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The Quasi - Open Pit

Mnge 315

Dr. B. C. Paul spring 2003

Open Pit Sequence

We have just gone over classic open

pits than go down and push back in a

variety of ways as it develops out to
the ultimate pit.
Sometimes Site Specific constraints
dont allow open pits to be developed
in any direction that economics

The Dipping Bed Example

Even though this mine is too

Steep to backfill as mining goe
Down-dip, this mine must still
Systematically move forward
Advancing down-dip just like
Your strip mine in Homework #

You can still use Learch Grossman to find an Ultimat

But you have little choice on the sequence

The Quarry A Simple Case

Overburden Soil and Degraded Rock
Rock Layer #1

Rock Layer #2

Unique Geologic Characteristics The ore zone is not a steeply dipping geo
Object, it is a bed. The ore spreads out in all directions. How far out you g
Likely to be determined by a property line, rather than the edge of an ore z

A Simple Midwestern Quarry

Overburden is limited One way to improve net present value is to put

Stripping expenses. In a quarry there may be economies of scale in
All at once and little Overburden
to be gained
of stripping.
Rock Layer #1

Rock Layer #2

Ore Does Not Really Have a Grade Most of the Rock Bed has about the same
Value. Thus you optimize NPV by having more limited costs at first. Since roc
Closest to surface usually has lower mining costs this suggests a top to botto

High Rock Quality

Overburden Soil and Degraded Rock
Rock Layer #1

Rock Layer #2

May often use

A bench height
That matches
Rock beds to
Sort product
Quality and

Hydrothermal alteration often deposits valuable minerals in rock but it als

It weak and fractured. Quarry rock is often strong and unfractured so it w
Stand and steep angles and needs only narrow berms to catch a rare brea

Quarries can have Steep

dipping Beds
Can end up with a pit that advances
down dip
Can have thicker overburden

May end up with something like a strip

mine where overburden from oneside
backfills the pit on the other.

Open Pit Mines

In some senses all forms of surface

mines are open pits

Strip Mines tend to refer to coal
operations with some very significant
differences from open pits in the metal/
industrial mineral sense
Quarries also tend to be unique subset
Placer and dredge operations also
unique subset

Classic Open Pit

Characterized by a series of stair-step like
benches that each act as a working area
Pit shapes tend to be more configured to
geology of the deposit more than
equipment needs/convenience
Many pits are ovals
Fits the geometry of disseminated metal deposits
Pits tend to be wider relative to length
Pits tend not to move like strip mine pit
develops in place

Differences not Necessarily

Working Benches were encountered in
Strip Mines

Advance benches using trucks and shovels developing

ahead of dragline
Multiple coal seams may need a bench for each
Contour haulback operations often had benches lined up
with layers of concern
Mountain Top Removal can be developed as truck shovel

Local and Industry Specific Word Usage

Coal people like to strip mine
Metals/Industrial Minerals people like to Open Pit
Aggregate people like to Quarry

Terrace Pit Mining

Add Picture

Note that all characterized by benches often set up on truck shovel equipment
Working heights. Can also be used with multi-seam coal mining

Factors Controlling Terrace

Bench Heights are often controlled by the
digging height of the shovel

In past drill accuracy limits have been


Benches often give more gradual over-all


Dragline highwall is mostly angle of repose

May need a specific bench width to provide
working room smaller over-all slope to

More Terrace Pit Control

Trucks and Shovels often control OB
movement rather than draglines

Dragline has limited boom length favors

narrow pits
Trucks and Shovels need room for equipment
to drive across without getting tangled up or
caught on steep slope
Tends to favor wider pits
Need for ramps tends to favor shorter pits rather
than having long moving range like dragline

Dipping Thick Coal Seams

Common in Western part of U.S. for coal

Mining on the Strike or the

Area Strip mines
Dragline moves down the strike with
pickup and dump sequence moving
down dip
Conspicuously advances down dip

Mining Down the Strike

Contour Haulback schemes
Overburden movement is along the strike

Add picture

Coal Terrace Pits

With relatively flat seam overburden
moves across the dip
With steeper dip overburden
movement tends to be down strike
Even possible to have full pit width
developed at once with contour mine
like advance

Evolving to True Open Pit

Benches advance down the dip
Pit length is limited for manageable
network of truck haul roads
Overburden is not deposited in the
same pit

Hauled to a distinct and separate pit

along the strike
Phosphate Operations mine dipping
phosphorous rich limestones that way

Note the Distinct Feature

Pit is developed out to its stripping ratio

limit leaving the pit open the entire time

Only at end of the pit life is the pit backfilled

Geometry and Equipment limitations in

hardrock and industrial minerals defies a

workable concurrent reclamation in the
SMCRA sense
One reasons the law was only applied to coal