GEOL338-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023

Engineering and Mining Geology

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 July 2023
End Date: Sunday, 12 November 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 30 July 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 1 October 2023


Principles and practices of geology associated with engineering and mining activities.

This course is a final year course aimed at synthesizing geological knowledge and skills for applications to civil and mining engineering. Engineering Geology is a discipline concerned with site and foundation conditions, geological and geotechnical hazards affecting a particular development, and availability of construction materials. Civil site investigation practice involves evaluation using invasive techniques (drilling; trenching; etc) and requires careful consideration of the landscape, geological history and geological materials present. Mining Geology is concerned with all aspects of the mine life cycle, with geological input into exploration and resource estimation, mine design, processing, waste and decommissioning. All of these aspects are highly depended on the ore type, geological setting and geological materials present.

GEOL338 develops the basics of site investigation practice and extends into developing engineering geology models for surface and underground projects in civil and mining engineering applications. It then focuses on interpretation of geological data for applications to mine life stages through the development of geological models. Students completing the course will develop skills and knowledge of principles and practices in both engineering and mining geology. Students will also develop professional communication skills through group work and technical writing.

Learning Outcomes

Goal of the Course

The overall goal of the course is for students to develop some of the fundamental skills required for working in two applied streams of geology: engineering geology and mining geology. The first half of the course will focus on the application of geological techniques to engineering projects. The second half of the course will focus on mining life cycle from investigation and model building and how they affect the mine design, to ore processing, waste and mine decommissioning.

Learning Outcomes

-Students successfully completing this course will be able to:

-Describe the engineering properties of rocks and soils using geological mapping and description, and engineering geology site investigation techniques.

-Create engineering geology models for civil engineering applications

-Work effectively in a team to build an engineering geology model in rock and soil to inform engineering project decisions.

-Communicate the engineering and societal impacts of changes in the engineering geology characteristics of an engineering project over its design life.

-Analyse exploration geology data to assess ore reserves.

-Select appropriate mine design, ore processing, mine waste and decommissioning solutions given different ore types and reserves.

The topics coved by this course are:
Effective group work and technical writing
Engineering geology description, properties and behaviour of earth materials
Site investigation philosophy and techniques for civil and mining engineering projects
Development of engineering models using field and laboratory data
Surface and underground design and construction considerations through case studies
Mine life cycle and the application of geological assessment techniques to each stage
Mine design principles and related geotechnical/environmental issues
Ore processing, waste management and mine decommissioning

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Employable, innovative and enterprising

Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

Engaged with the community

Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.

Globally aware

Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Timetable Note

Week 1: Overview of engineering geology and descriptive terminology
Week 2: Engineering Materials, Rock and Soil Properties
Lab 1 &2: Engineering geomorphology of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

Week 3: Site Investigation philosophy
Week 4: Subsurface drilling and intact rock properties
Lab 3: Field trip to Groynes Park
Lab 4: Site investigation write-up

Week 5: Christchurch Eathquake Sequence
Week 6: Engineering Geology Case Studies
Lab 5: Field trip to Halswell Quarry
Lab 6: Core logging and site investigation write-up

Week 7: Introduction to Mining
Week 8: Quarrying “Soft-Rock” and Case Studies
Lab 7: Rock Mechanics Laboratory – Strength Testing
Lab 8: Site Investigation and laboratory write-up

Week 9: Open-Pit Mining in Hard Rock
Week 10: Mine Hydrogeology and Tailings Dams
Week 11: Acid Mine Drainage
Week 12: Underground Mining
Lab 9 to Lab 11: Broken River Bridge – Highway Realignment Exercise

Course Coordinator

David Bell


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Engineering Geomorphology - Hawke's Bay 28 Jul 2023 10%
Soil Properties & Bearing Capacity - Groynes Park 18 Aug 2023 15%
Rock Properties and Strength Testing - Halswell Quarry 22 Sep 2023 25%
Broken River Bridget - Highway Realignment Site Investigation 13 Oct 2023 20%
Final examination 30% Final examination

 Laboratory topics worth 10% or 20% of the final mark for GEOL 338 (= 60% in total).
 Final 2-hour examination (date to be advised) is worth 40% of final mark for GEOL 338.

Textbooks / Resources

Required textbook(s):
González de Vallejo, Luis I & Ferrer, M. 2011, Geological engineering, CRC Press/Balkema, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Recommended textbook(s):
Hencher, A. (2012) Practical Engineering Geology.
Bell, F G (2007) Engineering Geology 2nd edition, Butterworth-Heinemann, 581 p.
Goodman, R.E. (1993) Engineering geology: rock in engineering construction, J. Wiley, 412 p.
Hartley, J S (1994) Drilling: Tools and Programme Management 1st edition, John S Hartley & Associates, 150 p.
Johnson, R B; De Graff, J V (1988) Principles of Engineering Geology 1st edition, John Wiley & Sons, 497 p.
Moon, C J; Whateley, M K G; Evans, A M (2006) Introduction to Mineral Exploration, 2nd edition, Blackwell Publishing, 481 p.
Moore, T A; Black, A; Centeno, J A; Harding, J S; Trumm, D A (2005) Metal Contaminants in New Zealand, 1st edition, ResolutionzPress, 490 p.
Smith, M R, (Ed) (1999) Stone: building stone, rock fill and armourstone in construction, Geological Society, London, Engineering Geology Special Publication #16.
Waltham, T. (2009;2018;). Foundations of engineering geology. CRC Press.


Prerequisites: GEOL242 and GEOL246

Recommended preparation: GEOL337

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $951.00

International fee $4,750.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Earth and Environment .

All GEOL338 Occurrences

  • GEOL338-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023