Mine safety under the spotlight

The latest approaches to safe and economical management of rock dumps will be the focus of an inaugural seminar to be held in Perth next March. Professor Andy Fourie, from the Australian Centre for Geomechanics based at The University of Western Australia, said the First International Seminar on the Management of Rock Dumps, Stockpiles and Heap Leach Pads would bring together leading mine owners and operators, as well as academics, consultants and researchers from around the world.

“As mining practices result in deeper open pit and underground mines so does the need to effectively manage the resulting substantially sized rock dumps, stockpiles and heap leach pads,” Professor Fourie said. “The potential harm that these landforms can cause to the surrounding ecosystems generates increased community concern. For industry to remain viable and profitable it must ensure that the management and rehabilitation of these landforms is proactive and responsible. The seminar will provide an important forum for local and overseas delegates to explore significant developments in the design, operation and management of rock dumps, stockpiles and heap leach pads.”

The Australian Centre for Geomechanics (ACG), which is presenting the seminar, is a not-for-profit mining research centre that promotes mine safety and environmental best practice through geomechanics research, training and education. The three-day program will feature more than 30 presentations, including keynote addresses by Norwegian expert, Dr Nick Barton, and Professor Dirk van Zyl from the University of British Columbia.

Professor Fourie said the ACG was the only centre of its kind in Australia and one of only a handful in the world concerned with improving mine safety while optimising production performance. Rock Dumps 2008 will be held at the Novotel Langley Hotel, Perth, March 5-7, 2008, with more than 120 local and international mining professionals expected to attend.

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