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Designs for Prodeco Coal Operations, Colombia


Prodeco is a wholly-owned group of Glencore International. It operates two high quality open-cut thermal coal mines in the Cesar province of Northern Colombia. The Calenturitas and La Jagua mines produce 14.5 million MT, expected to expand to 20 million MT by 2013, in truck and shovel operations.  Coal is railed to the company’s port at Santa Marta on the Caribbean Sea and sold mainly to the European and American power generation markets.

PSM was engaged to provide design advice for the ongoing mining operation of both La Jagua and the Calenturitas mines.


The mines are situated in steeply dipping coal strata in a high annual rainfall area of 972 mm per annum.

Engineering and geotechnical opportunities included:

  • Pit constrained by existing external dumps
  • High level of uncertainty in the input assumptions used for the earlier geotechnical analyses
  • Existing failures resulting in the inability to rely on advanced modelling techniques.

approach and innovation

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

  • Critical review of the existing slope performance
  • Collection and use of empirical data from failed zones, including the height and angle of dip strata, to understand the geotechnical structures and inform design.


PSM successfully provided the client with clarity and understanding of geotechnical slope behaviour of both mine operations providing greater confidence for future analyses and mine planning.

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