Increased safety and operational continuity by means of automatic instability detection
At Sierra Gorda SCM, it is key to increase safety and operational continuity by identifying geotechnical instabilities that could interfere with the mining operations. In Q1 of 2019, the company staff sought to perfect this process because visual identification and manual selection of structures was very time consuming, thus making it difficult to carry out instability studies in depth and deliver on-time results.
The Sierra Gorda geotechnical engineering team implemented mapping, monitoring and automatic instability detection processes supported by TIMining Tangram. Some of the key tasks in this process were:
- Structural information was centralized into one single database, incorporating historical structures along with new mappings into TIMining Tangram.
- The structural domain red zones were 3D visualized to spatially select the structures to be used in the analysis.
- Geo-located instabilities were automatically detected and analyzed according to its Safety Factor and risk assessment.
- New designs were assessed and implemented in key zones in order to contain the instabilities found.
The automatic detection of geo-located instabilities along with design changes helped to prevent the failure of instabilities detected and thereby improved workers safety and increased operational continuity. Additionally, the total work time decreased by 90%. What previously took one week to complete, now only requires a half days work. The new processes have allowed to:
- To centralize all the structural information into a single database: easy to manage and seamless.
- Identify the structural sets associated to unstable blocks in each geotechnical zone.
- Identify future instabilities formed by extending the main structural sets and assessing slope designs
- Greatly increase the probability of instability identification.
- Increase operational continuity by avoiding the discovery of instabilities that were not previously identified.
“The versatility of TIMining Tangram with the ability to select structures for instability analysis per zone has proven to be a highly significant time savings tool”
-Rolando Ballesteros, Senior Geotechnical Engineer at Sierra Gorda SCM
“The automatic detection and instability prediction allowed us to timely change slope designs in key zones to contain instabilities”
– Yang Villalobos, Structural Geologist at Sierra Gorda SCM