P1262 Forecasting mine seismicity hazard is a three-year project that aims to address the current shortfalls in forecasting mining induced seismic hazards (small-scale earth quakes) for underground excavations using advanced computer simulation methods.
We spoke to lead researcher Abou Vakili (pictured), Principal Geotechnical Engineer at Mining One about this fascinating project.
Q. What are the outcomes of this project?
The key outputs from this study will be a guideline and software that can be used by engineers to incorporate more accurate forecasts of seismicity into future mine designs.
As a result designs will be safer, more economical and importantly it will streamline the training and knowledge transfer for new engineers.
Q. What sets this project apart from others?
The following make this project standout from current R&D works done on this topic:
- unlike previous studies, which mainly focused on historical and current seismicity, this project focuses on forecasting long term future seismicity.
- structural Geology and in particular inherent directional strength of the rock mass (due to foliation, bedding etc.) has profound effect on mine seismicity but has been largely ignored in the past because of computing deficiencies.
- this study aims at providing quantitative (not qualitative) design guidelines and tools. Similar to other aspects of resource modelling, geometallurgy and mine planning the block modelling method will be adopted to quantify the hazard from seismicity in a 3D space.
- previous R&D works mostly focused on traditional and simplistic computer simulation techniques. The simulation tool used in this study will make use of the state-of-the-art advanced software developed by Cavroc. Traditionally advanced simulation methods could only be done by very specialised consulting companies (only handful of experts worldwide). However, Cavroc developed front ends and algorithms that have simplified the simulation tools substantially and, therefore, make it more accessible for all engineers. Additional functionalities will be added to the software as part of this project. This will ensure that the project outputs will be accessible to everyone in the industry.
The ability to forecast seismicity to a broader engineering audience allows practitioners to create safer and more efficient mining for benefit of those working in the mines, those investing in mining companies, and the communities where mines are operating.Abou Vakili
Q. What is the industry need for this project?
Mine seismicity is a complex risk to manage. Disruptions and consequences of seismicity-related incidents are far more severe than any type of accidents in underground mines. The considerable risk and its consequences also may lead to ore sterilization and pre-mature shut down of mines.
There has been several incidents in the past associated with mine seismicity but the most recent and perhaps most well known one was at the Beaconsfield Mine tragedy in Australia in 2005.
Q. What will it provide for industry?
The expected project outcomes are:
- provide a clear, simple and transparent guideline on how to implement a safe mine design that can cope with seismic events
- develop simulation methods that are readily accessible and are easy enough to learn, but at the same time are reliable enough to use in varying rock mass conditions
- conduct detailed and transparent validations of known case studies to prove its applicability for future mine designs
- ability to forecast seismicity, its severity and the specific location that it may occur for specific mining sequences.
Q. What are the financial | operational | environmental gains for industry?
The most important benefits for the industry will be:
- improved workers’ safety by eliminating or managing the seismicity-related incidents (most important)
- the understanding and ability to manage, eliminate or plan the environmental and social impact of mine seismicity (usually felt as small earth quakes) on nearby towns, natural landmarks and other critical infrastructure
- a much better understanding of the risks associated with mining for benefits of investors during the due-diligence stages,
- an assistance to other third parties such as insurance and finance companies which often do not have a clear indication of how seismicity risk are assessed and managed in mining assets.
Q. In your opinion, how is this project moving industry, or the knowledge industry contains, forward?
The ability to forecast seismicity to a broader engineering audience allows practitioners to create safer and more efficient mining for the benefit of those working in the mines, those investing in mining companies, and the communities where mines are operating.
P1262 is managed by Senior Program Manager, Olga Verezub. Please contact Olga at email@example.com for more information.