Rockfall Protection Implemented at Phu Bia Mine

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11 July 2024

Rockfall Protection Implemented at Phu Bia Mine

Enhanced Rockfall Protection Implemented at Phu Bia Mine

Phu Bia Mining Limited (PBM), a prominent player in Laos’ mining sector and a significant producer of copper and gold in Southeast Asia, faces unique challenges due to its open-pit operations amidst highly weathered and jointed rock formations. At stage 6, between elevations of 470m RL and 425m RL, the terrain is particularly vulnerable, exhibiting gully formations. Since 2018, there has been a noted risk of rockfall above the Stage 6 ramp at 420m RL, exacerbated by periodic reactivation and washouts following rain events. Cracks have been observed at the southern end of the failure site at 470m RL, further complicating stability due to the degradation and washout of weak rock materials in the interface zone between IGN and SLS layers, heightening the risk of rockfall and necessitating urgent intervention for safe mine operations.

 

In response, Phu Bia mine’s technical team conducted a thorough assessment and exploration of various protective measures for this critical location. Following meticulous evaluation, the Maccaferri Rockfall barrier was selected as the optimal solution. This dynamic rockfall barrier, standing at 3.5m in height and designed to withstand impacts of up to 750kJ along its trajectory, spans 50 meters to cover the high-risk area effectively.