ACG Research

Current Research  |  Research Proposals  |  Research Reports  |  Past Research


The Australian mining industry urgently needs to respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by the current economic climate. Industry must be in a position to readily exchange information on the challenges being faced and identify and develop the tools and practices that will enable operation optimisation. These developments will concurrently improve mine safety and community and environmental performance generating sustainable growth. The industry in its entirety cannot evolve to meet these challenges without developing highly relevant and defined research projects. The ACG continues to effectively respond to industry’s needs by initiating innovative research that provides ongoing benefits and viabilities instead of “quick-fix” solutions.


Current Research


Stope Reconciliation and Optimisation Research Project

This project will develop new and innovative tools to assess the performance of completed stopes in terms of overbreak and underbreak. This reconciliation will feed into a new probabilistic stope design approach which will enable improved stope performance with lower overbreak and underbreak. Read more


Ground Support Systems Optimisation

In 2013 the ACG commenced an exciting international industry A$1.8 million funded GSSO project. The project explores methods and options to optimise ground support systems, with the aim to maintain, if not improve, mine safety whilst reducing costs and/or time components. Read more


mXrap Consortium

The software, mXrap, has been developed under the MSRRM project as a technology transfer tool. Following the successful completion of phase five of the MSRRM project, the mXrap Consortium was formed. The mXrap Consortium supports the further development of the software outside of any specific research project. This enables the software to become the technology transfer tool for other research projects with the ACG and other groups. mXrap is a geotechnical data analysis and monitoring platform within which data analysis tools have been developed. Click here to find out more about the mXrap Consortium and Software.


Strainburst Research Project

This new ACG research project aims to equip the mining industry with support systems knowledge to mitigate strainburst/rockburst risk.

As mines continue to be mined deeper and open pits expand, strainbursts and rockbursts are increasing the cost of mining safely, i.e. ground support requirements, microseismic monitoring, restrictions to production and sequencing, as well as delays in re-entry, sometimes lead to the premature closure of a mine. These problems are a major threat to the future exploitation of deep mining resources. Several strainburst/rockburst risk management approaches are available and are currently used by many mines. However, once the mining method and sequence are determined, the hazard state is more or less locked in, leaving implementation of dynamically resistant support as one of the only short-term controls of excavation damage potential. Consequently, the selection of an appropriate dynamic support system is of paramount importance in managing burst risks in mines. To aid industry to design more appropriate support systems to mitigate the potential problem in July 2016, the ACG commenced an industry and Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA) funded research project into ‘Rock properties to predict rockburst vulnerability in three dimensions’ (MRIWA Project M464). Read more...

Project objectives
This new ACG research project will examine the properties of rocks in 3D covering the pre‐peak and post‐peak behaviour in order to identify where rockburst could occur. Pre-peak behaviour is dominated by rock brittleness and fracture generation. Post-peak behaviour is likely to be dominated by rocks which release energy following failure (called Type 2 or self-sustaining behaviour). The aim is to identify early indicators of fracture toughness and Type 2 behaviour and to examine whether this is directional or not.
Once the rockburst potential nature can be identified, Dight et al. (2013) has shown that the energy from the self‐sustaining
behaviour can be related to the ejection velocity, which means that the demand on and parameters for ground support may be determined for dynamic situations.
The ultimate benefit of the project to the mining industry will lead to fewer mines closing due to rockburst and help identify approaches for reducing the consequences of rockbursts, in particular, by designing more appropriate support systems. This will contribute to making deep mines safer and more sustainable in the future.

The research project team will explore:
• In situ stress recovery
• Pre‐peak intact properties
• Post‐peak properties (energy demand from Type 2 behaviour)
• Demand for the design of dynamic support

Introducing the research project team
The project team is led by the ACG’s Professor Phil Dight and comprises the following researchers:
• Professor Arcady Dyskin, chair, Computational Mechanics Discipline Group, The University of Western Australia
• Dr Ariel Hsieh, research associate in mining, ACG, The University of Western Australia
• Adjunct research associate Max Lee, geotechnical specialist, Monash University
• Associate Professor Bre-Anne Sainsbury, director, Resources Engineering, Monash University

This team is supported by the following
PhD candidates:
• Mark Burdett, Monash University
• Broadus Jeffcoat-Sacco, ACG, The University of Western Australia
• Ali Keneti, Monash University
• Hongyu Wang, ACG, The University of Western Australia

Collaborating universities
The majority of the research work will be conducted at The University of Western Australia. Research undertaken by Monash University includes the consideration of pre-peak and dynamic studies through the application of geological investigations and numerical modelling in three dimensions.

Project sponsors
• Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia
• Aeris Resources, Tritton Resources Limited
• Agnico Eagle Mines Limited, LaRonde Mine
• AngloGold Ashanti Australia, Sunrise Dam Gold Mine
• Ernest Henry Mining Pty Ltd (a Glencore Company)
• Gold Fields Australia Pty Ltd, Granny Smith Mine
• Gold Fields Australia Pty Ltd, Agnew and St Ives Gold Mines
• Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB, Kiruna and Malmberget Mines
• Newcrest Mining Limited, Cadia Valley Operations
• Northern Star Resources Limited, Kalgoorlie Operations
• Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations (a Glencore Company), Nickel Rim South Mine

For more information or for project sponsor opportunities, please contact the ACG. Article references are available on request.



Research Proposals


Open Pit Mining Research Projects

There are significant challenges facing the Australian mining industry that require coordinated research and dissemination of experiences. The ACG have proposed four research projects: Saprolites; Stress Measurement, Rock Bridges and Open Pit Microseismicity. Read more


Research Reports

It is the ACG’s policy to make the results of research available, wherever possible, through publication of final reports. Visit the ACG Shop for further details.


Past Research

Mine Seismicity and Rockburst Risk Management (MSRRM)

Innovative rock mechanics’ research into the management of risks associated with mine seismicity and rockbursts continues at an accelerating pace. The fifth phase of this world class project has been completed, and we are looking forward to developing further research projects in this area. Read more


An Effective Stress Approach to Mine Backfill

This project addressed technology gaps that currently exist relating to the use of tailings-based backfills and that result in significant residual risks at present. The principles of effective stress will be used to analyse the mechanisms associated with placement mechanics as well as the post placement aspects associated with exposure stability. Read more

HEA Mesh

Professor Yves Potvin, director of the ACG at the University of Western Australia, initiated the High Energy Absorption (HEA) Mesh project in 2005. The ACG has developed the new high energy absorption mesh to tackle the challenges presented by deep and high stress mining conditions and mechanised mining. Read more


Towards the Elimination of Rockfall Fatalities (Phases I & II)


High Resolution Seismic Monitoring in Open Pit Mines

This project sought to minimise the financial and safety risks associated with potentially catastrophic slope failures by detecting and analysing the early microseismic warning emitted by the failing rock. Read more


Squeezing Ground Task Force

The ‘Squeezing Ground Task Force’ was formed in 2007 by the Australian Centre for Geomechanics as a research initiative to facilitate a better understanding of squeezing ground conditions and how different mines manage these issues. Read more


Integrated Monitoring Systems for Open Pit Wall Deformation


Rapid Low Cost Mine Mapping


Metallurgical Mine Tailings Rehabilitation


Saline Tailings Disposal and Decommissioning


In Situ Stress Measurement using Acoustic Emission from Cored Rock