Engineers Australia

Rockfall mitigation design and hazard assessment in surface mining

Professor Anna Giacomini

Rockfall risk is most of the time considered and managed in the context civil infrastructure, such as road or railway corridors. Rockfall is also a significant hazard in the context of mining environments, yet it threatens human lives, machinery and portal structures for underground entry located at the toe of highwalls. Safety of workers in all mine areas affected by rockfall has to be rigorously managed and appropriate mitigation measures become necessary to reduce the risk to an acceptable level. In addition, rockfall hazard can have significant financial consequences if the production must stop for safety issues. The presentation will focus on rockfall hazards and its impact in surface mining. In particular, recent innovative techniques for the investigation of the efficiency of rockfall protection measures will be presented and the development of a rigorous guidance on rockfall management strategies will be discussed. The research was developed in an Australian context but is applicable to a broader international context, both in civil and mining environments.

About the speaker

Professor Anna Gacomini

Professor Anna GiacominiProfessor of Civil Engineering, University of Newcastle

Prof. Anna Giacomini received her PhD in 2003 from the University of Parma, Italy, and joined the University of Newcastle in 2005. She is currently Professor in Civil Engineering at the University of Newcastle and, since May 2019, along with her full time research and teaching academic role, she is also the Director of the Priority Research Centre for Geotechnical Science and Engineering in the College of Engineering, Science and Environment of the University of Newcastle. Anna has been working in the field of rock mechanics and rockfall analyses for more than 18 years. Adapting to the new Australian Environment, she has extended her extensive research experience in rockfall analysis and rock mechanics from civil engineering to mining. Since 2009, she has been leading six major research projects through the Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP) on rockfall hazard and mitigation. Between 2009 and 2011 she was the principal researcher of an Australian Research Council Linkage project devoted to developing new designs for engineered barriers to protect valuable infrastructures, such as roads and railways, from rockfall hazards, and she is currently leading an Australian Research Council Linkage Project for the development of new innovating monitoring methodologies of rock slopes. Anna’s contribution to science in rock mechanics and rockfall analysis has been recognised by several awards such as the recent 2019 John Booker Medal from the Australian Academy of Science and the 2019 Best Practice Industry Engagement Award she received from the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources. Anna has published over 130 scientific works, she serves as Editorial board member of four prestigious International Journals in the field, as reviewer for several national and international funding bodies and many international journals in the rock mechanics and engineering fields.

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