Dear clients,

We are pleased to publish the 2nd quarter 2019 edition of the European Itasca newsletter, including two interesting articles from our offices about mining projects they have been working on.

The first consulting project carried out by Itasca Germany is on the development of resources via shaft sinking using the ground freezing method. The second contribution, from Itasca Spain, deals with the stability of a crown pillar recovery in a gold mine.

We trust to have compiled interesting information for you. We wish you a pleasant reading experience and look forward to receiving your feedback on this 2nd Quarter 2019 newsletter.

The European Itasca team


Development of resources via shaft sinking using the ground freezing method - Itasca Consultants GmbH (Germany)

Itasca Consultants GmbH is currently involved in planning the development of resources via shaft sinking using the ground freezing method. In the project, three shafts at different locations are investigated.
The task of Itasca Consultants GmbH is not only the simulation of the frost wall development to find the point in time at which the frost wall is stable enough to start sinking, but also to estimate the displacements that can be expected at the contour of the shaft wall and at the freezing pipes. With numerous FLAC3D models, based on the available geological information, an optimal ratio between number of freezing pipes and brine temperature is evaluated to provide the best solution for the customer. Additionally, the energy required for the ground freezing is estimated to evaluate the number of freezing machines needed. Within the models, the lithological layers are represented in order to reflect the thermal and mechanical properties of the material in the underground.
Figure 1 shows an example of a 3D model where the freezing pipes and the freezing process are well visible.

Figure 1 : Example of the 3D ground freezing model with three lithological layers with different thermal capacities


Stability of a crown pillar recovery in a gold mine - Itasca Consultores SL (Spain)

The crown pillar was left between the open-pit and the underground mine, and the current mine operator planned its exploitation by means of two vertical rooms that outcrop at the bottom of the pit.

The excavation of these rooms could potentially affect the stability of the ground at the bottom and at the pit slopes, and a 3DEC model was built to analyze that. The model explicitly includes the discontinuities of the joint sets present in the rockmass (Figure 1), and the elastic-plastic parameters of the rockmass categorized by the Disturbance Factor parameter (Figure 2).

1 2
Figure 1 : 3DEC model
Figure 2 : Categorization of Disturbance Factor parameter

After a number of stability calculations it seemed clear that the potentially unstable zone would be very close to the walls of the rooms (Figure 3), and that a global instability would be very unlikely. The exploitation was finally carried out by the mine operator with success (Figure 4)

3 4
Figure 3: Location of potentially unstable zones
Figure 4 : Final exploitation of the rooms



  • Next Itasca International Symposium (17-21 Feb. 2020)

We want to thank all the authors for submitting their extended abstracts to our next Itasca Symposium. Registrations will be open in a couple of weeks on our website:

A specific discount is granted to students. So don't wait to register!


  • 1st Itasca Webinar on our code applications

We hope you appreciated our first « 3DEC webinar on Bonded Block Modeling ». If you have missed our live session, Please contact us and we will send you the link to watch the video.



Current Updates:







puceTraining & Seminars

Itasca will host introductory training courses in Europe:

FLAC3D 7.0 training course Ecully, France October 1-3, 2019 Itasca France

Please visit for full details or contact directly the office responsible for the training.

For users who envisage the need for substantial amounts of assistance, consulting support or customized training course are available.
Feel free to contact us if you have specific needs: we adapt our offer to your needs.


Itasca and/or representatives will be attending the following conferences:

Ground Support 2019 October 23-25, 2019 Sudbury, Canada
8th Clay Conference June 8-11, 2020 Nancy, France
JNGG 2020 June 30 - July 2, 2020 Lyon, France
16th IACMAG Torino 2020 July 1-4, 2020 Torino, Italy
AFTES 2020 September 21-23, 2020 Paris, France

puceRecent Publications

Billaux, D., Ghazal, R., Soulat,P., Bonnet, S., Le Floch, M.: "Numerical modeling of Moreau dam stability in dynamic conditions", Colloque CFBR : « Justification des barrages : Etat de l’art et Perspectives», Chambéry, November 2019,

N. Savalle, E. Vincens and F. Dedecker: « DEM modelling of dry stone retaining walls », in Congress on Numerical Methods in Engineering 2019

Al-Halbouni, D., Holohan, E. P., Taheri, A., Watson, R. A., Polom, U., Schöpfer, M. P. J., Emam, S., and Dahm, T.: "Distinct Element geomechanical modelling of the formation of sinkhole cluster within large-scale karstic depressions", Solid Earth Discuss.,, in review, 2019.

D.H. Andersen, F. Dedecker, S. Emam, M. Walderhaug: "A Study of Elastic and Crack Resistance Properties of the Anode Carbon Material", Light Metals 2019, Springer International Publishing.

J. Molron, N. Linde, L. Baron, D. Doolaeghe, J. Ragvald, P. Andersson, J-O. Selroos, T. Le Borgne, C. Darcel, and P. Davy :"Identification of 3D fracture distribution and fracture connectivity by combined Ground Penetrating Radar imagery and tracer tests at the Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory, Sweden". Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 21, EGU2019.

Follow Itasca:

Linkedin Youtube Twitter google


If you do not wish to receive this newsletter, please click here to unsubscribe.

Itasca Consultants S.A.S
64 Chemin des mouilles
FR-69134 Ecully Cedex

© 2019 Itasca Consultants S.A.S.