Date of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mining Engineering

Committee Chair

Scott Rosenthal

First Advisor

Chris Roos

Second Advisor

Diane Wolfgram


The mine planning process comprises three major stages: collection of relevant data, application of design methods and measurement of performance. Relevant information about the geology, structure, rock mass and hydrogeology are collected to create a geotechnical model. This information, collected by the geotechnical engineer, is used to design the pit slopes which are incorporated into the pit design by the mine planner based on mining regulations, safety and economics. Drilling, blasting, excavation and dewatering activities mainly constitute the implementation stage of the mine design. Mining to achieve design has proven to be difficult practically. Factors such as geology, blasting and excavation practices affect adherence to the mine plan; therefore, it is important to measure performance along the mine value chain by reconciling actual data with the mine plan. For this study, four final pit high walls were identified and analyzed to determine compliance with the mine design and to evaluate rockfall potential. Compliance was measured by the distance the mine as built deviates from the plan. A target of 80% compliance was set for distances within 3 feet of design and 100% compliance for distances within 4 feet of design. From the study, 33% of the as built were within ±3 feet and 41% within ±4 feet of the design. The as built slopes were flatter than the planned slopes. From the rock fall analysis, the east wall had the highest potential of rockfall with an average movement of 782 feet.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Mining Engineering