Remediation of a schist wall for a remote open pit mine. Due to the high-risk nature of the work environment of an active open pit mine site, a highly specialized rock stabilization provider was sought to ensure the expedited return to mine plan while maintaining the utmost safety standards.

Work Site

  • winter in far northern Canada
  • minus 40o celsius temperatures
  • 90o open pit mine faces
Ekati diamond mine_1


After a significant wall failure; an initial remediation plan was developed to perform rock stability, scaling and installation of bolted mesh barriers along the walls approximately 60m above the mine pit floor.

An initial terrain assessment was completed in order to understand the terrain, scope, and unique requirements for this project. GRA worked with facility Project Managers to develop a cohesive project plan to remediate the pit walls, along with an access, safety and rescue program for the project.


As the worksite was 100km south of the Arctic Circle, weather throughout the winter months at the job site was a significant issue. Workers and equipment were specially prepared to perform work without interruption due to weather as long as feasible/safe.

Equipment and teams were mobilized to site, including logistics of transporting Bencher and DTH drill equipment from British Columbia through the NWT.  Access and rescue systems were then installed. Check scaling was completed prior to implementing drilling procedures, followed by bolt/mesh installation as required by the project plan.

Drilling equipment running on diesel compressor and pneumatic drill platforms faced considerable threat of condensation freezing, which was managed by specialized modification to perform in the extreme cold.

A modern, highly trained and experienced team was brought in to provide highest level of safety and efficiency, alongside unique problem solving abilities to manage the challenging extreme work environment. Modern twin rope access techniques were used to ensure safety standard was achieved throughout the project.

A Marini down the hole drill was utilized as a specialized piece of equipment which allowed for deep hole stability required for the project. Specialized, site specific modifications were implemented to ensure the equipment was available to use without interruption.


Through GRA’s successful performance in remediating the highwall, the mine was able to return to full production in the shortest time possible.