Rock Storage Facilities & Stockpiles

Common sense solutions from a geoscience perspective

BGC provides design and operational support for rock storage facilities, stockpiles, haul roads, and other types of rock fill structures associated with mining projects throughout the world. We use our understanding of the ground conditions, characterization of the foundation and waste materials, stability analysis, design and monitoring, and operational support to service these facilities. In addition to these services, we utilize our state-of-the-art geotechnical laboratory, cutting-edge tools, and a wide range of earth science expertise to develop practical designs and provide expert operational advice. 

BGC provides design and operational support for numerous mining rock fill structures in a range of climatic conditions, terrain types, foundation soil, and rock conditions, hydrogeologic and hydrologic regimes, fill material types, and construction methods. BGC’s experience includes conceptual designs and siting analyses, pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, detailed design and permitting, operations, and closure.

BGC provides a comprehensive, geoscience-based approach to the following core services:

Site Investigations

Our site investigations generally start with terrain analyses of air photos. This information is used to inform an efficient site investigation plan that optimizes existing information and takes advantage of readily accessible areas. Our team specializes in multiple in-situ testing and sampling methods in disturbed and undisturbed foundation materials including CPT, SPT, Mazier, and GUS piston sampling, and plate load testing. Our team also applies numerous remote sensing techniques such as lidar surveys, terrestrial and aerial photogrammetry, and photogrammetric particle size distribution estimates of existing rock fill materials.

Laboratory Testing & Characterization

Samples of soil and rock are tested at BGC’s state-of-the-art geotechnical. In addition to the more standard tests, the BGC laboratory can also conduct large-scale (up to 300mm diameter) triaxial testing.

BGC has developed close connections with many geochemical testing laboratories to support their designed testing programs to assess the geochemical properties of materials to be used in rock fill structures and stockpiles. The site investigation and laboratory testing data are used to develop comprehensive models that consider the geotechnical, hydrogeological, geochemical, and hydraulic properties of the foundation and fill materials.

Analysis & Design

BGC offers a wide range of analytical services to assess the physical and chemical stability of rock storage facilities. This includes hazard classifications, 2D and 3D limit-equilibrium and numerical slope stability modelling, 2D and 3D runout analyses, rock fall roll-out assessments, seismic assessments, and pit-stockpile setback assessments. From a hydrogeochemical perspective, BGC has experience in carrying out flow and load balance modelling of rock storage facilities to support the development of the design, assessment of strategies for managing contact water seepage, and closure options considerations. These flow and load models incorporate the geochemical characteristics of the managed material as well as results from variably-saturated flow modelling (e.g., HydroGeoSphere, Hydrus) to estimate the partitioning of precipitation and snowmelt to evapotranspiration, recharge/infiltration, and runoff. Our team has experience in the surface water management aspects of rock storage facilities, including designing surface water diversions, developing water management plans, and designing underdrainage systems. These analytical skills are combined with understanding the impacts of mine sequencing, material scheduling and segregation, and construction methods on the development of practical design criteria for rock storage facilities and stockpiles. 

Operational Support & Closure

BGC specializes in designing and implementing instrumentation systems to monitor surface and subsurface displacements and pore pressure conditions for rock storage facilities. Our team understands the dynamic nature of operating these facilities and provides practical advice for developing ground control management plans, trigger action response plans, crest advance rates, and safe work plans. We also provide emergency callout services and support for managing and mitigating instabilities. BGC understands the current regulatory environment and has developed extensive experience providing technical support to our clients throughout the permit application process. All our rock storage facility projects are designed with closure in mind. BGC has experience designing and constructing covers and developing practical closure plans.

Key Contacts

Carl Mendoza

Carl Mendoza

Principal Hydrogeological Engineer

Jack Seto

Jack Seto

Principal Geotechnical Engineer

Warren Newcomen

Warren Newcomen

Principal Geotechnical Engineer

Ian Stilwell

Ian Stilwell

Principal Geotechnical Engineer

Anne Clayton

Anne Clayton

Senior Geological/Geotechnical Engineer, Rock Mechanics Team Lead

John Whittall

John Whittall

Senior Geological Engineer

Sharon Blackmore

Sharon Blackmore

Principal Hydrogeochemist, Geochemistry Team Lead

Craig Thompson

Craig Thompson

Senior Hydrogeologist

Graham Dick

Graham Dick

Senior Geotechnical Engineer