Rock Mass Classification for Mine Design

Rock Mass Classification for Mine Design

Areas of Study: Geotechnics

Qualifies for CMS


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: Spokane, WA, USA Tool Tip
  • Duration: 3 days
  • CEUs: 2.4 (24 PDHs) Tool Tip

Course Summary


The purpose of this course is to provide mine staff 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.

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.

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, authored by Doug Milne.

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 ConcepciĆ³n. 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.

Who Should Attend?

The course is directed towards geologists, geotechnicians and geotechnical engineers involved in gathering geological data for surface and underground mines. The course will outline the collection of key structural and rock mass strength data required for effective rock mass classification systems. The mine geologist usually collects much 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 the geology staff the tools they need to collect geological data so that it can be used by both geologists and engineers.

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
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 break & coffee

11:00 - 12:00

Discontinuity Properties

  • Joint roughness & 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 break & coffee

15:45 - 16:15

Additional Classification Systems

  • MRMR Classification
  • GSI System

16:15 - 17:00

Classification exercises, case histories and general discussion

Day 2
Time Session
08:45 - 17:00 TBA
Day 3
Time Session
08:45 - 9:00 Breakfast/coffee

09:00 - 10:00

Analyse 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 break & coffee

11:00 - 12:00

Analyse 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 break & coffee

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

Complete and return the registration form by fax: 604 681 4166 or email: [email protected].

If you have any questions you can contact Edumine by phone at +1 604 683 2037.


The full fee for the three day program is CAD 2,100 + tax. The fee covers the lecture, a comprehensive set of course notes, access to Edumine pre-course e-learning, continental breakfast, sandwich lunches and light refreshments. The fee does not cover accommodation.

Early Bird: there is a 10% discount if you register at least 30 days before 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.

* A 10% discount is offered if you combine this course with Empirical Design Methods for Underground Mines.

* These discounts cannot be combined.


The course will be held at Red Lion River Inn Hotel, 700 N. Division, Spokane, Washington, USA. 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 Red Lion River Inn, a quiet urban hideaway nestled along the beautiful north bank of the Spokane River. Just steps from Riverfront Park and the Centennial Trail, our guests have easy access to Gonzaga University, the Convention Center, and the INB Performing Arts Center as well as Spokane's best shopping, entertainment, restaurants and the downtown business district. When making reservations make sure to ask for the "InfoMine corporate rate".
    The link to the hotel website is:

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.

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