Fyndaff Opencast: Stability Design of High Rock Slopes


We previously provided specialist stability design of high rock slopes and geotechnical assistance on this legacy Coal Mining project in South Wales. The Fyndaff opencast mine lies on the northern edge of the South Wales coalfield and exhibits major faulting and folding (as can be seen in the photo inset) within the economic coal seams.

There were widespread abandoned mine workings beneath the opencast site and a river had to be diverted away from the working area, along the crest of the high wall.

Stability design for opencast mining, or large quarries/cuts and rock slopes, differs from those for permanent civil engineering works. It is often impossible to recover the contractual coal without accepting a risk of slope failure. Careful assessment of the risks is essential so that working methods can be adapted to take account of the geological environment so that failures can be controlled and managed.

With government carbon reduction targets, coal mining in Wales has waned significantly over the last decade. Since 2018 an effective ban on new coal mines and applications for opencast and deep-mine coal mining will only be allowed under exceptional circumstances.

The Quarries Regulations (1999) and Health and safety at quarries, Approved Code of Practice (2013) are intended to help protect the health and safety of people working at a quarries and others who may be affected by quarrying activities. We have extensive experience providing input for various quarries, mines, tips and other linked sites in the UK.


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