Managing pit slope displacements: Highland Valley Copper’s Lornex pit southwest wall

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 96, No. 1071, 2003

H.W. Newcomen, L. Shwydiuk and C.S. Maggs

The southwest wall of the Lornex Pit at the Highland Valley Copper mine has been experiencing slope displacements since 1978. Measures to manage the displacements on previous pushbacks have included stepping out, scheduling pushbacks to unload the crest of unstable areas, slope dewatering and mining with intensive slope monitoring. The final pushback on this wall is currently being mined and substantial modifications to the slope geometry could prove to be uneconomical. As a result, a campaign of surface water collection and diversion, horizontal drainhole drilling and deep well drilling is currently underway to maintain an acceptable degree of stability to the end of mine life. The various factors contributing to instability, including engineering geologic controls, rock mass strength, and surface and groundwater hydrology are presented. Movement trends, displacement magnitudes and stability analyses results are also discussed.
Keywords: Slope displacement, Pushbacks, Stability, Engineering geology, Hydrology, Open pit.