Stefano Utili


Professor of Geotechnical Engineering & Founder

Stefano Utili is Professor of Geotechnical Engineering at Newcastle University (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) and founder of OptimalSlope Ltd. He is a Chartered Engineer, Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineering and Eur Ing. Prof. Utili has published extensively on the assessment of slope stability and the design of mine pitwalls. Prof. Utili is the UK representative on the CEN committee TC 250/SC 7/WG3/TG 1 tasked with the revision of Eurocode 7 for the section ‘Slopes and embankments’ and member of the International Technical Committee 208 “Slope stability in engineering practice” of the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering.

SESSION 5 - «Mining Goes Digital» Conference
07 October 2021 / 14:00 - 15:30 | Main Hall

OptimalSlope: a software determining optimal pitwall profiles to maximise mining financial returns and reduce carbon footprint

OptimalSlope determines geotechnically optimal depth varying slope shapes for the design of each slope sector of an open pit mine. OptimalSlope seeks the solution of a mathematical optimisation problem where the overall steepness of the pitwall (slope), from crest to toe, is maximised for an assigned stratigraphy, rock properties and Factor of Safety (FoS). The optimal profiles are always steeper than their planar counterparts (i.e. planar profiles exhibiting the same FoS). Adoption of overall steeper profiles allows a significant reduction of waste rock and, consequently, carbon footprint and energy consumption whilst improving mine profitability. Calculations for 3 case studies of metalliferous mines, under review for publication in peer review outlets, led to the following results over the mine life: Case 1) profit increase: 60 million USD, carbon footprint saving: 1.49 Mt CO2eq, energy consumption saving: 6.92×10^8 MJ; Case 2) profit increase: 13.7 million USD, carbon footprint saving: 11.6 Mt CO2eq, energy consumption saving: 1.88×10^10 MJ; Case 3) profit increase: 11.7 million USD, carbon footprint saving: 6.44 Mt CO2eq, energy consumption saving: 1.03×10^10 MJ