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International Research & Development (R&D) partnership

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23Jun. 2021

In the continuity of the historical exchanges with the geotechnical group of the PUCV University of Valparaiso in Chile, a new R&D project will be launched for a period of 24 months. The project proposed by the consortium led by the PUCV and composed of SERNAGEOMIN (National Geology and Mining Service), Compania Minera Pudahuel and […]

In the continuity of the historical exchanges with the geotechnical group of the PUCV University of Valparaiso in Chile, a new R&D project will be launched for a period of 24 months.

The project proposed by the consortium led by the PUCV and composed of SERNAGEOMIN (National Geology and Mining Service), Compania Minera Pudahuel and Sol Solution was selected in the framework of the FONDEF IDeA call for projects (Fund for Scientific and Technological Development of the Chilean Ministry of Education).

This project, which aims to support the safe closure of medium-sized mine sites, particularly with regard to the stability of mine waste rock, focuses on the development of an intelligent Platform for the periodic assessment of physical stability for the safe and progressive closure of waste dumps in medium-sized mines.

Indeed, Chile, the world's largest producer and exporter of copper (over 30% of world production), also has the world's largest copper reserves with 210 million tonnes, or 22%. The ore extraction processes, although increasingly advanced and efficient, generate astronomical quantities of sandy tailings which are compacted and stored in the form of dams that can be several hundred metres long, such as the Mauro reservoir containment dam, which is almost 300 metres high and holds 1.7 million m3 of compacted mine tailings.

There are more than 750 tailings dumps, of which more than 80% are inactive or abandoned.

If we add to this the seismicity of the country and the risks of liquefaction of these structures, we can imagine the efforts of the stakeholders to ensure the stability of these structures.

Faced with this risk, the project we are carrying out is important, proposing a multi-scale approach (satellite images, geophysical and geotechnical tests) combined with the use of the latest developments in artificial intelligence to monitor and control mine waste rock dams in order to implement a safe progressive closure. In addition, as part of the proposed solution, a procedure will be developed for the measurement of critical variables that define the physical stability of a site using in-situ tests (Drone, MASW and/or MAM surface geophysical seismic, HSVR spectral ratio or Nakamura method, and lightweight dynamic penetrometers). This procedure can be used in cases where a general assessment of some of the critical variables is required.

Sol Solution's participation will essentially consist of making available innovative technologies and know-how in processing and spatializing the indicators feeding this platform.

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