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Geomechanical evaluation of large excavations at the New Level Mine - El Teniente

E. Hormazabal, J. Pereira, G. Barindelli, R. Alvarez
Thursday, June 5, 2014
First presented: 
3RD International Symposium on Block and Sublevel Caving 2014
Published paper
Rock Mechanics

The New Level Mine is a 130.000 tpd panel caving project set to start in 2017 at the El Teniente mine. VP-NNM CODELCO (Vice-President Office of the New Level Mine) is currently finishing a detailed engineering design of the underground mine. The evaluation considers, the design of the crusher cavern Nº1 located in the Braden Pipe, which is a waste rock chimney located in the central part of the ore body. A geo-mechanical study has been carried out to evaluate the stability of the planned infrastructure and to provide recommendations about the design of underground caverns and galleries, including support. As part of this study, empirical methods, two-dimensional and three-dimensional continuum models have been developed and applied to evaluate the influence of the high stresses and different geotechnical units, on the mechanical response of the excavation. This paper introduces general aspects of the New Mine Level underground project and discusses in particular geo-mechanical analyses and design carried out to evaluate stability and support of some of the large excavations involved in the project.

Feature Author

Esteban Hormazabal
Esteban is a Civil Mining Engineer and holds a Master of Science (Geophysics) specialized in applied hydrogeology. He has 24 years of specific experience in geotechnical engineering, rock mechanics and geotechnical instrumentation, having worked in different mining and civil engineering projects. 
Additionally, he is an expert in analysis and geomechanical design of underground mining and surface excavations using 2D and 3D numerical modelling, stability analysis and slope design in open pits and waste dumps. 
He has led different and important open pit and underground mining projects in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Uruguay and USA. 
Esteban has authored several publications and has been speaker at different national and international conferences. He is a Competent Person of AusIMM and the Commission for the Qualification of Competencies in Mineral Resources & Reserves of Chile (QP). He has been professor of  the Rock Mechanics Chair at the Universidad Católica de Chile from 2013-2018.


Head of Rock Mechanics Services
Min Eng, MSc (Geophysics), FAusIMM, SAIMM, CRIRSCO
SRK Santiago
SRK North America