Research Interests

Current project:

Application of geotechnically optimal slope shapes to the design of open-pit mines


Prof. Stefano Utili

Dr David Milledge

Project Outline:

In real mines, the choice of the pitwall shapes is restricted by several constraints of an operational nature that need to be included in the design and which are likely to end up in a sub-optimal choice of slope shape from a geotechnical viewpoint but optimal for the given set of mining constraints.

In order to increase the profitability of open pit mines and reduce the carbon footprint during the excavation, it is necessary to design the slope profiles using an optimal shape, i.e. the shape leading to the highest stability factor.

A key objective of this project is to come up with a rigorous methodology for the systematic design of open pit mines, implementing pitwalls of a shape as optimal as possible in terms of pushbacks and ultimate pit limit. To verify the accuracy and reliability of this methodology, several example case studies of real mines in different geologies will be analysed to compare the financial return as well as CO2 equivalent between traditional slope design and optimal shape.