockfall.

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Mechanical Protection
Catch fences. Antamina has successfully used a 1500 kilojoule Geobrugg fence mounted on top of an armored wall fabricated using
old mine tires to protect the primary crusher building, as shown in Figure 5. The Geobrugg wall was installed in 2004 to protect the
crusher from rockfall and fly rock and has been very effective to date.

Figure 5 Geobrugg Fence and Tire Wall in Front of Primary Crusher

Wellhead A-frame barricades. Rockfall poses a relatively high hazard to installed dewatering measures on interramp slopes, including
piezometers and dewatering wells. Antamina has recently designed and constructed A-frame barricades (see Figure 6) using steel
tubing and plate steel to cover all active dewatering wells and monitored piezometers. These barricades are simple and portable.
Water pipe leading from dewatering wells is also covered by a windrow of blasted material to protect it from rockfall.

Figure 6 Steel A-Frame Barricade Protecting a Dewatering Well

Design Modifications
Bench and Pit Wall Design
Antamina has completed periodic updates to the design interramp angles within the open pit based on achieved, or as-constructed,
bench geometry and mapped structure. These updates are completed as part of a regular update program, or in response to locally poor

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wall performance or excessive loss of catchment benches. Antamina most recently completed a comprehensive update to the bench and
pit wall design in 2008.
Blasting Process
Antamina adjusted the blasting techniques within the open pit in several geotechnical domains to include stab holes (half bench) as
opposed to full bench pre-split holes. This change was made to accommodate steeply dipping structure to obtain better performance than
could be obtained using the conventional pre-split technique.

ROCKFALL HAZARD IDENTIFICATION (RHI) SYSTEM


General
The Antamina Geotechnical Department and Piteau Associates jointly developed a qualitative Rockfall Hazard Identification (RHI)
system to help predict and identify areas of increased potential for rockfall within the open pit. Use of this system throughout
the Antamina open pit aids in developing and applying appropriate mitigative measures, and brings consistency and clarity to
communications between the Geotechnical and Mine Operations Departments and senior mine management. The RHI system improves
safety within the Antamina open pit by providing clear and easily understood hazard information to all personnel working within the
open pit. In addition, the system provides more detailed information to specialist personnel responsible for assessing occupational
risks and risk mitigation alternatives.
The use of the RHI system has been documented and forms part of one of Antaminas Standard Operating Procedures. The RHI is
formally updated by the Geotechnical Department on a weekly basis so that it accurately represents the current rockfall hazard levels
in the open pit. An updated rockfall hazard plan is submitted to Mine Operations every Monday morning (Figure 7) and is formally
presented to senior Mine Operations staff every Thursday at a weekly planning meeting. Significant changes to rockfall hazard levels
are noted as soon as they are observed during regular pit tours, and updates to the rockfall hazard plan are made as required.

Figure 7 Example of Antamina Open Pit Rockfall Hazard Plan from August 2009

The system sequentially evaluates a number of parameters to arrive at one of five qualitative hazard levels, from Very Low to Very High,
as illustrated in Figures 8 and 9. This qualitative evaluation also permits zones to be closed and restricted to all personnel in the event
that a rockfall hazard is considered to pose an unacceptable risk to personnel or equipment.

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Figure 8 Rockfall Hazard Identification System for Low Slopes

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Figure 9 Rockfall Hazard Identification System for High Slopes

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It is emphasized that the RHI system is not a risk assessment. Risk is a product of hazard level and exposure or consequence.
Since exposure or consequence are continually changing as operating areas progress and roads are opened and closed, risk must be
assessed separately. The RHI is only intended to be used as a tool for indicating level of rockfall hazard at specific locations within
the Antamina open pit.
Hazard Parameters
The RHI system sequentially evaluates a number of parameters to arrive at one of five qualitative hazard levels (i.e., Very Low, Low, Moderate,
High, or Very High). The parameters considered to be most important for identifying rockfall hazards in the Antamina open pit are:

the slope height above the area of interest;


the presence of mining activities above the slope;
the condition of benches and bench faces and quality of scaling; and,
the presence and effectiveness of rockfall impact berms.

Other factors, such as precipitation, surface runoff, freeze/thaw, blasting, etc., may also influence rockfall hazard levels; however, some
of these factors are transient and difficult to predict, and it was considered that they would be difficult to incorporate into the system
without introducing significant added complexity. One of the objectives of the RHI system was to limit its complexity so that it is easy to
understand by a wide range of users and easy update on a regular basis.
Slope Height
The first parameter to be evaluated in the RHI system is slope height. In general, the higher the slope above a haulroad, working area,
or other mine installation, the greater the expected rockfall hazard. For the RHI System, this parameter was divided into two categories: i)
slopes less than or equal to 60 m high, or two double-bench heights, and ii) slopes greater than 60 m high. Based on this first decision,
separate tables are used for the remainder of the rockfall hazard identification, as shown in Figures 8 and 9.
Mining Activities Above the Slope
The second parameter to be evaluated is the presence and location of mining at the top of the slope. Active mining at the top of a slope
will influence the rockfall hazard on that slope. However, the degree of the rockfall hazard is dependent on the location of the mining
activity relative to the crest. For this parameter, one of three categories is selected: i) no active mining above the crest, or mining activity
is greater than 40 m behind the crest, ii) active mining is within 40 m of the crest, but the muck pile is still 15 m or greater in height, and
iii) active mining within 40 m of the crest and the muck pile is less than 15 m in height, or the crest is being cleaned.
The division between the first two categories is intended to recognize a zone behind which mining activity would likely not lead to a
material increase in rockfall hazard (i.e., greater than 40 m behind the crest). As mining progresses closer to the crest, vibration from the
shovel or loader and disturbance of the muck pile is expected to cause an increase in rockfalls from the crest. The selection of 40 m is
based on observations of rockfalls at Antamina and other operating mines, and bench height.
The third category recognizes that there is a sharp increase in rockfall hazard as the shovel or loader mines through the muck pile at
the crest and begins to dislodge material on the outward-facing slope of the muck pile. In this situation, an excavator should be used to
pull back the remaining muck at the crest to limit the amount of rockfall and overspill that is generated.
Condition of Benches and Bench Faces and Quality of Scaling
The third parameter to be evaluated is the condition of catch benches and bench faces and the quality of scaling. Catch benches
are typically designed to capture bench-scale failures and rockfall, either generated from the bench face immediately above the bench
or from higher up the slope. Intact, full-width benches will perform better than benches that have deteriorated or have been subject to
excessive breakback due to over-excavation, blasting or adverse structure. Similarly, benches that remain clean will perform better than
benches that are partially or completely filled with debris. Bench faces that are well-scaled and generally free of adverse structure will
pose a lower rockfall hazard than bench faces that are poorly-scaled and contain open, adverse structure or have experience multiple
bench-scale failures.
For this parameter, two separate conditions are evaluated: (A) condition of catch benches, and (B) condition of bench faces and quality
of scaling. The worst case of the two is selected.
For the condition of catch benches, one of three categories is selected: i) benches are intact and clean, ii) benches are deteriorating
and/or are up to half full of debris, and iii) benches are lost and/or are completely full.
For the condition of bench faces and quality of scaling, one of three categories is also selected: i) good scaling (i.e., no loose material on
bench face, crest is clean), and no adverse structure, ii) moderate scaling (i.e., some loose material on bench face, crest is oversteepened),
and some adverse or open structure, and iii) poor scaling (i.e., abundant loose material remains on bench face, crest is ragged and loose),
presence of bench-scale failures, and blocks perched on the crest.

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Presence and Effectiveness of Rockfall Impact Berms


The fourth and final parameter to be evaluated is the presence and effectiveness of rockfall impact berms. A haulroad with a
continuous, well-constructed, clean impact berm along its inside edge will have a lower rockfall hazard than a similar haulroad with no
impact berm or a berm filled with debris. For this parameter, one of three categories is selected: i) good the rockfall impact berm is
continuous, clean, and greater than 2 m high and greater than 5 m from the toe of the slope, ii) moderate the rockfall impact berm is
greater than 2 m high and 1 to 5 m from toe, or the rockfall impact berm is less than 2 m high and greater than 5 m from toe, and iii)
poor there is no rockfall impact berm or it is discontinuous, or the rockfall impact berm is less than 0.5 m high, or the rockfall impact
berm less than 1 m from toe.
The system is illustrated in Figures 8 and 9. After selecting the appropriate table based on slope height (Figure 8 for slopes less than
or equal to 60 m, or Figure 9 for slopes greater than 60 m), the system acts as a flow sheet. Starting in the left column, one selects the
appropriate parameters based on observed field conditions to arrive at a hazard level on the right. There are five hazard levels possible,
ranging from Very Low to Very High (i.e., Very Low, Low, Moderate, High, and Very High).
A separate category: Zone Closed allows for special treatment of zones where an imminent rockfall hazard is identified. In addition,
judgment can be used to escalate the hazard level if the trained assessor does not consider that the system adequately captures the
hazard in a specific situation.
Rockfall Hazard Plan
The RHI system is intended to be evaluated along all haulroads (active or inactive), secondary access roads, light vehicle roads,
and regularly travelled benches (i.e., benches providing access to piezometers or inclinometers, pumping wells, electrical substations,
etc.) within the open pit. The system is also evaluated at the toe of all active or inactive mining areas and stepouts, and along the
pit bottom.
Contiguous sections of roads or mining levels with similar attributes are grouped together and are compiled in a database. The database is
set up with drop-down menus to allow easy input of the hazard parameters for each section. Hazard parameters are manually mapped in the
field on a weekly basis, and then input into the database, where the rockfall hazard level is automatically updated.
Rockfall hazard levels are colour-coded and plotted on a weekly mine status plan, such as illustrated in Figure 7. This rockfall hazard
plan is posted in key locations throughout the mine facilities to convey the information to mine personnel. It is also used to facilitate
discussions and directives during daily and weekly operations and planning meetings. The RHI system has been added as an integral part
of training at Antamina for new personnel and for strategic partners.
Recommended Mitigative Measures
For each road section or mining area summarized in the database, appropriate mitigative measures to reduce the rockfall hazard are
also recommended. These measures can usually be derived from the hazard parameters mapped in the field. For example, if a particular
area was noted to have poor scaling, additional scaling may be recommended to lower the rockfall hazard level. As part of this prescriptive
phase, the resulting rockfall hazard level if the mitigative measure is put in place is also estimated. This aids management in decisionmaking and prioritization of resources.
Implementation
The Antamina Geotechnical Department believes that implementation of the RHI system has helped with the identification of
rockfall hazards within the open pit and has made the Antamina mine safer. Used as a tool for evaluation of potential rockfall hazards,
the RHI system helps identify remedial works that may be required prior to undertaking specific activities in a given area within the
mine. Although the RHI has generally worked well, Antamina has suffered several rockfalls in areas that were characterized as being
subject to a moderate rockfall hazard level. This experience does not mean that the system failed (i.e., a moderate hazard does not
mean a negligible likelihood of a rockfall occurrence), but it is emphasized that the RHI is a qualitative/empirical tool that requires
site-specific calibration or adaptation. The RHI has been modified twice since its initial implementation to accommodate required
changes and recommendations for improvement. The system will continue to be used and adapted to suit the actual site conditions
and reality as required.

SUMMARY
Along with required design changes to accommodate adverse geotechnical conditions, Antamina has implemented various active
and passive measures within the open pit to reduce the potential for rockfalls that pose risks to personnel and equipment. The Rockfall
Hazard Identification (RHI) system has been designed and developed to provide a systematic and repeatable method of identifying and
quantifying rockfall hazard. The RHI system considers the slope height, impacts of active mining, condition of catch benches, quality

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of scaling, condition of bench faces, and presence of rockfall impact berms as key parameters in the evaluation of rockfall hazard.
Antamina updates the RHI data base once per week and rockfall hazard identification plans are distributed to key Mine Operations
personnel and posted throughout the mine. Training on the RHI system has also been included as part of the obligatory induction
training for new personnel.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors acknowledge with thanks the support of Compaa Minera Antamina S.A. throughout the development of the Rockfall
Hazard Identification system and their permission to publish this paper. Constructive comments by Mr. Peter Stacey during development
of the system were also greatly appreciated.

REFERENCES
1. Z.T. Bieniawski, Rock Mass Classification in Rock Engineering, Proceedings of the Symposium on Exploration for Rock Engineering,
Z.T. Bieniawski, Ed., Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa, 1976, 97-106.

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