Knight Piésold Plays Significant Role in 10th International Slope Stability Symposium in Brazil
Knight Piésold Plays Significant Role in 10th International Slope Stability Symposium in Brazil

Knight Piésold Plays Significant Role in 10th International Slope Stability Symposium in Brazil

April 30, 2024, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil – Knight Piésold played a significant role in the 10th International Slope Stability Symposium that was held in Brazil for the first time on April 14–19, 2024. The conference took place at the Dom Cabral Foundation, located in the municipality of Nova Lima, in the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais.

"This is one of the top conferences on slope stability in the world, and it was a huge feat for the Brazilian mining community to have hosted Slope Stability 2024," said Gustavo Vianna, Director of Operations of Knight Piésold Brazil.

The conference was organized by the Brazilian Association of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ABMS, Associação Brasileira de Mecânica dos Solos e Engenharia Geotécnica), with the support of the Large Open Pit Project, an industry-sponsored, international research and technology transfer project.

Themed "Slopes of the Future," the conference focused on discussions about the latest international guidelines and standards as well as best practices related to slope stability for open pit and associated infrastructure. It drew a global audience of 600 professionals, over half of whom came from 47 different countries and the rest came from 18 different states of Brazil.

Knight Piésold had a strong presence at the week-long conference, providing diamond level sponsorship, exhibiting at the tradeshow, and having a large delegation of 17 mining specialists from Knight Piésold’s Belo Horizonte, Denver, and Vancouver offices in attendance. This was further amplified by team members serving in a variety of roles, including conference chair, organizing committee member, and technical session speakers.

Based in Knight Piésold’s Belo Horizonte office, Vianna was appointed as chair of Slope Stability 2024 after the previous conference was held in Tucson, USA two years ago. He led an organizing committee that included Joy Foley, a project engineer based in Knight Piésold’s Denver office, in producing insightful programming that included oral and poster presentations, workshops, and social events.

Vianna currently serves as vice president of the ABMS Minas Gerais state chapter. He had held various roles at ABMS for many years, elected to serve for consecutive terms, including president and vice president of the Minas Gerais state chapter and secretary general of the National Board.

Rami Abousleiman, a project engineer based in Knight Piésold’s Denver office, delivered an oral presentation on the paper titled “Synthetic Rock Mass Modeling of Progressive Unravelling and Overall Slope Stability Using the Discrete Element Method.” Co-authored by Carlos Contreras of Stantec and Jim Cremeens of Knight Piésold USA, the paper discusses a synthetic rock mass approach that was used when analyzing the failure of a weak, in-dipping fault-zone in an open pit gold mine.

Greg Magoon, a senior engineer based in Knight Piésold’s Vancouver office, gave a poster presentation on the paper titled "Operational Slope Stability Risk Management for Large Open Pits at the Mount Milligan Mine – A Case Study." The case study, which was co-authored by Daniel Yang of Knight Piésold Canada and Teri Herbert, Masimba Sowa, and Hubert Schimann of Centerra Gold Inc., presents industry-leading structural data collection, slope monitoring, and mine risk management that were used at a gold-copper mine to develop proactive and reactive strategies for mitigating open pit slope stability issues.

Ben Peacock, a specialist engineer based in Knight Piésold’s North Bay office, is a co-author of the paper titled "Risk Mitigation through Design Optimization Utilizing Seasonal Effects under Arctic Conditions at the Amaruq Mine." Christian Tremblay of Agnico Eagle Mines Limited delivered an oral presentation of the paper, and the other co-authors are Véronique Falmagne and Eric Bellefleur of Agnico Eagle Mines Limited and Kathy Kalenchuk of RockEng Inc. The paper presents the measures taken to successfully mine a sector of the open pit that experienced a series of instabilities, including slope redesign and the innovative sequencing of mining activities to take advantage of the seasonable behaviour of the frozen rock mass.

"From ABMS and the organizing committee to all participants, many thanks for making this conference an absolute success," said Vianna. "It was fantastic showcasing the best of Belo Horizonte and the country to the international mining community."

Vianna added, "We are incredibly proud at Knight Piésold to have made a huge mark in this landmark event. Our presence in Brazil has grown tremendously, expanding our team and office space in Belo Horizonte and Paracatu, working on major mining projects in the country, and strengthening our capabilities to support our clients with safe, sustainable operations."

"We are looking forward to contributing our technical knowhow for the advancement of this critical field at the next Slope Stability Symposium."

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