Rock Mass Characterization for Mine Design

Rock Mass Characterization for Mine Design

Areas of Study: Geotechnics

Qualifies for CMS

This is a very practical, hands-on course.

Short Course Short Course
  • Audience Level: Professional Tool Tip
  • Dates: Unscheduled Tool Tip
  • Early Bird: Tool Tip
  • Enrollment: Included Tool Tip
  • Registration Fee: Tool Tip
  • Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada Tool Tip
  • Duration: 3 days
  • CEUs: 2.4 (24 PDHs) Tool Tip

Course Summary


The purpose of this course is to provide geology and geotechnical engineering professionals with entry level to mid-career experience with the tools required to effectively gather geotechnical data for rock mass classification and rock mechanics design calculations.

The majority of rock falls in mine operations are structurally controlled. Design is largely controlled by existing structure. It is critical that site characterization be performed so as to identify the structural factors that would affect rock slope angles, drill and blast design, support requirements, resultant dilution and span design, etc. A good understanding of rock mass structure forms the basis of rock mass classification which is used in the majority of rock mechanics design methods.

Mine and exploration geologists usually collect most of the data needed for rock mass classification and design calculations. Unfortunately, it is often not in the form an engineer is able to use. This course will give geologists the tools they need to collect geological data so that it can be used by both geologists and engineers. This can be very valuable for properties in the early feasibility stages of development.

Upon completion of the course, the participants will be able to gather geotechnical data, either from rock cuts, drifts or core, and process the information for subsequent analysis. The focus of the course is towards gathering information for purposes of analysis and design. The goal is to use effective mapping techniques to obtain data that can be used as input for any of the established rock classification systems. All of the commonly used classification values such as Barton's Q and Q' systems, Bieniawski's RMR, Laubscher's MRMR, and Hoek's GSI systems will be covered.

This course will include a half-day underground mapping and rock classification tour at Britannia Mine, Britannia Beach, BC, Canada, and a half-day surface mapping and rock classification field trip on the outskirts of Vancouver.

Who Should Attend?

The course is directed towards geologists, geotechnicians, and geotechnical engineers involved in gathering geological data for surface and underground mines. Graduate students and recent graduates in geology, mining, geotechnical engineering, and related technology fields may also benefit. The course will outline the collection of key structural and rock mass strength data required for effective rock mass classification systems.

Pre-Course e-Learning

Prior to the course, registered delegates have access to online e-learning material consisting of an introductory course titled Rock Mass Classification for Mine Design.

Certificate in Mining Studies

This course qualifies for three days of short course credit for the Certificate in Mining Studies (CMS), a continuing education program of accredited short courses, webcasts and online courses for lifelong learning in mining, supported by University of British Columbia, University of Arizona and University of Concepción. more details »

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Registered participants who attend the entire short course and complete an evaluation at the end of the course will receive a Certificate of Attendance, confirming the Professional Development Hours (PDH)/Continuing Education Units (CEU) earned. Please confirm with your employer and/or professional association that this course qualifies for CPD.

Dr. Doug Milne

Doug Milne is a geological engineer with an MSc and PhD in mining rock mechanics. He has over 20 years' industry experience in surface and underground rock mechanics and he teaches rock mechanics at the University of Saskatchewan. Doug's MSc research was on rock mass classification systems; he has written several papers on classification and worked in the field gathering data for classification and design. Doug has also co-chaired a workshop on rock classification.

Provisional Schedule

Day 1: 8:45am to 5:00pm
Time Session
08:45 – 09:00 Welcome and Breakfast/Coffee

09:00 – 09:15

Introduction – Rock as an Engineering Material

09:15 – 09:30

Structural Domain

  • Geological Controls and Properties for Design
  • Intact Rock Strength

09:30 – 10:30

Discontinuity Properties

  • Joint Orientation
  • Cusums Analysis
10:30 – 11:00 Morning Coffee Break

11:00 – 12:00

Discontinuity Properties

  • Joint Roughness and Planarity
  • Slope Stability Application
  • New Devices in Rock Classification
  • Joint Frequency
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

13:00 – 13:45

Discontinuity Mapping

  • Surface Mapping Procedures
  • Underground Mapping Procedures

13:45 – 15:15

Rock Mass Classification

  • NGI Q and Q' Systems
  • RMR Systems
  • Case Histories
15:15 – 15:45 Afternoon Coffee Break

15:45 – 16:15

Additional Classification Systems

  • MRMR Classification
  • GSI System

16:15 – 17:00

Classification Exercises, Case Histories, and General Discussion

Day 2: 8:00am to 5:00pm
Time Session
08:00 – 09:00 Meet for Breakfast/Coffee and Drive to Mapping Site

09:00 – 12:00

Underground Mapping and Rock Classification – Britannia Mine

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch and Discuss Mapping Areas
13:00 – 13:30 Travel to Surface Mapping Site

13:30 – 16:00

Surface Mapping and Rock Classification – Local Highway Rock Slope

16:00 – 17:00 Return to Edumine Office
Day 3: 8:45am to 5:00pm
Time Session
08:45 – 9:00 Breakfast/coffee

09:00 – 10:00

Analyze Underground Data Gathered

  • Plot Stereonets
  • Estimate Average Joint Properties
  • Estimate Q, RMR, GSI, and MRMR

10:00 – 10:30

Rock Classification and Underground Design

10:30 – 11:00 Morning Coffee Break

11:00 – 12:00

Analyze Surface Data Gathered

  • Plot Stereonets
  • Estimate Average Joint Properties
  • Estimate Q, RMR, GSI, and MRMR
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

13:00 – 13:30

Rock Classification and Slope Design

13:30 – 14:30

Core Logging for Rock Classification

14:30 – 15:00

Rock Classification and Back Analysis

15:00 – 15:30 Afternoon Coffee Break

15:30 – 16:00

Rock Classification and Instrumentation

16:00 – 16:30

Challenges and Flaws with Rock Classification

16:30 – 17:00

General Discussion – Workshop Close

How to Register

To register yourself, click the 'Register Now' button and complete the online registration form.
To register on behalf of someone else, or to register groups of 2 or more, please contact us; discounts may apply.

Questions? Please contact Edumine: +1 604 683 2037 or [email protected] and we will get back to you during regular business hours, Monday - Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm Pacific Time.


The fee covers the lecture, access to Pre-Course e-Learning, a certificate of attendance, and catered breakfasts and lunches including light refreshments. The fee does not cover accommodation.

This course will also include a half-day underground mapping and rock classification tour at Britannia Mine as well as a half-day surface mapping and rock classification field trip on the outskirts of Vancouver, including transportation and meals.

Early Bird: there is a 10% discount if you register at least 30 days prior to the course start date. A 10% discount is offered for groups of 5 or more OR if you provide your Annual Edumine subscription User ID at time of registration. The maximum discount that can be applied is 20%.


The course will be held at InfoMine Inc., Vancouver, Canada, Suite 640 - 580 Hornby Street, Vancouver, BC. Detailed arrival instructions will be sent to all participants 10-14 days prior to the commencement of the course.

Hotel Accommodation

If you need to make hotel reservations, we recommend the following hotels. Each hotel is within a 5-15 minute walking distance of the course venue and provides convenient access to transportation and 'Canada Line' rapid transit to/from Vancouver International Airport.

When making reservations make sure to ask for the "InfoMine corporate rate".

  • Executive Hotel Le Soleil, named by Resorts & Great Hotels Magazine as "One of the Top 100 Hotels in the World," has been recipient of the American Automobile Association's (AAA) 4-Diamond rating since its opening. Executive Hotel Le Soleil differentiates itself with a unique mixture of stylish sophistication and old world elegance. Featuring 119 luxury boutique lodging accommodations, it is conveniently located across the street from the InfoMine/Edumine offices. Experience Copper Chimney restaurant's award winning chefs and enter into an exotic world of Indian fusion food.
    The Hotel Le Soleil's website is:

  • Metropolitan Hotel Vancouver: make yourself at home in one of the Metropolitan Hotel's 197 elegantly appointed guestrooms and suites. Enjoy the Metropolitan's 24-hour Business Center; fully-equipped Health Club with indoor pool, whirlpool, sauna, and squash court; and the Diva at the Met restaurant, a AAA 4-Diamond rated restaurant featuring Vancouver's finest cuisine, celebrated Chef's table, and distinguished wine cellar. The Metropolitan has received a "4 Green Keys" rating through the Green Key Eco-Rating Program.
    The Metropolitan Hotel's website is:

  • Vancouver’s most art-full hotel, the Listel Hotel is a cultural tourist’s dream and a showcase for eco-friendly practices. Packed with original art, this 129 room boutique hotel boasts comfortable, contemporary furnishings and a perfect location in the West End, the city’s most eclectic shopping and dining neighbourhood. The hotel is also home to Forage, a pioneer in sustainable restaurant operations and home to Chef Chris Whittaker’s award-winning farm-to-table fare. Forage is known for its small plate dining and BC wine and craft beer on tap.
    The Listel Hotel's website is:

  • Days Inn Downtown Vancouver Hotel: experience the modern comforts of the historic full-service business hotel located in the core of downtown Vancouver. Their West Coast hospitality will ensure your stay is as comfortable as possible. Discover true value at the Days Inn Downtown Vancouver Hotel as they provide FREE Wireless Internet, Bottled Water / Tea & Small Business Center. InfoMine’s corporate rate includes $10.00 breakfast voucher, best available room at check-in, Day Pass to Health and Fitness Centre around the corner.
    The Days Inn Downtown's website is:

  • The Delta Vancouver Suites is a 225 all-suite property designed with business travel in mind. Centrally located in the Heritage District of downtown Vancouver, the hotel is just one block from Waterfront Station, the main hub of the Canada Line providing convenient and economical transportation to/from the Vancouver International Airport. The hotel is in close proximity to many corporate offices, the Vancouver Convention Centre and government offices making business connections easy. Attractions such as Rogers Arena and BC Place Stadium and neighborhoods including Gastown, home to many of the best restaurants Vancouver has to offer are all a short walk away. The Delta Vancouver Suites' website is:

For further information about hotels in Downtown Vancouver, see the following website:

Terms and Conditions

By submitting a short course registration form, you agree to pay the associated fees in full before the course start date.


Notice of cancellation must be given in writing by letter, fax or email and action will be taken to recover, from the delegates or their employers, that portion of the fee owing at the time of cancellation.

A 10% administration fee will be levied for cancellations made 4 or more weeks prior to the first day of the course. Thereafter, the following cancellation refund schedule will apply.

  • Cancellation made more than 3 weeks prior to the first day of the short course: 70% of the registration fee is reimbursed.
  • Cancellation made more than 2 weeks prior to the first day of the short course: 50% of the registration fee is reimbursed.
  • Cancellation made less than 2 weeks prior to the first day of the short course: no reimbursement of registration fees.

Edumine reserves the right to cancel an advertised course on short notice. It will endeavour to provide participants with as much notice as possible, but will not accept liability for costs incurred by participants or their organisations as a result of the course being cancelled or postponed. If a course is cancelled, fees will be refunded in full. Edumine also reserves the right to postpone or make such alterations to the content of a course as may be necessary.