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Large-scale geotechnical program, MCC Sanjin Mining, Western Australia

THE PROJECT

MCC Sanjin Mining is an open-pit magnetite mine located at Cape Lambert, near Karratha in Western Australia. Although concept designs had been prepared, there had been few relevant groundbreaking investigations. A pre-feasibility geological model had been prepared by others based on resource drilling with little targeting of waste units; however, there was no geotechnical model or geotechnical design.

PSM was engaged to complete a definitive feasibility level design to secure project go-ahead. PSM was also responsible for technical supervision of an extensive field investigation program and provision of designs for the open-pit and waste dumps.

ENGINEERING AND TECHNICAL OPPORTUNITIES

The Cleaverville formation, the principal geological unit in the investigation area, consists of 1,500 m of BIF, chert and fine clastic meta-sediments and is a relatively underinvestigated formation.

The nine-month field investigation required 28 oriented diamond drill holes and eight RC holes totalling 8,000 m of diamond core and 2,500 m of RC drilling. There were up to three rigs and four geologists working continuously on rotating rosters.

APPROACH AND INNOVATION

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

  • Extensive use of ATV/OTV surveys to supplement geotechnical drilling and surface geotechnical mapping
  • Field packer testing and installation of vibrating wire piezometers coupled with laboratory geotechnical testing to assess hydraulic conductivity
  • Petrological testing to assess formation mineralogy
  • Staged laboratory test program in parallel to the field investigation to shorten project duration and progressively develop geotechnical understanding of rock mass properties
  • Preparation of designs for open pit approximately 8km long, 0.5 to 2 km wide with wall heights of up to 410 m.

OUTCOMES

PSM successfully undertook and managed a large-scale geotechnical field program. Hanging wall design inter-ramp slope angles exceeded the conceptual design parameters by between 6 to 12° resulting in considerable cost benefits to the client.

Services: #capelambert #Geotechnical #geotechnicaldesign #ironore #magnetite #mining #Pilbara #sanjin #westernaustralia

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    Locations

    Sydney

    G3, 56 Delhi Road
    North Ryde NSW 2113

    BRISBANE

    Level 6, 500 Queen St
    Brisbane Qld 4000

    PERTH

    Level 3, 22 Delhi St
    West Perth WA 6005

    Geelong

    Shop 4, Suite 4, 23-31 Gheringhap Street
    Geelong VIC 3220
    Contact us
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