Rio Tinto Centre for Underground Mine Construction

Workshop on Rockmass Behaviour at Depth; Strength and Bulking for Undercut, Pillar and Support Design

April 19-20, 2012
April 19th at 12:00 – April 20th (all day including dinner)
Resolution Copper Mining, Phoenix, Arizona
(Gold Canyon Resort, Gold Canyon near Phoenix, Arizona)

The key element of the workshop, therefore, is to bring together the various Rio Tinto and Freeport development/innovation teams with leading researchers to develop a road map and work programme required to advance our knowledge of rock mass behaviour and develop the tools for reliable prediction. This outcome will be a major step in Rio Tinto’s planned use of machine mining (TBS and SBS) and the vision of the “Mine of the Future”.

It is hypothesised that standard ground characterization approaches underestimate the rock mass strength at depth and that this brings undesired consequences with respect to mine design / planning and mine development with mechanized equipment (both drill and blast and machine mining).

The scope of the workshop is to confirm the hypotheses, or at least to define a path for confirmation. It is expected that this will lead to improved data collection and interpretation procedures and to a collaborative monitoring program to provide conclusive proof and solutions for future engineering of cave operations. The scope of work will eventually lead to a set of guidelines to ensure appropriate data collection (laboratory, boreholes, face mapping, ATV and geophysics instrumentation) and rock mass behaviour and strength determination for modelling from in situ monitoring of deformations and stress changes.

Tentative agenda

  1. Problem definition and relevance (Moss).
  2. Technical introduction: evidence, hypothesis, and possible solution (Kaiser).
  3. Field evidence: Hudson RCC shaft, Wilson Freeport, van Hout OT; others.
  4. Experimental designs – what needs to be done, where can it be done, how to integrate (All)
  5. Back-analysis approach – modelling and data interpretation (All)
  6. Consortium development – who, to do what, costing, timelines, high level budget.


Jennifer Thomas is looking after reservations and ground transportation. For all related matters, please contact her or call 705.673.6568 x 0

Workshop Materials

Registered participants will receive an invitation to join Alfresco (shared server) via email. Once you have accepted the invite you will be able to access the materials using your user name and password. Click Strength at Depth Workshop to login and access workshop materials and to upload presentations or publications. Shannon Katary will look after the electronic distribution of documents; please contact her on related matters: or call 705.673.6568 x 7