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Underground Mining Methods

by Dr. Arcady Dyskin

&

Mr. Paul Duplancic

A.V. Dyskin, UWA

Learning objectives

Classification of mining methods Basic mining methods within the classification Basic principles of selection of the mining method

A.V. Dyskin, UWA

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Underground Mining Methods Schematic layout of an idealised underground mine (Brady & Brown, 1993). A.V.
Underground
Mining
Methods
Schematic layout
of an idealised
underground
mine (Brady &
Brown, 1993).
A.V. Dyskin, UWA
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Mining Terminology

Deposit and Spatial Terms Excavation Terms

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Deposit and Spatial Terms

 

Back: roof, top or overlying surface of an underground excavation.

 

Country rock: waste material adjacent to a mineral deposit; also host rock.

Crown pillar: portion of the deposit overlying an excavation and left in place as a pillar

Footwall wall: rock under the deposit

 

Hanging wall: wall rock above a deposit

Pillar: unmined

ortion of the de osit that

rovides su

ort

p to the roof or hanging wall.

p

p

pp

Rib: Side wall of an excavation; also rib pillar

Sill pillar: portion of the deposit underlying an excavation and left in place as a pillar

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Excavation Terms

Adit: Main horizontal or near-horizontal underground opening, with single access to surface

Decline: Inclined opening driven downward to connect levels; also declined shaft and ramp

Drawpoint: Loading point beneath a stope, utilizing gravity to move bulk material downward and into a conveyance, by a chute or LHD (Load-Haul- Dump vehicle)

Drift: Horizontal or near horizontal opening; also drive, entry

Incline: Inclined opening driven upward to connect levels

Level: System of horizontal openings connected to a shaft; comprises an operating horizon of a mine

Orepass: Vertical or near-vertical opening through which bulk material flows by gravity

Portal: Opening or connection to the surface from an underground excavation

Raise: Vertical or near-vertical opening driven upward from one level to another

A.V. Dyskin, UWA

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Excavation Terms (Cont)

Room: Horizontal exploitation opening, usually in a bedded deposit

Shaft: Primary vertical or near-vertical opening connecting the surface with underground workings

Slot: Narrow vertical or inclined opening excavated in a deposit at the end of a stope to provide a bench face

Stope: Large exploitation opening, usually inclined or vertical

Sublevel: secondary or intermediate level between main levels or horizons

Transfer point: Location in the materials-handling system, either haulage or hoisting, where bulk material is transferred between conveyances

Tunnel: Main horizontal or near-horizontal opening, with access to the surface at both ends

Undercut: Low horizontal opening excavated under a portion of a deposit, usually a stope, to induce breakage and caving of the deposit

Winze: Vertical or near vertical opening driven downward from one level to another

A.V. Dyskin, UWA

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A more insightful representation A.V. Dyskin, UWA Slide 8
A more insightful
representation
A.V. Dyskin, UWA
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I. Naturally Supported Methods

A mining method based on natural support seeks to control the rock mass displacements through the zone of influence of mining, while mining proceeds. This implies maintenance of the local stability of the rock around individual excavations and more general control of displacements in the near-field domain (Brady & Brown

1993).

A.V. Dyskin, UWA

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Room and Pillar Mining (Bord and Pillar mining in the coal industry) A.V. Dyskin, UWA
Room and
Pillar
Mining
(Bord and Pillar mining
in the coal industry)
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Room and Pillar Mining (2) A.V. Dyskin, UWA Slide 11 Conditions  Ore strength: weak
Room and
Pillar
Mining (2)
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Conditions
 Ore strength: weak to moderate
 Host rock strength: moderate to strong
 Deposit shape: tabular
 Deposit dip: low (<15 degrees), preferably
flat
 Deposit size: large extent – not thick
 Ore grade: moderate
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Features

Generally low recovery of resource as pillars need to be left (40-

60%)

Moderately high production rate

Recovery can be improved with pillar extraction (60-80%) but caving and subsidence will occur

Suitable for total mechanisation, not labour intensive

High capital cost associated with mechanisation

Versatile for variety of roof conditions

Applications

Bord and pillar – Coal mining region of Ipswich, Queensland

Room and pillar mining – MacArther River – North Queensland

Variation: Stope and pillar mining

A.V. Dyskin, UWA

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Sublevel Stoping A.V. Dyskin, UWA Slide 14
Sublevel
Stoping
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Sublevel Stoping (2) A.V. Dyskin, UWA Slide 15 Conditions  Ore strength: moderate to strong

Sublevel Stoping (2)

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Conditions

Ore strength: moderate to strong

Host rock strength: strong

Deposit shape: tabular or lenticular, regular dip and defined boundaries

Deposit dip: steep (>45-50 degrees, preferably 60-90 degrees)

Deposit size: 6-30m wide, fairly large extent

Ore grade: moderate

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Features

Moderate to high production rate

Not labour intensive – can be mechanised

Low breakage and handling cost

Inflexible and non-selective (Recovery ~70%, dilution ~ 20%)

High development costs

Limited exposure to unsafe working conditions

Applications

Mt Isa Mines, Queensland

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II. Artificially Supported Excavations

Two main ground control measures are used to control local stope wall behaviour and mine near-field displacements:

Support is provided through devices such as rock-bolts, cable-bolts or grouted tendons.

Support is provided through an artificial support medium known as backfill.

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Cut-and-Fill Stoping

Cut-and-Fill Stoping A.V. Dyskin, UWA Slide 19 Conditions  Ore strength: moderate to strong  Host

A.V. Dyskin, UWA

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Conditions

Ore strength: moderate to strong

Host rock strength: weak to fairly weak

Deposit shape: tabular, can be irregular, discontinuous

Deposit dip: steep(>45-50 degrees) can accommodate flatter deposits

Deposit size: 2-30m wide, fairly large extent

Ore grade: fairly high

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Features

Low development cost

High mining cost, due to backfilling operations

Permits good selectivity, is versatile, flexible and adaptable

Backfilling can disrupt mining operation

Labour intensive

Applications

Mt Isa Mines, Queensland

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Shrinkage Stoping A.V. Dyskin, UWA Slide 22
Shrinkage
Stoping
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Conditions

Ore strength: strong (other characteristics important – should not pack, oxidise or spontaneously combust)

Host rock strength: strong to fairly strong

Deposit shape: tabular or lenticular, defined boundaries

Deposit dip: steep(>50 degrees or angle of repose)

Deposit size: 1-30m wide – fairly large extent

Ore grade: fairly high

 

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Features

Suited to smaller scale operations –moderately low production

Labour intensive, dangerous work conditions

Low capital investment

 

Moderately selective

Majority of ore tied up in the stope

Ore subject to oxidation, packing and spontaneous combustion in stope

Applications

 

Limited modern use – was used at Broken Hill

Variations: Vertical Crater Retreat

 

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III. Unsupported Mining Methods

Longwall and caving mining methods are distinguished from other mining methods by the fact that that near-field rock undergoes large displacements so that mined voids become self filling. In caving methods the far-field rock may also undergo large displacements (Brady & Brown, 1993).

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Longwall Mining (1) A.V. Dyskin, UWA Slide 26
Longwall
Mining (1)
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Longwall Mining (2)

Lon g wall Mining (2) A.V. Dyskin, UWA Slide 27 Longwall Mining (3) A.V. Dyskin, UWA

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Longwall Mining (3)

Lon g wall Mining (2) A.V. Dyskin, UWA Slide 27 Longwall Mining (3) A.V. Dyskin, UWA

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Conditions

Ore strength: any, preferably weak and can be cut by continuous miner

Host rock strength: weak to moderate strength, must break and cave, floor must be non plastic

Deposit shape: tabular

Deposit dip: low (<12 degrees)

Deposit size: large extent, thin bedded and of uniform thickness

Ore grade: moderate and uniform

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Features

Extremely high productivity, low labour requirements

Low mining cost, high capital cost

Highly mechanised

Method inflexible and rigid in layout and execution, no selectivity

Surface subsidence will occur

Applications

Used in both coal and hardrock mines

Coal - Gordonstone, Oakey Creek and German Creek, Bowen Basin Central Queensland.

Metaliferous – most deep level gold mines.

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Sublevel Caving A.V. Dyskin, UWA Slide 31
Sublevel
Caving
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Conditions

Ore strength: moderate to fairly strong, should competent to stand without support

Host rock strength: weak to strong, should be cavable.

Deposit shape: tabular or massive

Deposit dip: steep(>60 degrees), can be flat if the deposit is fairly thick.

Deposit size: large, extensive vertically

Ore grade: moderate

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Features

High production rate, large scale method

 

High recovery, high dilution

Suitable for full mechanization

Caving and subsidence occurs

Draw control important

High development costs

Some selectivity and flexibility

Applications

Kiirunavaara iron ore mine, Kiruna, Sweden

Variations: Top slicing

 

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Block Caving A.V. Dyskin, UWA Slide 34
Block
Caving
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Conditions

Ore strength: weak to strong, must be fractured or jointed and cave freely

Host rock strength: weak-moderate, similar to ore in characteristics

Deposit shape: massive or thick tabular, fairly regular

Deposit dip: steep(>60 degrees or vertical)

Deposit size: very large

Ore grade: low, uniform

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Features

High productivity, low mining cost (comparable to open pit mining)

Large scale method, high production rates

 

High recovery and potentially high dilution

Rock breakage by caving – no blasting costs

Large scale caving and subsidence, wholesale damage to surface

Good draw control essential

 

Slow, extensive and costly development

Highly mechanised

Inflexible

Applications

Northparkes mine, Central NSW, El teniete, Chile

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Conclusions

Selection of a suitable mining method for a deposit is a function of

orebody geometry

size

geomechanical setting

orebody value and spatial distribution

engineering environment

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