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Risk-based design offers more than safety factor

William Joughin
Friday, April 3, 2020
First presented: 
Mining Magazine
Rock Mechanics

Managing risk in underground mines would benefit from risk-based design, an approach which presents advantages over the commonly used 'factor of safely method. SRK says it has developed an approach to underground geotechnical design that strikes a balance between cost and risk, while remaining aligned with the move towards zero harm.

Speaking recently at a number of international and local conferences related to rock mechanics, SRK Consulting chairman and principal mining geotechnical engineer William Joughin argued for a riskbased approach to rock engineering design in underground mines – taking into account the natural variability in the rock mass conditions and geotechnical uncertainty. These uncertainties include measurement errors, insufficient data, sampling bias, stress state uncertainty and model uncertainty.

Feature Author

William Joughin

William Joughin has been involved in the field of Underground Rock Engineering for more than 20 years.

Specialisation:    Underground rock engineering investigation and design.


Geotechnical investigations;
Mining method selection;
Design of mining layouts, backfill, support and monitoring systems;
Numerical modelling (Map3D, Phase2, Flac3D, JBlock, Unwedge);
Seismic risk investigations;
Probability and risk based design;
Rockfall / rockburst investigations, reviews and audits;
Pre-feasibility, feasibility studies, due diligence projects;
Applied research projects.

Underground Rock Engineering Specialist
SRK Johannesburg
SRK Africa