Since the commencement of mining at the Himmetoglu coal mine, northwest Turkey, serious stability problems have led to interruptions in mining and some environmental effects. A geotechnical investigation was initiated in 1997 and the significant factors that influence the stability have been defined. This paper outlines the results of the field and laboratory studies associated with the causes and mechanism of the slope instabilities and their environmental impacts. The possible remedial measures to improve the stability and to minimize the environmental problems are also described. Back-analyses and data from long-term monitoring indicate that the failures occur along two or three planar surfaces by combination of faults and localized strata steepening adjacent to the faults. The stability is sensitive to changes in length of the lower part of the basal sliding surface and shear strength of the bedding surfaces in the overburden. Suitable remedial measures include slope flattening (i.e. staged bench stripping), proper drainage and spreading of a rock blanket on the pit floor to increase spoil pile stability.