Tia Shapka-Fels, M.A.Sc. Student, University of British Columbia


Tia holds a B.A.Sc. in Geological Engineering from Queen’s University and is currently completing an M.A.Sc. in Mining Engineering at the University of British Columbia, specializing in mining rock mechanics. Tia’s research consists of hybrid finite-discrete element modelling of the geomechanical interaction between open pit and cave mining. During her studies, Tia continues her career in rock mechanics consulting with Golder’s Mine Stability West team in Vancouver. She has over five years of professional experience with Golder and SRK Consulting in geoenvironmental and geotechnical engineering, working on projects across North America related to rock mass data collection and characterization, open pit stability analysis and design, and mine waste infrastructure design. Outside of work and academia, Tia is an avid downhill skier and is always planning her next travel destination.

Project: Numerical Analysis of the Geomechanical Interaction Between Open Pit and Cave Mining Using Hybrid FDEM Models

Many current surface mining operations and future open pit projects plan to transition to underground cave mining to extend mine life and continue to extract resources at depth. This research is a commentary on the application of numerical modelling at large scales, providing examples of numerical analysis of the geomechanical interaction between open pit and cave mining based on different geological and mine design variables. The objective is to understand the influence of different conceptualization scenarios and methods on open pit stability, cave propagation, and their connection behaviour. Results are expected to provide context and guidance in modelling large-scale pit-to-cave transition scenarios, and examples of types of sensitivity analyses. This study uses largely conceptual models, with special consideration of the planned caving operation at the Red Chris Mine in northern BC.