Support for Pit Slopes

CIM Bulletin, 1971


It is suggested that artificial supports might be used to increase, with safety, the angle of hardrock open-pit slopes. Guidelines for designing such a support system, based on a simplified analysis, are given. The installation, construction and instrumentation of a trial support system is described and a breakdown of the construction costs is given. On the basis of this cost analysis, the economic benefits derived from reduced waste-rock excavation are compared with the support costs for a typical mine. In an example, it is shown that the slope angle in an open-pit mine 500 ft deep, with benches 50 ft high by 30 ft wide, could be safely increased from 37Yz degrees without support to an optimum of 53 degrees with support. In this case, the support costs would be approximately $900 per linear foot of pit wall and the savings due to decreased excavation of waste rock (at $0.34/ton) would be approximately $1,900 per linear foot, yielding an increased margin of profit of approximately $1,000 per linear foot of pit wall. This figure could be increased to $6,000 per linear foot if the steeper slope were used to extract more ore. More than 50 per cent of the support costs are accounted for by diamond-drilling the holes for the deep cable anchors. The use of percussion drills for this purpose would seem to offer a means of significantly reducing the support . costs and thus further increasing the profit margin available.
Keywords: Anchor, Anchors, Cables, Cost, Costs, Rock, Rocks, Slopes, Support, Supports