Highly flexible catch fences and high performance drape mesh systems for rockfall protection in open pit operations

R. Coates, F. J. Glisson and A. Roth

Rockfall hazards in open pit applications mainly occur in steep open pit walls due to aggressive pit design, in flat walls without berms while following shallow dipping ore bodies or locally on batter level. Areas with high damage potential such as decline portals or haulage ramps are especially hazardous. Dangers from falling rocks have to be reduced as much as possible. The protection systems to cope with such hazards from the manufacturer Geobrugg which are described in this paper are highly flexible and consist of high-tensile steel components. They are field tested and are thus rated with a certain energy absorption capacity. In order to get impact velocities and energies, a rockfall simulation is run, utilising actual slope characteristics. This study deals with three case studies of rockfall protection systems recently implemented in Western Australia. The first study describes a portal protection fence, the second one a ramp protection fence and the third one a high-performance drape system with impact section.