Authors: Knight, P

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Knight, P 2023, 'A risk-based approach to pit slope design and slope management approval, and geotechnical assurance ', in PM Dight (ed.), SSIM 2023: Third International Slope Stability in Mining Conference, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 185-200,

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Pit slope designs and slope management processes need approval and commonly this is accompanied by some form of assurance or independent review. To be most effective, the process for approval and assurance needs to be commensurate with the level of complexity and the perceived consequence of failure. Often in large open pits, especially those that exhibit a broad range of geotechnical risk, only a fixed level of independent review is applied across this spectrum, with the potential that limited expert resources are misused or technical risk is overlooked. A transparent, pragmatic, risk-based slope design approval and geotechnical assurance process developed for Rio Tinto’s copper open pits is outlined in this paper. The criteria used to establish the different categories of slope design risk are defined and the corresponding types of independent review required are described. The approach also defines levels of approval and assurance for other key elements of the slope management process and are again based on risk. The primary benefits of the approach are design approval targeted to the appropriate level of leadership and a better alignment of the intensity of assurance to the level of economic risk inherent in slope design decision-making.

Keywords: design, pit slope management, uncertainty, risk, assurance, approval

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