3-D STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY MODELS FOR GEOTECHNICAL DESIGN: CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS
Dr Julia Kramer (Senior Consultant - SRK Consulting (Canada)), Dr Wayne Barnett (Principal Consultant - SRK Consulting (Canada)), Mr Findlay Craig (Consultant Structural Geologist - SRK Consulting (Canada)), Mrs Ron Uken (Principal Consultant - SRK Consulting (Canada))
It is now common practice to build complex structural geology models for mining operations. These often lack a geotechnical perspective and do not conform to the requirements necessary to understand and effectively model, rock mass behaviour. Here we describe the aspects of structural geology that are important for the geotechnical engineer, and suggest tools to improve communication between the structural geologist and the engineer. This is illustrated in a 3-D structural and domain modelling case study of the Valley pit of the Highland Valley Copper deposit. The mine fault network model was integrated from regional and deposit-scale data using multiple sources, capturing the dominant structural pattern, continuity of structures and appropriate cross-cutting relationships, and supplemented by information on the physical properties of the structures. Finally rock mass volumes with similar properties were delineated and a 3-D confidence block model was generated to provide more effective communication of the geologist’s confidence in various aspects of the structural model, allowing the engineers to make appropriate, informed decisions.