Structural Geology applied to mining

(1 student review)

Online course

40 hours / 5 weeks

Dates: to be determined

Introduction

The purpose of the course is to introduce to the students the practical aspects of mainly the relationship between structural geology and mining, with emphasis on open pits and some lesser mention of underground scenarios. Consequently, the five course modules are:

  1. Stereonet use and use of the DIPS program
  2. Geological mapping both for mineralization and for geotech purposes and the types of structures and major faults worldwide and their significance
  3. Modes of failure
  4. Groundwater and  it’s role in mining including underground and its’ effect on  pit slope failures
  5. Mining and society

Objectives

Once these modules are completed, the student will be able to understand the role of structural geology, mainly for slope stability, but also for mineralization and to grasp the close relation between mining and society and how related issues affect the role of geologists, geotechnical engineers, mining engineers and engineering geologists at the present time. The ultimate goal will be for the student to become comfortable with all these topics and to see that this is only an introduction and with their own experience in applying this knowledge they will most likely come up with their own ideas as well. As we say at Highland Valley Copper “it takes 20 years to get 20 years experience”.

As for the presentation of the course it most likely will include the following;

  • Text to read and comprehend
  • Tutorials including color illustrations
  • Case studies
  • Videos as available

Limited places.

  1. Stereonet use and DIPS program and case study
  • – Overview of use of stereonets for analysis of geological structures (discontinuities) in an open pit
  • – How to plot structures manually  on  a stereonet both the planes and the poles to the planes to see the relationship between them
  • – Exercises in plotting planes and poles to planes
  • – Use of contoured pole plots for stereonet analysis
  • – Necessity for many dip and dip direction readings to get reliable averages for structural trends
  • – Use of the DIPS program; how to make a spreadsheet and how to enter data
  • – How to do a pole plot and how to do a great circle plot
  • – How to plot the trend of a pit slope ie with its dip and dip direction
  1. Geological mapping
  • – Overview of major structures in the world ie Lornex Fault at HVC, West Fault at Chuquicamata, East Africa Rift Valley and the Labrador Trough (is it a fault trough or a syncline?).
  • – The types of structures and how they were formed include faults, shears and joints and a brief mention of folds and also foliation in metamorphic rocks and bedding in sedimentary rocks.
  • – Three main types of geological mapping including surface small scale, open pit medium scale and underground large scale and the techniques involved. The goal is to represent the rock accurately and concentrate on the most important features.
  • – The practice of interpretation of plan and cross-sectional views of the area that has been mapped ie how to do it and also how to interpret it and how one doesn’t really know the geology of an area until one can draw a cross-section of it to see it in 3-D. The art of interpretation involves, for one thing the ability to work between plans and cross-sections and relate the two. In this digital age it is less common to use maps on paper but this skill still requires the use of paper maps. Also it will be shown how to decide what to show on the cross-sections including surface mapping results but also diamond drill lithological, alteration and structural information and how to interpret it.
  1. Modes of failure (Slope stability) in open pits
  • – Why it is important to understand the main modes of failure in open pit mines at relatively shallow depths on discontinuities that define toppling, wedge and plane failures and also how circular failures develop. The emphasis is on actual failures encountered in the field in an actual open pit mine and the conditions of them in the field (practical orientation).
  • – Relationship between pit slope failures and the safety of personnel and equipment and how to minimize and if possible mitigate the effect of these failures by pit design, mining practice (ie strategy and tactics of mining.
  • – Structures in feasibility studies before a mine is developed to help sequencing etc) and by depressurizing and dewatering groundwater that exerts pressure on the structures to decrease slope movements and diverting surface water to reduce recharge to the critical bedrock.
  • – Personal experience with toppling, plane and wedge type of failures at Highland Valley Copper and how to handle them.
  • – Case study of geotechnical mapping for blast-ability at Highland Valley Copper as an example of a practical application of mapping to a mining situation. Also it is an example of a specialized type of rock mass rating but mainly for the purposes of determining blastability.
  • – The use of oriented core to determine the location and orientation of major anticipate potential types of failures and how this can be taken into account with the pit design. The meaning of a structural domain and how it is important to map the whole pit both for geotechnical purposes and for mineralization so that the pit can be divided into different design sectors depending on the differing structural domains.
  • – The role of long and short term planners in relation to such mapping information. The inter-ramp angles and the overall slope angles and their relationship. Example of flattening the slope from about 37 degrees angle to 25 degrees in the Lornex Fault Domain done by the long term planners.
  • – The relationship between economics and  pit design and how the whole west wall of the Lornex Pit in waste was shut down for about one year in 1982 which meant the waste stripping to expose ore was delayed (due to the mining recession at that time). The effect of 1 degree steeper or flatter of a pit slope on economics (ask Peter Witt re this).
  1. Groundwater
  • – Overview of groundwater occurrence
  • – Groundwater in unconsolidated sediments and aquifers vs aquitards
  • – Two types of aquifers ie confined and unconfined
  • – Groundwater in bedrock and variable permeabilities
  • – Darcy’s law
  • – The problems with groundwater in open pits
  • – How to alleviate groundwater pressures (ie wells, horizontal drainholes and surface water diversion) to reduce slope movements
  • – Monitoring of groundwater levels and pressure (types of piezometers and their roles)
  • – Piezometer installation techniques
  • – Case study of the effects of groundwater on an open pit
  1. Mining and society
  • – The Renaissance and Agricola’s studies and their content from De Re Metallica and the Knappschaft and the conquistadores and the mit’a how it was created and used originally by the Incas and then how it was perverted by the Spaniards so it became a form of indentured slavery in the mines especially of Potosi.
  • – The Industrial Revolution and the development of geniuses like William Smith, Darwin, Hutton, Lyell and Humboldt and their observations and theories and close relation to the Industrial Revolution.
  • – Modern globalization and ‘free trade’ agreements and the race to the bottom and Mines Acts and Reclamation Codes and environmental protection and global warming and the struggle of the environmentalists and the necessity of geology and geosciences taking these things into account where they are impacted by mining and mineral exploration for example.
  • – On First Nations (in Canada) and the Impact Benefit Agreements and land claims and respect for the historical claims to the land and the water. Aboriginal mining as done with the mit’a in the Inca society, the Navajo coal and the Manitoulin flint (?) mine on Manitoulin Island in the Great Lakes of Canada. Also, the red ochre mined by the local First Nations from the bluffs along the Tulameen River near Princeton BC and traded far and wide to other parts of North America (for pigment, for war paint, etc)
  • – Consultation demands such as insisted upon by the people of Peru. This means a duty to consult with the local community and/or indigenous people before proceeding with a mining venture.

Sean Daly

Sean Daly has  a BSc in Geology and an M.Eng. in Mining Engineering from the University of British Columbia in western Canada. He has over 40 years of intensive hands-on field experience. This includes geological mapping for the Geological Survey of Canada, the Ontario Dept of Mines, for mineral exploration projects, underground at a rich silver lead zinc mine in Honduras, and many years doing geotechnical and geological mapping at a large porphyry copper open pit mine in British Columbia. Also, he logged many 1000’s  of meters of diamond drill core for both mineral exploration and geotechnical data especially at the above mentioned Highland Valley Copper Mine.

At Highland Valley Copper, for 10 years he was responsible for the slope stability of two large open pits, with special emphasis on toppling failures which predominated in these two pits, but also with experience in plane and wedge failures. He developed his own technique for blast-ability mapping of the rocks and this was applied to make blasting more efficient, for about 15 years and involved a kind of rock mass characterization. He was also trained by a geotechnical engineer mentor on the use of the DIPS program both for analysis of structures and to orient diamond drill core data.

In addition to 19 years of experience at Highland Valley Copper, he has 14 years of contracting/consulting for both geotech work (often for pre-feasibility studies) and for mineral exploration. In this work he learned to size up a geological or geotechnical situation very quickly on rocks in such widely diverse places as Alaska, British Columbia, Oregon, Mexico, Chile, Honduras, El Salvador, Ireland and Spain.

Lastly, he just finished writing a book about the history of geology and mining since the 1500’s (From the Erzgebirge  to Potosi) and it is being published right now. In this book, he traces the relationship between geology and mining and important social and economic world-shaking events like the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution. The book includes a review of the famous old mining treatise called De Re Metallica written by Georgius Agricola, a German doctor who began studying mining geology and engineering in a small town he was stationed at  in Eastern Germany in the 1500’s. It was the authority on mining for 180 years. His book also includes a large section on the engineering uses of mapping at Highland Valley Copper.

The course is run in an online format. Throughout our innovative and powerful Virtual Campus, a dynamic and flexible environment is provided so the student can follow the course at his or her pace.

Within this virtual platform, students are in continuous contact with professors in a tailored way, solving questions together, and widening knowledge and acquiring new skills. Students can also interact with other students and professors through webinars and forums.

Plenty of content can be found in the Campus: eLearning material, videos, technical articles, manuals, complementary documentation, real examples and exercises.

The course is aimed at all those technical people who are engaged in dealing with the geology and geotechnical aspects of open pit mining and using applied geology to solve mining/blasting problems and dealing with the major structures and main structure sets at a producing mine. It also should be of assistance to mining engineers especially those involved in short or long term planning. As for the career opportunities for the course, it should enhance the ability of the students to work in an active  open pit mine, at any stage of its’ development, including pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, overburden stripping or full mining production of ore, waste and overburden. It also should benefit geologists and geotechnically trained geologists who are mapping the surface in the vicinity of open pit mines or underground mines. While the main emphasis is on open pit mapping, also underground mapping will be touched upon as to general techniques, precautions etc. and problems with groundwater underground.

As evidence of knowledge gained throughout the course, a certificate will be issued from the Virtual platform. This certificate is based on the modern technology Blockchain, which increases security, prevents fraud, builds trust and ensures you’re ready for the future.

The course is aimed at all those technical people who are engaged in dealing with the geology and geotechnical aspects of open pit mining and using applied geology to solve mining/blasting problems and dealing with the major structures and main structure sets at a producing mine. It also should be of assistance to mining engineers especially those involved in short or long term planning. As for the career opportunities for the course, it should enhance the ability of the students to work in an active  open pit mine, at any stage of its’ development, including pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, overburden stripping or full mining production of ore, waste and overburden. It also should benefit geologists and geotechnically trained geologists who are mapping the surface in the vicinity of open pit mines or underground mines. While the main emphasis is on open pit mapping, also underground mapping will be touched upon as to general techniques, precautions etc. and problems with groundwater underground.

So, in summary, for the job prospects for this course, it would be mainly  for mining geologists, geotechnical engineers, engineering geologists, hydrogeologists and mining engineers.

Introduction

The purpose of the course is to introduce to the students the practical aspects of mainly the relationship between structural geology and mining, with emphasis on open pits and some lesser mention of underground scenarios. Consequently, the five course modules are:

  1. Stereonet use and use of the DIPS program
  2. Geological mapping both for mineralization and for geotech purposes and the types of structures and major faults worldwide and their significance
  3. Modes of failure
  4. Groundwater and  it’s role in mining including underground and its’ effect on  pit slope failures
  5. Mining and society

Objectives

Once these modules are completed, the student will be able to understand the role of structural geology, mainly for slope stability, but also for mineralization and to grasp the close relation between mining and society and how related issues affect the role of geologists, geotechnical engineers, mining engineers and engineering geologists at the present time. The ultimate goal will be for the student to become comfortable with all these topics and to see that this is only an introduction and with their own experience in applying this knowledge they will most likely come up with their own ideas as well. As we say at Highland Valley Copper “it takes 20 years to get 20 years experience”.

As for the presentation of the course it most likely will include the following;

  • Text to read and comprehend
  • Tutorials including color illustrations
  • Case studies
  • Videos as available

Limited places.

Read more

  1. Stereonet use and DIPS program and case study
  • – Overview of use of stereonets for analysis of geological structures (discontinuities) in an open pit
  • – How to plot structures manually  on  a stereonet both the planes and the poles to the planes to see the relationship between them
  • – Exercises in plotting planes and poles to planes
  • – Use of contoured pole plots for stereonet analysis
  • – Necessity for many dip and dip direction readings to get reliable averages for structural trends
  • – Use of the DIPS program; how to make a spreadsheet and how to enter data
  • – How to do a pole plot and how to do a great circle plot
  • – How to plot the trend of a pit slope ie with its dip and dip direction
  1. Geological mapping
  • – Overview of major structures in the world ie Lornex Fault at HVC, West Fault at Chuquicamata, East Africa Rift Valley and the Labrador Trough (is it a fault trough or a syncline?).
  • – The types of structures and how they were formed include faults, shears and joints and a brief mention of folds and also foliation in metamorphic rocks and bedding in sedimentary rocks.
  • – Three main types of geological mapping including surface small scale, open pit medium scale and underground large scale and the techniques involved. The goal is to represent the rock accurately and concentrate on the most important features.
  • – The practice of interpretation of plan and cross-sectional views of the area that has been mapped ie how to do it and also how to interpret it and how one doesn’t really know the geology of an area until one can draw a cross-section of it to see it in 3-D. The art of interpretation involves, for one thing the ability to work between plans and cross-sections and relate the two. In this digital age it is less common to use maps on paper but this skill still requires the use of paper maps. Also it will be shown how to decide what to show on the cross-sections including surface mapping results but also diamond drill lithological, alteration and structural information and how to interpret it.
  1. Modes of failure (Slope stability) in open pits
  • – Why it is important to understand the main modes of failure in open pit mines at relatively shallow depths on discontinuities that define toppling, wedge and plane failures and also how circular failures develop. The emphasis is on actual failures encountered in the field in an actual open pit mine and the conditions of them in the field (practical orientation).
  • – Relationship between pit slope failures and the safety of personnel and equipment and how to minimize and if possible mitigate the effect of these failures by pit design, mining practice (ie strategy and tactics of mining.
  • – Structures in feasibility studies before a mine is developed to help sequencing etc) and by depressurizing and dewatering groundwater that exerts pressure on the structures to decrease slope movements and diverting surface water to reduce recharge to the critical bedrock.
  • – Personal experience with toppling, plane and wedge type of failures at Highland Valley Copper and how to handle them.
  • – Case study of geotechnical mapping for blast-ability at Highland Valley Copper as an example of a practical application of mapping to a mining situation. Also it is an example of a specialized type of rock mass rating but mainly for the purposes of determining blastability.
  • – The use of oriented core to determine the location and orientation of major anticipate potential types of failures and how this can be taken into account with the pit design. The meaning of a structural domain and how it is important to map the whole pit both for geotechnical purposes and for mineralization so that the pit can be divided into different design sectors depending on the differing structural domains.
  • – The role of long and short term planners in relation to such mapping information. The inter-ramp angles and the overall slope angles and their relationship. Example of flattening the slope from about 37 degrees angle to 25 degrees in the Lornex Fault Domain done by the long term planners.
  • – The relationship between economics and  pit design and how the whole west wall of the Lornex Pit in waste was shut down for about one year in 1982 which meant the waste stripping to expose ore was delayed (due to the mining recession at that time). The effect of 1 degree steeper or flatter of a pit slope on economics (ask Peter Witt re this).
  1. Groundwater
  • – Overview of groundwater occurrence
  • – Groundwater in unconsolidated sediments and aquifers vs aquitards
  • – Two types of aquifers ie confined and unconfined
  • – Groundwater in bedrock and variable permeabilities
  • – Darcy’s law
  • – The problems with groundwater in open pits
  • – How to alleviate groundwater pressures (ie wells, horizontal drainholes and surface water diversion) to reduce slope movements
  • – Monitoring of groundwater levels and pressure (types of piezometers and their roles)
  • – Piezometer installation techniques
  • – Case study of the effects of groundwater on an open pit
  1. Mining and society
  • – The Renaissance and Agricola’s studies and their content from De Re Metallica and the Knappschaft and the conquistadores and the mit’a how it was created and used originally by the Incas and then how it was perverted by the Spaniards so it became a form of indentured slavery in the mines especially of Potosi.
  • – The Industrial Revolution and the development of geniuses like William Smith, Darwin, Hutton, Lyell and Humboldt and their observations and theories and close relation to the Industrial Revolution.
  • – Modern globalization and ‘free trade’ agreements and the race to the bottom and Mines Acts and Reclamation Codes and environmental protection and global warming and the struggle of the environmentalists and the necessity of geology and geosciences taking these things into account where they are impacted by mining and mineral exploration for example.
  • – On First Nations (in Canada) and the Impact Benefit Agreements and land claims and respect for the historical claims to the land and the water. Aboriginal mining as done with the mit’a in the Inca society, the Navajo coal and the Manitoulin flint (?) mine on Manitoulin Island in the Great Lakes of Canada. Also, the red ochre mined by the local First Nations from the bluffs along the Tulameen River near Princeton BC and traded far and wide to other parts of North America (for pigment, for war paint, etc)
  • – Consultation demands such as insisted upon by the people of Peru. This means a duty to consult with the local community and/or indigenous people before proceeding with a mining venture.

Read more

Sean Daly

Sean Daly has  a BSc in Geology and an M.Eng. in Mining Engineering from the University of British Columbia in western Canada. He has over 40 years of intensive hands-on field experience. This includes geological mapping for the Geological Survey of Canada, the Ontario Dept of Mines, for mineral exploration projects, underground at a rich silver lead zinc mine in Honduras, and many years doing geotechnical and geological mapping at a large porphyry copper open pit mine in British Columbia. Also, he logged many 1000’s  of meters of diamond drill core for both mineral exploration and geotechnical data especially at the above mentioned Highland Valley Copper Mine.

At Highland Valley Copper, for 10 years he was responsible for the slope stability of two large open pits, with special emphasis on toppling failures which predominated in these two pits, but also with experience in plane and wedge failures. He developed his own technique for blast-ability mapping of the rocks and this was applied to make blasting more efficient, for about 15 years and involved a kind of rock mass characterization. He was also trained by a geotechnical engineer mentor on the use of the DIPS program both for analysis of structures and to orient diamond drill core data.

In addition to 19 years of experience at Highland Valley Copper, he has 14 years of contracting/consulting for both geotech work (often for pre-feasibility studies) and for mineral exploration. In this work he learned to size up a geological or geotechnical situation very quickly on rocks in such widely diverse places as Alaska, British Columbia, Oregon, Mexico, Chile, Honduras, El Salvador, Ireland and Spain.

Lastly, he just finished writing a book about the history of geology and mining since the 1500’s (From the Erzgebirge  to Potosi) and it is being published right now. In this book, he traces the relationship between geology and mining and important social and economic world-shaking events like the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution. The book includes a review of the famous old mining treatise called De Re Metallica written by Georgius Agricola, a German doctor who began studying mining geology and engineering in a small town he was stationed at  in Eastern Germany in the 1500’s. It was the authority on mining for 180 years. His book also includes a large section on the engineering uses of mapping at Highland Valley Copper.

Read more

The course is run in an online format. Throughout our innovative and powerful Virtual Campus, a dynamic and flexible environment is provided so the student can follow the course at his or her pace.

Within this virtual platform, students are in continuous contact with professors in a tailored way, solving questions together, and widening knowledge and acquiring new skills. Students can also interact with other students and professors through webinars and forums.

Plenty of content can be found in the Campus: eLearning material, videos, technical articles, manuals, complementary documentation, real examples and exercises.

Read more

The course is aimed at all those technical people who are engaged in dealing with the geology and geotechnical aspects of open pit mining and using applied geology to solve mining/blasting problems and dealing with the major structures and main structure sets at a producing mine. It also should be of assistance to mining engineers especially those involved in short or long term planning. As for the career opportunities for the course, it should enhance the ability of the students to work in an active  open pit mine, at any stage of its’ development, including pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, overburden stripping or full mining production of ore, waste and overburden. It also should benefit geologists and geotechnically trained geologists who are mapping the surface in the vicinity of open pit mines or underground mines. While the main emphasis is on open pit mapping, also underground mapping will be touched upon as to general techniques, precautions etc. and problems with groundwater underground.

Read more

As evidence of knowledge gained throughout the course, a certificate will be issued from the Virtual platform. This certificate is based on the modern technology Blockchain, which increases security, prevents fraud, builds trust and ensures you’re ready for the future.

Read more

The course is aimed at all those technical people who are engaged in dealing with the geology and geotechnical aspects of open pit mining and using applied geology to solve mining/blasting problems and dealing with the major structures and main structure sets at a producing mine. It also should be of assistance to mining engineers especially those involved in short or long term planning. As for the career opportunities for the course, it should enhance the ability of the students to work in an active  open pit mine, at any stage of its’ development, including pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, overburden stripping or full mining production of ore, waste and overburden. It also should benefit geologists and geotechnically trained geologists who are mapping the surface in the vicinity of open pit mines or underground mines. While the main emphasis is on open pit mapping, also underground mapping will be touched upon as to general techniques, precautions etc. and problems with groundwater underground.

So, in summary, for the job prospects for this course, it would be mainly  for mining geologists, geotechnical engineers, engineering geologists, hydrogeologists and mining engineers.

Read more

1 review for Structural Geology applied to mining

  1. Michele Camin

    Interesting course. Teacher is much available.

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