Mining Geotechnics and Mine Design

Subject ENGR90015 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours (Lectures: 2 hours per week, Tutorials: 1 hour per week)
Total Time Commitment:

144 hours


The following subjects are required

Note: ENGR90014 Underground Mining and Planning Methods may be taken concurrently

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Prof Ian Johnston


Prof Ian Johnston

Subject Overview:

The subject is an introduction to the application of geomechanics principles for the investigation of conditions, the design and the operation of a mine. Mining includes open pit, dredging and underground methods, for granular materials, coal and hard-rock geologic environments. Each of the range of components of the application of geomechanics are covered:

Geomechanical investigations of conditions:

  • logging and mapping of cores and exposures
  • geophysical surveys
  • field and laboratory measurements of the properties of materials

For open pits:

  • pit-wall slope angles
  • excavatability of materials
  • support of pit-walls
  • monitoring and mapping of pit-walls
  • location and design of waste storages
  • assessment of risk
  • pit slope design fundamentals
  • shear strength of rock masses and structures
  • risk management and monitoring

For underground mining:

  • dimensioning and sequencing of stopes
  • support and stabilisation of stopes, including placement of backfill
  • cavability and fragmentation of ore
  • location, design and support of mine infrastructure
  • monitoring and mapping of excavations and backfill
  • assessment of risk


  • management of the application of geomechanics advice
  • codes of practice and regulation of mining
  • An understanding of the role and scope of geomechanics specialists in mining.
  • A sound basis for management of the incorporation of geomechanics specialist advice for mine planning and operations, be it from company or consultant sources.
  • Awareness of the circumstances in which geomechanics specialist advice ought to be sought and applied, and of how that can be engaged and applied.
  • Awareness of the complex nature of soil, rock, backfill and waste materials, and the risks that they pose for mining operations.

  • One 2 hour examination, end of semester (50%)
  • One 1 hour class test, mid semester (20%)
  • A 2000 word project, due end of semester (30%)

Hurdle requirement: Students must pass the examination component to pass the subject

Prescribed Texts:
  • Fundamentals of Rock Mechanics (J. Jaeger, N. G. Cook and R. Zimmerman), Blackwell, 2007
  • Design Analysis in Rock Mechanics (W. Pariseau), Taylor & Francis, 2006
  • Rock Mechanics for Underground Mining (B. Brady & E. Brown), Kluwer, 2004
  • Mining Engineering Analysis (C. Bise), SME 2003
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Analytical, critical and creative thinking, with an aptitude for continued self-directed learning
  • Sense of intellectual curiosity
  • Ability to interpret data and research results
  • Sense of intellectual integrity and ethics of scholarship
  • Writing, problem-solving and communication skills
  • Ability to learn in a range of ways, including through information and communication technologies
  • Capacity to confront unfamiliar problems
  • Ability to evaluate and synthesise the research and professional literature
  • Ability to develop models of practical applications and evaluate their performance by rigorous analytical means and by programming computer simulations
  • Capacity to manage competing demands on time, including self-directed project work
  • An understanding of underground mining principles necessary to develop a geological resource into a successful operating underground mine

Notes: Students will need access to PC/laptop.
Related Course(s): Master of Mining Engineering
Postgraduate Certificate in Engineering

Download PDF version.