Rock engineering relates to the design, construction and operation of facilities that have rock excavations as a fundamental part. These excavations can be on surface or underground, and can be part of civil or mining engineering ventures. Designing safe and stable excavations in rock masses requires a detailed knowledge of the structural controls within the rock mass as well as an evaluation of the stresses that may be applied to the boundaries of the excavation over its active life.

Fundamental to a good understanding of rock engineering issues is a clear picture of the engineering geology of the rock mass. The “engineering materials” that we have to deal with are the various rock masses within the project area, including the different rock types as well as the natural and induced fractures or breaks in the rock material. The behaviour of the ground is determined by a combination of rock mechanics principles and the inherent nature of the rock mass. Rock engineering is therefore part of the continuum from geology to engineering.

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