Cerro Vanguardia open pit mining: Database management for stability analyses

Iñaki García Mendive and Alejo Sfriso
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
First presented: 
ISRM International Symposium - EUROCK 2016, Turkey
Published paper
Rock Mechanics

Cerro Vanguardia is an Au-Ag mine located in the central plains of Santa Cruz, Argentina. The deposit comprises several veins 3.5 - 10m wide and 19km long. The exploitation is carried out by means of open pits 100 - 240m deep. More than fifty pits will be developed during the project lifetime. The mineralization process caused different degrees of argillic alteration in the veins’ surroundings, potentially compromising pit wall stability. Two geotechnical rock-mass characterization programmes were carried out in 2012 and 2015 to perform slope stability assessments. This work compares and contrasts the two analysis methodologies in order to show a data management procedure aimed at reducing uncertainty. Wide variations in data quality and quantity implied that key parameters had to be estimated by disparate methods. Enhanced geotechnical characterization and detailed analyses led to targeted recommendations on excavation procedures and produced a more consistent and reliable pit design.

Feature Author

Iñaki García Mendive

Iñaki García Mendive is a geotechnical engineer in SRK’s Buenos Aires office. His specialization focuses on the characterization of rock masses, application of empirical and numerical methods for design and validation in open pit and underground operations. He has experience in the design of geotechnical projects including foundations, anchor systems, embankments, slopes and excavations (OP and UG). He has participated in investigation projects at the Soil Mechanics Laboratory of the University of Buenos Aires. He collaborated as teaching assistant in the course of Strength of Materials.

Geotechnical Engineer
SRK Buenos Aires
Alejo Oscar Sfriso

Alejo Sfriso has 25 years of experience in geotechnical engineering for infrastructure and mining works. He is an expert in the application of numerical methods for geotechnical design and analysis. Alejo belongs to twelve professional associations, including ISSMGE, IAEG, ISRM, IGS, ICOLD, IACMAG, ITA, ASCE and its corresponding chapters in Argentina. He was member of the Executive Committee of the Argentinean Society for Geotechnical Engineering in the period 1997 - 2015, being the President of the Society (2011-2015). Alejo serves as Professor at the University of Buenos Aires since 1989 and at the University of La Plata between 1996 and 2015, in the subjects of Soil Mechanics, Rock Mechanics and Foundations. He also serves as jury member for faculty positions and theses, reviewer of journals, member of advisory committees, conference organizing committees, and departmental councils at the Faculty of Engineering of University of Buenos Aires, among others.

Principal Consultant
PhD, Civil Engineer
SRK Buenos Aires
SRK Turkey