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Monitoring Performance of Ground Support Workshop

22 October 2019 | Palladium Ballrooms North & Centre, The Radisson Hotel,Sudbury, Canada

Workshop Overview

Ground support is one the main control measures to mitigate the risk of rockfalls and rockbursts in underground mines. Designers must ensure the capacity of the support system will exceed the demand due to the dead weight of rockmass damage and loosening, as well as the dynamic stress waves induced by seismic events.
There are many challenges in assessing the capacity of ground support systems. For example, as soon as the ground support is installed a degradation process begins. The capacity of the support system is gradually consumed due to, amongst other factors, ground deformation, corrosion, and repeated dynamic loading from seismic events. It is the responsibility of mine operators to rehabilitate ground support when the capacity no longer meets the demand specified in the design criteria. Hence, it is extremely important to monitor the performance of ground support systems over time.
In recent years, new and promising technologies, including lidars, drones, data acquisition and underground Wifi, can be packaged to enable a better understanding of the ground support capacity degradation. Some of them have shown promising results, but they still have limitations.

Workshop Objective and Format

This workshop will explore the current status of different emerging technologies and how they can be applied to monitor the performance of ground support. The programme is divided into two themes: the morning session will examine the technologies focussing on convergence measurements from repeated laser surveys. The afternoon session is dedicated to instrumentation of reinforcement and surface support.
For each theme, the format will involve a series of presentations from technology suppliers/developers, followed by an open discussion lead by a panel of experts carefully selected based on their extensive experience and knowledge on applying these technologies.

Workshop materials will be available to the workshop attendees post-event, as provided by the presenters.


Workshop Facilitators

Professor John Hadjigeorgiou

Pierre Lassonde Chair in Mining Engineering, University of Toronto

Professor Yves Potvin

Professor Geotechnical Engineering, Australian Centre for Geomechanics

 Tuesday 22 October 2019 
08:15Welcome and IntroductionProfessor Yves Potvin, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Australia
Theme 1: Convergence measurements from repeated laser surveysFacilitator: Professor Yves Potvin, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Australia
08:30Advancements in underground deformations, cost reduction and QA/QC potential using GMLAlbert Cabrejo, GroundProbe Pty Ltd
09:00Use of aerial and ground drones to assess ground movements in underground mines Dr Syed Naeem, Clickmox Solutions Inc.
09:30Mobile LiDAR solution for underground convergence monitoring
and assessment: a case study
Andrew Chapman, Pecktech
10:00Managing the deformation of ground support and reinforcementLaurie McBean, Unmanned Aerial Services Inc.
11:00Panel discussionPeter Andrews, VP and Group Head of Geotechnical, Gold Fields Australia Pty Ltd, Australia; Dave Counter, Senior Ground Control Engineer, Glencore Canada Coproration; Dr Graham Swan, Independent Consultant
Theme 2: Instrumentation of reinforcement and surface supportFacilitator: Professor John Hadjigeorgiou, University of Toronto
13:00A contribution through instrumentation to a better understanding of rockmass behaviour and ground support performance in a high stress mine enviromentAllan Punkkinen, Normet Canada Ltd.
13:30A conceptual framework for unlocking of value from instrumentation dataDr Andrew Hyett, YieldPoint Inc.
14:00The application of instrumentationPeter Lausch, Mine Design Technologies Inc.
14:30An innovative rockbolt sensing technology to transform rockbolts into a network of ground condition sensorsDr Zhigang Sun, National Research Council of Canada
15:30Panel discussionProfessor Bruce Hebblewhite, Professor Mining Engineering, UNSW Sydney, Australia; Brad Simser, Principal Ground Control Engineer, Glencore; Dr Mike Yao, North Atlantic Technical Services, Vale Canada Ltd
16:30Workshop wrap-upProfessor Yves Potvin, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Australia
Panel Members

Peter Andrews

VP and Group Head of Geotechnical, Gold Fields Australia Pty Ltd, Australia

Peter has over 20 years of experience in the mining industry in both operating and consulting capacities. He has a broad range of experience with specific expertise in rock mechanics in the geotechnical engineering field.  Over this period, he has obtained international industry experience, having worked on many underground operations in Australia, New Guinea, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia.   He specialises in ground support design, extraction sequencing, long hole stoping and backfill.


David Counter

Senior Ground Control Engineer, Glencore Canada Corporation, Kidd Creek Operations

Dave has been involved in various aspects of geotechnical engineering and rock mechanics for the past 36 years. He has worked at the Kidd Mine since 1981, beginning as backfill engineer, and has held the positions of rock mechanics engineer, chief mine engineer, production superintendent, senior projects engineer, and senior ground control engineer since 2004. Dave has extensive experience in backfill system design and quality control, dewatering, blasting, mine design, support systems design and ground control instrumentation, including the in-situ instrumentation of paste fill. He has been involved in various research initiatives, including the Deep Mining Research Consortium, and has worked with various Universities on research into seismicity, paste fill, and other aspects of ground control. He has published papers on Backfill technology, Paste instrumentation, ground support systems and modeling in high stress environments. Dave has also served on the Workplace Safety North Ground Control Technical Advisory Committee, which he has chaired since 2011.

Professor Bruce Hebblewhite

Professor Mining Engineering, UNSW Sydney, Australia

Professor Bruce Hebblewhite is the Professor of Mining Engineering at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia.  He has over 40 years of international mining experience; having spent 17 years in a full-time consulting role in the Australian mining industry (at ACIRL Ltd), and over 23 years in academia at UNSW, including 12 years as Head of the School of Mining Engineering (2003 – 2014). Bruce retired from this role in 2014 but continues at UNSW in a part-time capacity.

From 2006 to 2009 Bruce was the inaugural Executive Director of the Australian collaborative educational joint venture, Mining Education Australia (MEA). Professor Hebblewhite was also a former President (2008-2009) and then the Secretary-General of the international Society of Mining Professors (SOMP), from 2012 to 2018.

Bruce has been the recipient of a number of international awards recognising his special interests and experience in mining geomechanics and ground control; and also in mining education and research. These have included the 2012 Syd S Peng Ground Control Award from SME in the USA; the 2017 SME Rock Mechanics Award; and the 2017 Ludwig Wilke Award for contribution to international mining research and education, from the Society of Mining Professors.


Brad Simser

Principal Ground Control Engineer, Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations, A Glencore Company

Brad has over 20 years experience in deep hard rock mining having worked in the in the South Africa Gold Fields, northern New Brunswick and since 2003 Glencores’ Sudbury Nickel Operations. He has authored and co-authored numerous papers on rockburst resistant ground support, mining induced seismology, and deep mining strategies. His current role oversees the ground control programs for the Nickel Rim South (structurally complex nickel/copper deposit), Fraser Copper (extensively mined narrow vein copper deposit), and Fraser Morgan (blasthole nickel mine) operations as well as the Onaping Depth Project (2.3 to 2.7 km deep Nickel resource).

Dr Graham Swan

Principal Engineer, Rock Mechanics & Mine Design, Canada


Dr Mike Yao

Manager Rock Engineering, Vale Canada Ltd., Canada

Mike holds Mining Engineering degree from China, and M.Sc and Ph.D in rock mechanics from the University of Nottingham, UK.  After immigrating to Canada in 1995, Mike has been working for a number of mining companies in Canada and holding increasing responsibilities in various fields of mine engineering.  Currently, Mike is the Manager of Rock Engineering at North Atlantic Operations for Vale.