Automating Geotechnical Monitoring in Antapaccay Mine

Mines present several challenges to safe operations. From unstable slopes to constant motion on site, mine operators must be consistently vigilant to prevent any mishaps. With automated monitoring, this tall task is made simpler. We take a look at one particular mine site in Peru to understand how automatic sensors are increasing efficiencies, and even more important, making the mine a safer place to work.

The Antapaccay mine is located in the province of Espinar, 256 kilometres from Cusco, Peru. The mine started operations in November 2012 and consists of two open pits – the South Pit and North Pit – of SKARN Porphyry Copper. It’s estimated reserves are approximately 720 million tonnes, and its copper law is 0.56 per cent. The rock mass is fragile – ductile, not competent and has faults, which are activated with greater risk in the summer months by rainfall that reaches between 700 to 1000 millimetres per year with the water level very close to the surface.

Due to these factors and to the dynamism of the operation, slope monitoring is necessary and mandatory. The monitoring of the slopes could not be done with manual sensors since they require transportation and daily labour for the collection of the data, raising the costs in the medium and long term. In addition, there would be no real-time monitoring, the sampling frequency would be sparse and early warnings would not be generated. Immediate decisions could, therefore, not be made, and the monitoring reports required by the auditing entities would have been generated in days, not in hours nor minutes as required.

Automating for more value

It is for this reason the implementation of automatic geotechnical monitoring sensors of IDS Georadar and Leica Geosystems is very important and essential. These sensors enable evaluation of the behaviour of slopes of Antapaccay.

We have implemented 2 IBIS radars and 12 robotic total stations TM30 and TM50 in the different components of the mine, obtaining data in real time that is processed by the software IBIS Guardian and GeoMoS Analyzer. The data provides

  • Displacement graphs
  • Speeds
  • Accelerations
  • Stereograms
  • Risk maps
  • Early warnings

In real time, this information is key for making decisions, and, in addition, the information has been integrated from meteorological stations of radar, in order to correlate the behaviour of monitoring charts with atmospheric conditions.

The results obtained allowed us to conclude that with the implementation of the IDS Georadar and Leica Geosystems automated sensors, it has been possible to obtain and process the sensor data automatically,  thus reducing the time to generate results from days to minutes, fulfilling precisely and efficiently what the Ministry of Energy and Mines demands of the DS 024-2016-EM and corporate and external. auditing companies.

Carl Rooth
QSI Internacional S. A.

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