Going deeper into geotechnics: An interview with Luis Rivas


Going deeper into geotechnics: An interview with Luis Rivas

This interview provides a detailed insight into the key technical skills and knowledge in our geotechnical manager’s career and his critical role in the mining industry. The interviewee shares experiences in notable projects, his approach to improving efficiency and safety in geotechnical management, and the importance of social and environmental responsibility in mining projects. Topics such as technology, automation, leadership, training and safety culture are addressed, highlighting the relevance of sustainability and the balance between mining development and the surrounding environment.

What are the main skills and technical knowledge you have acquired throughout your career in the mining industry?

I consider that as a geotechnical engineer I play an essential role in the planning, design and operation phases of the various main components of the mine. Throughout my career, I have acquired technical skills and knowledge to ensure the stability of earth structures and, above all, the safety of the people involved with them. This knowledge is concentrated in the field and laboratory geotechnical investigation programs, geotechnical analysis, monitoring and interpretation of geotechnical instrumentation, design optimization, technical inspections, risk analysis and its application, taking into account current regulations at the national and international level. international. In that sense, this combination, added to the experience in supervising the construction of mining works, has allowed me to technically manage many safe and efficient mining projects.

Could you mention some notable projects you have been involved in and what role you played in them?

I have participated in projects involving tailings deposits, leaching heaps, dumps and other main components, from participating in field work, going through the various stages of a project, to the preparation of the final technical reports. I currently lead projects at different levels of engineering, where in many of these I have participated in the preparation of technical-economic proposals, which has contributed to adequate control of the technical aspects for faithful compliance with the scope, and thus way, the projects are efficient and profitable. Likewise, several of these projects have the participation of a panel of experts and/or peer review where spaces are opened to debate technical aspects for the continuous improvement of our work. Finally, I have been involved in engineering of records (EoR) services and dam safety review.

What is your approach to improving efficiency and safety in the management of the Anddes Geotechnics area?

I can highlight the application of the following important aspects that have allowed me to properly manage the area:

• Evaluation and planning to identify restrictions and, thereby, establish action plans to fulfill the project.

• Automation and technology for the optimization of processes that allow us to obtain more efficient results and be more competitive in the market, and of course, profitable.

• Data management and analysis to add value to all the information generated in multiple projects over time.

• Technical and leadership training in order to be at the forefront of new applicable technologies, as well as in the management of work groups. In addition to this, participation in various national and international conferences is encouraged, mainly as authors in the preparation and presentation of technical articles.

• Promote participation in multidisciplinary projects to understand the global problems of a complex project.

• Optimization of designs complying with the security guidelines that good practices require.

• Risk analysis in order to foresee possible consequences and establish action plans for mitigation.

• Safety culture in active participation in different workshops and training in order to achieve an interdependent culture, that is, workers take care of each other.

• Identification of lessons learned in the different activities we develop in the area.

• Innovation and continuous improvement to remain at the top in geotechnical consulting in the region.

How do you consider the importance of social and environmental responsibility in mining projects?

The importance of social and environmental responsibility must be taken into account to guarantee that during the useful life of a mining component (planning, design and operation) it is sustainable and does not represent a risk to nearby communities and their natural environment. In this sense, designs must be aimed at ensuring that the impacts on mining processes are minimal, taking into account regulatory compliance. The population must also be involved in job opportunities. Finally, practices are sought for adequate waste management, as well as recycling and rehabilitation of impacted spaces.

Likewise, regulatory compliance must be ensured and the nearby population must also participate in the various field works as a job opportunity and mainly so that the residents understand that said works are key from the design stage. Finally, practices are sought for adequate waste management, as well as recycling and rehabilitation of impacted spaces.

Luis Rivas

Luis Rivas

Geotechnics Manager

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