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Auditing the ground control management plan

SRK has developed an audit procedure for Ground Control Management Plans (GCMP) designed for open pit and underground operations. The audit procedure is based on guidelines provided by the Western Australian Department of Minerals and Petroleum (DMP), published in 1997 and 1999, relating to geotechnical considerations for both open pit and underground operations. The original intent of the guidelines was to “provide examples of good geotechnical engineering practice and assist mining operators in achieving compliance with the Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995 (MISR 1995).”

This procedure was developed as a service to clients who require their GCMP documentation and implementation process be audited to ensure compliance to industry standards. The procedure is designed to evaluate and benchmark the GCMP plan consistently and satisfy legal requirements.

The DMP department recognises that mining experience and professional judgment in geotechnical engineering are not easily quantified, but can contribute significantly to formulating various solutions to a particular mining problem. Management is required to recognise, identify and address the geotechnical issues that are unique to their mine, using current geotechnical knowledge and tools.

This approach provides a methodology, checklist and assessment process that auditors can follow when evaluating a client’s GCMP. Since operations can have unique geotechnical issues, certain aspects on the audit form may not apply; auditors use their judgment to include any additional geotechnical aspects identified on the specific operation.

Auditors can use this checklist to ensure that all aspects required are addressed consistently.

The aims of the GCMP Audit are to:
• Provide the client with a systematic evaluation of the current effectiveness of their GCMP and level of compliance
• Provide an action plan or recommendations to address any gaps or deficiencies
The audit process covers:
• Life of mine planning
• Geological structure and rock mass parameters
• Blasting considerations
• Excavation or pit design and controls
• Ground support reinforcement
• Hydrogeological considerations
• Monitoring
• Risk management
• Personnel responsibilities

The auditor rates specific questions in each section for compliance and notes any comments and supporting evidence needed or provided by the mine site. Each section is rated according to standard definitions.

Following the audit, the client receives a report highlighting the level of compliance of their GCMP plan and the effectiveness of the controls; and an action plan with priorities addressing areas requiring action.

The intent of this audit procedure is to provide transparency and identify any deficiencies or vulnerabilities in the current GCMP. In the long term, this process will encourage self-management and auditing of ground control-related risks, which typically improve performance.

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