Rock fall in surface mining

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 95, No. 1063, 2002

C.O. Brawner and J. Kalejta II

The classical approach to control rock fall and ravel in open pit mining has been to use catch benches. The width and volume of benches is most dependent on the bench height, size of loading equipment, blast damage to the face and mining regulations. This was compatible with open pit slopes of less than approximately 45 degrees. As our understanding of rock mechanics and blasting control has improved over recent years, much steeper rock slopes can be developed at many open pit mines. However, narrower benches result in less rock fall capacity. The transportation industry has been very successful in using catch fences to protect highways throughout North America and Europe for years. The authors recommend that cable and ring net fences have a potential major application in open pit mining to allow steeper rock slopes with significant economic benefit. This paper outlines the application, design and operation of catch fences in surface mining for specific conditions. Typical case examples are presented.
Keywords: Catch fences, Blasting, Rock mechanics, Surface mining.