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Geotechnical services, Golden Hills gold and copper mine, Mongolia

the project

Located in north-west Mongolia approximately 1,250 km west of the capital, Ulaanbaatar city, gold and copper mining operations began in 2014. The mining proposal is based on extraction of the gold and copper-bearing oxide zone of a massive sulphide deposit using a heap leach process.  The oxide zone extends to depths below surface of approximately 70 to 100 m with resource extraction by open-cut mining and potential future underground mining.

PSM was engaged to provide geotechnical services for designing the open-cut mine, assessing waste dumps and processing plant foundations. PSM was also responsible for monitoring dam and water storage dams and providing geotechnical review of pit-slope designs during operation.

engineering and technical opportunities

A greenfield project located in an extremely remote and sparsely populated area, the mines were located in complex geotechnical conditions due to folded, steeply dipping foliated schist. Language and cultural differences also created unique communication opportunities.

approach AND innovatioN

Following our rigorous assessment, PSM’s innovative and tailored approach included:

  • Training of geologists in orientated core drilling, core logging, geotechnical mapping and test pit inspection
  • Development of geotechnical model for the open pit, waste dump and infrastructure sites
  • Regular pit inspections to collect additional geotechnical data, assess performance of pit walls and review pit slope design.


PSM successfully understood the unique requirements of this project and created a cost-effective solution for the client.

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