The Kanmantoo copper mine is located in the Adelaide Hills area of South Australia and is owned and operated by Hillgrove Resources (HGO). The mine is a drill and blast, truck and shovel operation mining sulfide (chalcopyrite) ore located in chloritised andalusite biotite schist. The initial Kanmantoo open pit operation occurred in the 1970s, before falling copper prices closed the mine. In 2010 the mine was reopened by HGO and the Kavanagh cutback of the Kanmantoo pit was undertaken. The Spitfire, Nugent and Emily Star satellite pits were also mined through to 2015 before the latest steep wall Giant pit design was developed to take mining out to 2019.
There are no major fault structures and only two significant shear zone structures exposed in the open pit walls. The main Garnet Andalusite Biotite Schist (GABS) unit is quite competent so the pit designs have therefore mainly been controlled by four distinct joint sets. This paper is a case study on the influence of the joint regime on the wall stability of the main GABS unit and how a better understanding of the joint regime and the use of rock reinforcement has allowed the steep wall design to be adopted.
The paper also describes the remote geotechnical mapping and slope monitoring techniques used to manage the rockfall risks associated with the steep walled slope design.
Hutchison, B J, Chambers, J, Gannon, S and Oko-oboh, D, 2017. Case study of joint structure and the design and performance of open pit walls at the Kanmantoo copper mine, in Proceedings Tenth International Mining Geology Conference 2017, pp 355–364 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).