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Research at UCL Australia

UCL School of Energy and Resources

Research in the School of Energy and Resources focuses on both the upstream and downstream development of energy and resources, covering a wide range of disciplines - from engineering and economics to environmental science and law. 

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Mullard Space Science Laboratory

The Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) is a world-leading research organisation delivering a broad science programme that is underpinned by a strong capability in space science instrumentation, space-domain engineering, space medicine, systems engineering and project management.

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International Energy Policy Institute

The International Energy Policy Institute (IEPI) was created to address key policy issues in the mineral, energy and resources industries through intensive and innovative research.

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2014 Annual Report

2014 Annual Report cover

Read about all departmental research in the 2014 Annual Report.

An evaluation of photogrammetry as a geotechnical risk management tool for open-pit mine studies and for the development of discrete fracture network models

James Ivory

James Ivory, B.Sc. Hons. (Geology)

Project submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MSc (Energy and Resources), UCL School of Energy and Resources, Australia.


Photogrammetry models can be a highly effective geotechnical remote sensing and risk management tool in mining operations, developing discrete fracture network (DFN) models for managers. 

Modern photogrammetry, applied as a tool for open-pit mines, holds a variety of uses from structural rock defect identification to volumetric stockpile surveys. Its competitive advantage is the result of minimal disruptions to regular mining activities, rapid data acquisition, ease of defect identification through high resolution image overlays, compliance with safety regulations and relative low cost.

The DFN approach involved the derivation of structural defect measurements from a series of photogrammetry models – a practice largely untested prior to this project. 

Mapping data and models were the result of an in-depth site study conducted at the limestone quarry at BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam mine in South Australia. Subsequent data analysis and validation supported a comprehensive assessment of photogrammetry, as well as a contribution to the efforts of the Olympic Dam project team through: DFN rock wedge slope stability analysis, a geotechnical database specific to the Andamooka Limestone and photogrammetry procedures/workflows.