Mining Applications of MSE Walls

Presentations were made during a workshop session co-sponsored by TC218- Reinforced Fill Structures (Mechanically Stabilized Earth and Reinforced Soil Slopes) at the 19th ICSMGE Conference held in Seoul, Korea on September 20, 2017.  Since this was a paperless session, presenters were asked to prepare 1 page briefings on their subject areas.  The briefing provided in this article comes from Gary Power of The Reinforced Earth Company, Australia.

19th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, Seoul

Technical Committee 211-218 Workshop

20th September 2017

Presentation #2:               Mining Applications of Mechanically Stabilised Earth (MSE) Walls

Speaker:                              Gary POWER, The Reinforced Earth Company, Australia. [email protected]


The aim of the presentation was to describe the wide range of applications where MSE Walls are utilised in the provision of civil engineering infrastructure for the mining industry.

The speaker first answered the question of “why MSE walls?” by describing the key attributes of the composite, gravity retaining wall structures created by combining selected soil with tensile reinforcing elements and a suitable protective facing against the elements:

  • Strength to construct very high walls with exceptional capacity to support static and dynamic loads
  • Flexibility to accommodate differential settlements associated with poor foundations
  • Resilience to absorb vibrations from heavy rail, explosions and seismic events
  • Functionality offered by the range of steel and polymeric soil reinforcements and the alternative facings available
  • Cost-effectiveness of the wall construction materials, site-won soil and construction time

The speaker then presented numerous MSE wall applications in use throughout the supply chain of delivering ore, minerals and liquids to the industrial manufacturers and processors, vis, accessing, extracting, transporting, processing, storing, containing, exporting and upgrading. 

Applications included:

  • Bridge abutments, overpasses and underpasses for conveyors, roadways, railways, heavy equipment and natural obstacles
  • Vertical walls, ramps and steepened slopes for haul roads, highways and railways
  • Crusher walls of various heights to suit primary, secondary and tertiary crushing equipment required for various ores and minerals
  • MSE walls for supporting ore stockpiles, specialised processing and storage tanks
  • Reclaim tunnels, portals and drifts
  • Bulk storage of ore, minerals and liquids
  • Containment and storage of water, oil, LNG, slurries and waste
  • Protective and risk mitigation structures

The speaker concluded by stressing the importance that mine owners, specifiers and operators consider fit for purpose construction materials and whole of life costs in the selection of MSE walls for their application.   Economic mine life is often extended beyond that initially imagined and truck and rail payloads are always increasing.