Authors: Michelini, A; Viviani, F; Bianchetti, M; Coli, N; Leoni, L; Stopka, CJ

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Michelini, A, Viviani, F, Bianchetti, M, Coli, N, Leoni, L & Stopka, CJ 2020, 'A new radar-based system for detecting and tracking rockfall in open pit mines', in PM Dight (ed.), Slope Stability 2020: Proceedings of the 2020 International Symposium on Slope Stability in Open Pit Mining and Civil Engineering, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 1183-1192,

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Rockfalls present a major safety threat in open pit mining operations. The sudden onset of rockfall events makes it difficult, if not impossible, for conventional monitoring methods to provide adequate pre-warning, resulting in a challenge for mine operators and planners. One of the major challenges for geotechnical engineers is the ability to model the trajectory and run-out distances of rock blocks in order to properly map the risks associated to the occurrence of such events and to properly design catch benches and exclusion zones. Several modelling tools are available today for this purpose but they are often poorly supported and calibrated with instrumental data. One of the most common methods currently used consists of localising the detachment and accumulating areas by comparing 3D models generated by LiDAR scans. The major drawback of this method is that the information that is collected is post-event and cannot provide data about the dynamics of the rockfall event. IDS GeoRadar has recently developed an innovative radar system able to locate and track rockfalls in real-time from a distance several hundred metres from the slope by simultaneous coverage of a wide portion of the highwall. The new radar detection system is able to generate quick alerts immediately after the detachment of the initial rock blocks and will provide beneficial information with regards to statistical data on the occurrence in space and time, travel path, velocity, runout distance, and size of blocks.

Keywords: rockfall, monitoring, safety

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