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The purpose of this paper is to open the debate around geotechnical design methodology for open pits and to present a case for proper planning of design work in order to improve the value of open pit designs. The approach taken consisted of reviewing the literature on design methodology and demonstrating, through an open pit example, that designing can be carried out using a risk assessment based approach. Through the example, a risk based design evaluation tool is developed that documents and summarises a whole design on a single page. The risk based design evaluation tool is proposed for use by design project managers, designers, design documenters, reviewers and design users to improve design rigour through visual demonstration of Bieniawski’s design principles, better communication and more objective review. The paper also presents a site investigation geology summary tool to help document failure mechanisms to be used as input for the design analysis.
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