Slope stability analysis at Fenix open pit mine using SFEM

Alejandro Kerguelen Argumedo, Iñaki García Mendive and Alejo Sfriso
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
First presented: 
II International Specialized Conference on Soft Rocks - ISRM
Rock Mechanics

Residual soils and saprolites are common in lateritic nickel deposits and notorious for their heterogeneity in configuration and mechanical properties, mostly due to bedrock genesis and highly variable weathering stages. This work proposes a methodology that allows handling the cohesion as a random variable in sites with similar stratigraphy. An automation script was developed to run Plaxis software, which included data input, repetitive calculation of the model and management of the output data in order to detect the most likely sliding surface. A practical example is presented for the Fenix deposit that Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel mines in Izabal, Guatemala. The obtained results were integrated into a risk analysis that aided decision-making and optimization of operations.

Feature Author

Alejo Oscar Sfriso

Alejo Sfriso has 25 years of experience in geotechnical engineering for infrastructure and mining works. He is an expert in the application of numerical methods for geotechnical design and analysis. Alejo belongs to twelve professional associations, including ISSMGE, IAEG, ISRM, IGS, ICOLD, IACMAG, ITA, ASCE and its corresponding chapters in Argentina. He was member of the Executive Committee of the Argentinean Society for Geotechnical Engineering in the period 1997 - 2015, being the President of the Society (2011-2015). Alejo serves as Professor at the University of Buenos Aires since 1989 and at the University of La Plata between 1996 and 2015, in the subjects of Soil Mechanics, Rock Mechanics and Foundations. He also serves as jury member for faculty positions and theses, reviewer of journals, member of advisory committees, conference organizing committees, and departmental councils at the Faculty of Engineering of University of Buenos Aires, among others.

Principal Consultant
PhD, Civil Engineer
SRK Buenos Aires
Alejandro Kerguelen

Alejandro Kerguelen is a Senior Consultant with over 10 years of experience in the design and supervision of geotechnical works. He has been involved in surface and underground operations in tropical and high mountain environments in different projects located in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Paraguay and Uruguay. He has focused on probabilistic techniques for slope stability and rock-fall analysis. He has experience in software development using automation techniques and numerical simulation. Alejandro has developed teaching activities in the courses of Soil Mechanics, Solid Mechanics and Strength of Materials, including laboratory training and  research projects in the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Los Andes (Colombia).   

Senior Consultant
MSc in Geotechnical Engineering
SRK Buenos Aires
Iñaki García Mendive

Iñaki García Mendive is a geotechnical engineer in SRK’s Buenos Aires office. His specialization focuses on the characterization of rock masses, application of empirical and numerical methods for design and validation in open pit and underground operations. He has experience in the design of geotechnical projects including foundations, anchor systems, embankments, slopes and excavations (OP and UG). He has participated in investigation projects at the Soil Mechanics Laboratory of the University of Buenos Aires. He collaborated as teaching assistant in the course of Strength of Materials.

Geotechnical Engineer
SRK Buenos Aires
SRK Worldwide