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Last week I needed to brush up on stability analysis of waste rock dumps or embankments as they are sometimes called.  I went to the obvious sources: EduMine.  I opened the course Design  and Operation of Large Waste Dumps by Tim Eaton and Scott Broughton. In the section on Analysis they present a masterful description of the various failure modes and how to analyse them. They add this on probability of failure: (more…)

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Flexible Evaporation Solutions

Walked around the exhibit hall at the Denver SME convention.  Chatted to old friends and met new people–and learnt of new products. Suddenly my mind was cast back to my days as a kid on the East Geduld Mine in South Africa where we grew up.  The area was arid; there were no natural water bodies within two-hundred miles.  One of our favorite places was the mine’s evaporation ponds.  On our rickety bicycles we would break through the flimsy security gate and spend hours around the ponds.  They were magic: a wonderland of color and water.  Better than those fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. (more…)

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Last night we attended the International Mining magazine’s induction of new members of the Mining Hall of Fame.

It was a grand affair.  Many worthy folk in the mining industry were inducted.  I am told that the March or April issue of the magazine will document their achievements and contributions to mining.

I note only Andy Robertson who was inducted for these contributions:

  • Founding of Steffen Robertson and Kirsten, now SRK.
  • Founding of GemCom that now has the name Geovia.
  • Founding of InfoMine and EduMine, both of which I contribute to.
  • Founding of Robertson Geoconsultants for which I work.
  • Leading the way forward on responsible tailings management.
  • Leading the technology on acid mine drainage.

I might add that it was Andy who got me started on this blog.  Although he has had occasion to rue that lead and the blog, for on a number of occasions he has been asked to tell me to remove postings.  As a true gentleman, he has done so with discretion and dignity.

In his acceptance speech Andy thanked his family, his colleagues, and his clients–all of whom have supported his hard work.  He mentioned only one name:  Professor Jere Jennings who taught so many of us in mining geotechnology the basics of the art.  His contributions and memory live on in people of Andy’s caliber.

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The snow blanketed us today as the Denver Society of Mining Engineers convention begun.  Yet it is warm enough to walk through the snow in shirt sleeves.  Typical Denver in winter/spring. Yesterday I attended the short course on Seismic Engineering for Tailings Dams.  It was well-attended and featured magnificent speakers who brought us up-to-date with current practice in predicting earthquakes and analyzing their impact on mine tailings dams.   Of course there was discussion of predicting the maximum credible earthquake, which Jonathan Bray says we are doing it wrong.  Contact me if you want the details. (more…)

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This week I had reason to go back and re-read three papers I co-authored in the early 1980s.  It is surprising how far advanced we were then, and how little things have changed, or how little of what did has become standard practice. The first paper is at this link.  Rick Call was the lead on the work we describe in this paper.  He was a large buff man, with an enormous beard, a perpetual pipe, and a totally irreverent attitude towards authority.  He sent Ned Larson and me to Texas, where we sweated through the heat to get the data.  Then back to Tucson to do the calculations.  I recently reconnected with Ned who is now in Las Vegas and the grandfather of sixteen grandchildren.  He is still with the U.S. Department of Energy which he joined after working with me for five years on the UMTRA Project in Albuquerque.  He is a great engineer, as was Rick. (more…)

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I have written previously on this blog about Roy Soderburg.  He passed away last year.  So here in his honor I repeat what I have previously written and add new information just received.  In short, he was a great mining engineer and should be more honored than a blog can do. (more…)

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This week we to the dinner given in honor of Dr. Peter Byrne and his receiving the RF Legget Medal. (more…)

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