I have a project at a south american coal mine where the goal is to mine as closely as possible to a nearby rail line to maximize coal reserves. We're dealing with about 80 ft of overburden in the area. My initial thoughts are that conventional slope stability analyses (method of slices or FEM) would be very limited in their effectiveness at analyzing such a case because of the sensitivity of the rail line (ie the factor of safety or probability of failure approach to slope design does not help to anticipate 2cm displacements which could disrupt a rail line). Does anyone have any thoughts or related experience on how to analyze and design slopes in this situation? Does anyone know of any guidelines that may be helpful?
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