2021 Joan Bath Bursary Recipient

Tia Shapka Fels

Tia Shapka-Fels
MASc Candidate, University of British Columbia

Many of the world’s open pit mines plan to transition to underground block cave mining to extend mine life and continue to exploit resources at depth. The failure to understand the geomechanical relationship between the open pit and the caving operation can impact economic value due to surface disturbance of critical infrastructure, the loss of viable resources, and possible dilution of the resource. Deformation and failure of pit slopes from cave-induced subsidence can also affect concurrent surface and underground mining operations and bring a premature end to the open pit.

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Tia’s research aims to investigate the transition of an open pit mine with an underlying caving operation and identify the geomechanical risks. Through a series of conceptual hybrid continuum-discontinuum models, different transitioning scenarios will be studied to identify the effects of both geological and mining factors. Results from these models will be analyzed to identify relationships and draw conclusions regarding the controlling factors. Certain factors remain flexible between different operations and can be optimized, while varying geological factors can increase understanding of the geomechanical uncertainty and risk. Statistical analyses and machine learning algorithms will be exploited to understand the implication of poor data quality and the confidence in quantifying risk, as well as the post-processing of models to further explore the importance and interdependence of input parameters.


2021 Peter Howe Bursary Recipient

Darius Kamal

Darius Kamal
MSc. Candidate, University of British Columbia

Darius’ M.Sc. research project focuses on deciphering the geometry and kinematic history of the world-class Zn-Pb deposits at Howard’s Pass, located on the border of the Yukon and NWT. This project aims to test the validity of the different structural models as the regional geometry is poorly understood. I will integrate 1:10000 scale structural and lithostratigraphic mapping with detailed cross sections, logging of drill-core, and analysis of oriented thin sections for deformation fabrics during the course of this project. Additional analytical work, such as SEM, EBSD, and Microprobe work, are being considered to look at how the sulphides differ from each other in mechanics of remobilization.

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Two field seasons are planned with the first having been completed in the summer of 2020 with new maps of the XY region at Howard’s Pass recently published. The second season is planned for the summer of 2021 where the regional structure will be investigated to see how deformation changes across large-scale faults and folds. This project will assist in future exploration within the Selwyn basin from target generation to mature mining environments. It will contribute new geologic maps that will help link together the regional geology of the Selwyn basin to Howard’s Pass.