Geomechanics Challenges and its Future Direction – Food for Thought
AbstractGeomechanics has proven to be the backbone of safe and cost effective mining practice. However, experience shows it still does not have the appreciation of most mine managements until there is a fatality or costly ore sterilization. The problem can be traced back to the training of mining engineers. The subject is also picked up later in life by other professionals with limited background in geology. The consequences of these limitations are lack of fundamental knowledge in the subject by some who practice it. This lack of understanding has affected the growth and maturity of the subject of rock mechanics, a key component of geomechanics. Today, we are beginning to understand that failure criteria that were inherited from soil mechanics for appli-cation to rock are wrong and misleading. Despite these problems, some major achievements have been made towards a better understanding of rock behavior under load. Many more challenges still lie ahead. This paper takes a look at the history of rock mechanics, and therefore geomechanics, its development, required training, present status and what lies ahead in the future. The goal is to provide educators, industry and practicing engineers what it takes to be a good rock engineer and the real benefits of the subject for the good of society.
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