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For the design of any open-pit operation it is necessary to have the geological
modeling of the deposit, which is obtained from the previous research work. This
design contemplates the establishment of the final, intermediate and perspective
contours in the different stages in the development of the exploitation, as well as the
definition of the exploitation method and the selection of the machinery to be used.
An aspect of extreme importance for the harmonious development of the mining
works is the one that is related to the stability of its contours, since they guarantee the
security during the exploitation, in the period of closing and, in the later use of the
spaces created by The explotion.
The elements of the quarry's outline are: The boards, their depth or working height,
the banks, composed of the platforms, bank height, bank slope angle, transport and
safety berms, angle of the active boards and inactive of the exploitation and the
culmination angle.
To undertake the design of a quarry, as well as its elements, it is necessary to have a
volume of information, which characterizes the rock mass and its behavior in time, to
be able to take the design decisions that guarantee the safety and economy of the
We can group this information in the following way:

 Geological model of the deposit Properties of the rock mass

 Hydrogeological characteristics of massif
 Effects of the alteration of the rocks In situ efforts
 Effects of the blasting on the rocks
 Treatment to preserve the stability of Ta This slopes. Here it is important to
have a criterion of how the created space will remain and what possible use it
will have.
Geological Information Collection both in electronic format or paper: The availability of
a geological model is fundamental. These Geological Models are more effective when
they are made in three dimensions with the use of professional programs such as
The models allow to visualize in three dimensions the geology, structural Geology,
distribution of laws, distribution of groundwater and all existing and available
geomechanical information (RQD, RMR, Q, etc.)
With the automation of the design it is easier to use the interface of Geological Models
with Stability Analysis Models.


It is the aspect that constitutes the biggest problem, in the stability analysis of slopes
and, the decision making for the design of the exploitation strategy of the quarry. The
problem that arises with the selection of the type of model that characterizes the
massif continuous (Homogeneous) or discontinuous (discrete) models will be taken
into account
It is convenient to use the failure criterion of Hoek and Brown taking into account the
assumptions considered in their evaluation and to use the retroactive calculations to
verify if the parameters assumed in the failure criterion are correct. The use of
probabilistic methods is recommended.
The presence of underground water in the slopes reduces the effective tensions and,
consequently, reduces the resistance to cutting of the discontinuities present in the
rock mass. The measurement and control of groundwater levels is important
throughout the life of the quarry. The geological model should include the information
of the water table, its sources of power, as well as the hydraulics of the rock mass
The slopes of convex form (protrusions) are less stable than the concave slopes due to
the lack of confinement in the former. The effect of deconfinement is usually ignored.
This usually ends in loss of strength of the rock mass.
The concentration of tensions in the feet of the slopes of banks of great height
produces faults in the zone, that cause instability in the same ones. In few occasions
measurements of in situ efforts are made to design slopes being an uncommon
practice in quarries, only it is used in investigations in very deep quarries.
The damage caused by a massive blast extends several meters behind the slope. Blast
damage occurs due to the induced dynamic stresses that result in the fracturing
process of the rock, resulting in the opening of the discontinuities.
It is important to make a detailed observation of the drill core to have a real
appreciation of the rock mass. The effect of the rupture or fragmentation produced by
the blasting must be taken into account during the geotechnical mapping, to assess to
what extent the quality of the rock is affected. rock mass.
The stability of the slopes in an open pit exploitation has a great importance for the
safety and economic effectiveness of the same reason why it should be considered
from the beginning of the design process.
The most important aspects that affect safety at the fronts and operations are the
- Fall or sliding of loose rocks
f) Partial collapse of a bank
g) General collapse of a quarry board
The recommendations for the control and elimination of the risks are the adoption of
the following measures:
c) Adequate design of benches and platforms to retain the detachments of materials.
f) Determination and maintenance of safe general slopes.
a) Control in the vicinity of the slope, to reduce damage to the massif.
c) Application of drainage systems in the massifs to reduce the stresses caused by
f) Systematic and effective sanitation of loose materials, potentially dangerous due to
the possibility of falling.
The previous studies necessary to perform the geotechnical design of a stable slope
involve a characterization of the rock mass from the following factors:
c) Joints and discontinuities systems
d) Relationship of these with the surfaces of the fronts, slopes and possible planes of
a) Resistant parameters of the joints, the characteristics and properties of their
surfaces, as well as the materials that fill them. e) Geotechnical properties of the rock
f) Hydrogeological characteristics and water pressures in joints and fractures.
g) Effect of vibrations on massifs
It is necessary to point out the forms of breakage that occur from the recorded data.
In the case of rocky slopes, the breaking surfaces can be produced from pre-existing
discontinuities in the massif. A graphical method can be applied to identify situations
in which, kinematically, certain types of break
The use of graphical methods allows to detect the sectors of the exploitation that are
susceptible to the production of breaks and thus, direct recognition actions towards
the most critical areas.
In the case of cohesive massifs of the soil type, experience has shown that the breaks
are of the circular type. In highly fractured rocky massifs, where it manifests at
random or, where the general slope varies with respect to the structure, the breaking
surfaces are more complex; being able to be composed and partially formed by
discontinuities close to the sliding surface and, on the other hand, by new factors in
the intact rock.
In the case of intense fracturing, the degree of interweaving of blocks and their
possibilities of movement play an important role, being able to adopt the hypothesis of
circular rupture. Limit equilibrium stability calculations (based on the mechanics of
non-deformable solids) can be applied for the different types of breaks indicated.