Open Pit 3D Slope Stability Analysis


The stability of open pits has come under increased scrutiny in the past decade as existing open pits attempt to go deeper and larger to extend the useful life of the mine. Such an extension of open pits raises issues related to the stability of pit sidewalls and what factor of safety (FOS) is reasonable to allow safe working conditions.

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Limitations of 2D

The traditional methodology in consulting practice for analyzing pit slope stability is through the use of limit equilibrium 2D slices through various sections of interest in the pit. Such an approach has been widely used but has the following fundamental limitations:

  • Pit geometry is often highly three-dimensional in nature,
  • Geostrata or ore geometry is highly three-dimensional in nature,
  • Rock fracture orientations are often highly three-dimensional, and
  • Faults can easily exist which are difficult to quantify in 2D.

The Value of 3D Limit Equilibrium Analysis

2D limitations can be overcome through a 3D limit equilibrium analysis of pit wall stability utilizing the SVSLOPE® 3D software developed by SoilVision Systems Ltd. The 3D analysis offers the following benefits:

  • Extend the life of existing facilities through steeping of pit sidewalls based on 3-D analysis,
  • More rigorously accurate calculation of the FOS,
  • Representation of 3D geostrata in a more comprehensive fashion,
  • Numerical modeling of faults and weak fracture planes,
  • Modeling of slope stabilization measures.

Innovation Through Continuous Research Wields More Accurate and Comprehensive Results

Our company has recently invested significant research efforts to extend our existing SVSLOPE® 3D software to be utilized in the analysis of open pits. Such research efforts have resulted in the implementation of the following features:

  • Anisotropic rock strength models: ALM1 & ALM2 strength models have been implemented such that fracture weak zones at specific orientations can be handled.
  • Slip surfaces at any direction: The direction of the slip surface or a range of possible slip directions can be specified and the software will search for the slip direction with the lowest factor of safety (FOS).
  • Combined searching using ellipsoids and fault planes or bedrock lower searching boundaries: Advanced searching methods utilizing composite slip surfaces are now available.
  • Multi-wedge searching: The software implements any combination of multiple planes which can be searched through to locate the lowest FOS.
  • Rock strength models: The Hoek-Brown and Hoek-Brown Generalized methods of rock strength have been implemented.

Two methodologies for utilization of the software are available to clients of SoilVision Systems Ltd.


Clients are able to purchase the SVSLOPE® 3D software package and utilize the commercial version of the application to solve their specific models.


If the particular problem involves extremely complicated geometry which cannot be modeled with grids and needs to be imported from AutoCAD or mining software packages then SoilVision Systems Ltd. offers a consultancy service to solve complex open pit slope stability numerical models. Such a consultancy provides the following advanced capabilities not available in the commercial version of SVSLOPE® 3D :

  • Ability to use anisotropic strength models in 3D regions.
  • Ability to import and represent extremely complex 3D geometry.
  • More advanced slip surface searching methodologies.

SoilVision Systems Ltd. has already completed consulting projects for mining clients using these advanced abilities. The analysis provided clients with an analysis of increased rigor and allowed a rationale for design of open pit slopes.

The advantage of this approach is that the mining company does not require training on the software in order to begin seeing results fast. Our engineers allow efficient replication of your existing slope geometry or your intended slope designs. SoilVision Systems Ltd. employs the use of high-performance workstations in order to expedite the analysis of extremely complicated numerical models.

SoilVision Systems Ltd. is ready to put our experience, knowledge and advanced modeling tools to work for you.

Download the Open Pit 3D Slope Stability Analysis brochure (PDF).

For more information on this service please contact SoilVision Systems Ltd.

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