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The use of 3D laser scanning for deformation monitoring in underground mines


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Author E Jones and D Beck


The measurement and management of deformation in underground excavations is a key responsibility of geotechnical and mining engineers. A critical aspect of these roles is to ensure there is sufficient ground support capacity for the expected demand.

Current methodologies for monitoring deformation and ground support serviceability-limits require measuring displacement at distinct points, or using visual observations. These current methods limit the assessment to a qualitative interpretation of deformation across the entire excavation.

Recent advancements of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDar) technology permit a new method for monitoring deformation that allow a full 3D image of extended sections of an excavation to be precisely scanned. The results from the comparison with subsequent scans provide valuable information on the magnitude, direction and extent of regions exceeding the ground support serviceability-limits. This new method now provides a quantitative assessment across the entire excavation being monitored.

The implementation of regular scanning has been demonstrated to be highly advantageous not only at mines with swelling or squeezing ground, but also at mines with rapid seismic induced deformation. The use of LiDar technology as a routine deformation measurement tool for geotechnical and mining engineers (and further applications) are discussed in more detail in this paper.


Jones, E and Beck, D, 2017. The use of 3D laser scanning for deformation monitoring in underground mines, in Proceedings 13th AusIMM Underground Operators’ Conference 2017, pp 267–270 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).