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Innovative Approach to Open Pit Edge Protection

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Author S Durkin, N Fowkes, N Redwood and A Bassom

Description

It is well known that from time-to-time a vehicle will interact with a bund or windrow and often the barrier is insufficient to safely arrest that vehicle. The result of such an incident is often catastrophic. Regulations around the requirement for edge protection near pit edges vary between jurisdictions. Generally in Australia regulations tend to be around placing the responsibility on the mine operator to provide ‘adequate’ or ‘appropriate’ edge protection. Guidelines often place a minimum height of bund at between half and two-thirds the diameter of the largest tyre on-site.

Safescape has identified the opportunity to improve safety in open pit edge protection and is currently developing the Edge Protector (EP) product. The EP is designed to create a vertical front face to a conventional broken rock safety bund. The fundamental premise of the product is that by creating a vertical front face to the bund, trucks cannot easily drive up over the bund and instead have to push through the rock to get to the other side.

In addition to providing a safer system for arresting vehicles, the vertical front face also means that extra space is made available in the haul road. This can either be used to facilitate larger trucks or when designing a new mine, with an increase in overall pit slope.

This paper outlines the research and development of a new edge protection product. Discussion will include project objectives, economic incentive for mines to apply the system, mathematical analysis of the truck/bund interaction and physical testing of the product.

Citation:

Durkin, S, Fowkes, N, Redwood, N and Bassom, A, 2016. Innovative Approach to Open Pit Edge Protection, in Proceedings Ninth AusIMM Open Pit Operators’ Conference 2016, pp 138–149 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).