Authors: Gutierrez, LAF; Viterbo, VC; McLemore, VT; Aimone-Martin, CT


DOI https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/802_2

Cite As:
Gutierrez, LAF, Viterbo, VC, McLemore, VT & Aimone-Martin, CT 2008, 'Geotechnical and Geomechanical Characterisation of the Goathill North Rock Pile at the Questa Molybdenum Mine, New Mexico, USA', in AB Fourie (ed.), Proceedings of the First International Seminar on the Management of Rock Dumps, Stockpiles and Heap Leach Pads, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 19-32, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/802_2

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Abstract:
Physical changes due to weathering are of interest with respect to predicting long-term geotechnical slope stability of rock piles at the Questa molybdenum mine, New Mexico, USA. Geotechnical and geomechanical characterisation was conducted on matrix soil and rock fragments in the Goathill North (GHN) rock pile and on non-weathered drill core samples of rock typical of GHN. Shear strength and rock durability was estimated by performing direct shear, point load strength, and slake durability tests. Measurements for Atterberg Limits, particle size, moisture content, and density were also performed. Samples had high peak internal friction angles (φ) between 42º and 47º, which can in part be attributed to the grain shape (subangular to very angular). Point load strength index (Is50) and slake durability index (ID2) classified the samples as medium to very high strength and having high to extremely high durability, respectively. Lowest values of φ, Is50, and ID2 were observed for samples from the outer margin of the pile. ID2 results suggest that samples from the interior of the pile have been weathered little since deposition. In general, GHN rock pile samples have high durability and strength even after having undergone hydrothermal alteration and blasting prior to deposition and after potential exposure to weathering for about 40 years. Collectively, these results suggest that future weathering will not substantially decrease the friction angle of the rock piles with time.

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32 Rock Dumps 2008, Perth, Australia




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