In the industrial area of Albuquerque is a large oil tank sitting on foundations I designed. One of the design issues was just how much the soft silty sand beneath the footing would settle. I produced ten pages of hand-calculations to quantify the settlement.

It would all have been so much easier if I had the latest code from Rocscience. They describe Settle3D thus:

A brand new program for the calculation of vertical settlement under surface loads. You can quickly create complex soil profiles and loading conditions, and view results in three dimensions. Modeling can be staged, and time-dependent consolidation analysis can be performed including primary and secondary consolidation (creep) at user defined time intervals. Groundwater elevation can be staged and horizontal and vertical drainage conditions can be specified. Circular, rectangular or polygonal load shapes can be defined with uniform or variable load magnitudes. Loading can be staged and applied at any depth (e.g. to simulate piles or raft foundations). Excavations can be defined and loads applied within excavated areas. A special embankment designer allows you to easily define multi-stage layered embankments. The 3-dimensional stress distribution due to loading is computed using the Boussinesq method.

Keep in mind that many structures at a typical mine need to be founded so they do not experience settlement that may affect their safe operation. Not the least of these is the mine headgear or headframe. Then there are the many processing plant buildings. At the extreme, the tailings dike, the tailings impoundment, the waste rock dump, and the heap leach pad constitute large structures that may induce foundation settlement. And if provision is not made for the settlement, these large earth structures may fail.

A variation on this theme is the practice of mountaintop mining that involves placing considerable quantity of fill in valleys. At this link is a fascinating article on the geotechnical properties of such fills when used as sites for new residential development that may settle.

Back to the topic of foundation settlement analysis by computer codes. Geotec Office has the code ELPLA that is a program for analyzing raft foundations of arbitrary shape with the real subsoil model. The mathematical solution of the raft is based on the finite element method. The program can analyze different types of subsoil models, especially the three-dimensional Continuum model that considers any number of irregular layers. A good advantage of this program is the capability to handle the three analyses of flexible, elastic and rigid foundations. In addition, the mesh of the rigid and flexible foundations can be constructed to be analogous to the finite elements mesh of the elastic foundation.

GeoStru has the code LoadCap that helps you to calculate bearing capacity and settlement, liquefaction potential, and stress distribution from strip and spread footings.

Geologismiki has SteinN Pro for preliminary settlement calculations below a rectangular footing.

There are many more computer codes for foundation analysis and design listed in the Geotechnical Directory. Many of these codes are free.

Another site listing many codes for foundation design is the site of the Center for Integrating Information on Geoengineering.