Cave mining - 16 years after Laubscher's 1994 paper 'Cave mining - state of the art'

Chitombo, G. P. (2010). Cave mining - 16 years after Laubscher's 1994 paper 'Cave mining - state of the art'. In: Yves Potvin, Caving 2010: Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on Block and Sublevel Caving. Caving 2010: Second International Symposium on Block and Sublevel Caving, Perth, WA, Australia, (45-61). 20-22 April, 2010.

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Chitombo, G. P.
Title of paper Cave mining - 16 years after Laubscher's 1994 paper 'Cave mining - state of the art'
Conference name Caving 2010: Second International Symposium on Block and Sublevel Caving
Conference location Perth, WA, Australia
Conference dates 20-22 April, 2010
Proceedings title Caving 2010: Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on Block and Sublevel Caving
Place of Publication Nedlands, WA, Australia
Publisher Australian Centre for Geomechanics
Publication Year 2010
Sub-type Fully published paper
Open Access Status
ISBN 9780980615418
Editor Yves Potvin
Start page 45
End page 61
Total pages 17
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
This paper supplements a keynote address prepared for the 2010 Second International Symposium on Block and Sublevel Caving. The author gauges the cave mining industry's position (practice and theory) since the publication of what he considers a seminal paper on 'Cave mining – state of the art', hence '16 years after'. For clarity, this paper is not meant to be a critique or an endorsement of the cave mining design rules as presented by Laubscher's 1994 paper, as well as an endorsement of a selection of emerging and noteworthy cave mining design and optimisation approaches. The latter methodologies are expected to gain significance as cave mining enters into a new phase of large scale operations at greater depths which the author and others describe as super caves. In this next era of cave mining, improved knowledge and incorporation of the governing physics and fundamentals of the associated caving process or phenomena will become even more important for cave design and performance prediction and, therefore, reliability.

The paper starts by providing a snap shot of contemporary caving designs (and practices), highlighting achievements made by the cave mining industry since the introduction of mechanised caving in primary ores. It concludes by listing the developments made in the last 16 years as well as the current and future challenges. The author concludes that contemporary designs and the number of design rules in Laubscher, while still remaining in use, may be reaching their limit when applied to large scale operations or super caves and they need to be supplemented by a number of the emerging techniques. The attributes which make super caves unique are presented. The opportunity is to continually improve and to test these emerging methods.

Finally, it should be noted that the paper is written from the author's perspective as a mining research engineer and more recently (from 1997 to current) as the technical director of two international industry collaborative projects; the International Caving Study (ICS) and the Mass Mining Technology (MMT) projects. These projects focus on improving the understanding of the underpinning fundamentals associated with the caving of strong rock masses or primary rock (i.e. rock mass characterisation, caving mechanics including seismicity, preconditioning, gravity and disturbed flow, primary and secondary fragmentation and confined blasting), mainly at moderate depths and stress environments. The original intent of the ICS was to critique, improve and/or supplement a number of the design rules as presented in the Laubscher seminal paper, given the move towards caving of strong rocks or primary rocks. The MMT then put more emphasis on the study of caving fundamentals.
Subjects 1909 Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
1907 Geology
Keyword Block caving
Panel caving
Mass mining
Block heights
Cavability
Fragmentation
Gravity flow
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Sustainable Minerals Institute Publications
 
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Created: Wed, 06 Aug 2014, 14:43:57 EST by Jon Swabey on behalf of Sustainable Minerals Institute