block caving geomechanics by Edwin Thomas Brown

By Edwin Thomas Brown

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These values are used in caveability studies, empirical methods of stability assessment and in estimating rock mass strengths using methods such as those developed by Laubscher (1977, 1994) and Hoek and Brown (1980, 1997); and • measurements or estimates of the regional and mine site in situ stresses. The stresses induced around mining excavations have major influences on excavation stability and, importantly in the current context, on cave propagation (Kendrick 1970, Krstulovic 1979, van As and Jeffrey 2000).

10: Schematic representation of levels, El Teniente Mine (Kvapil et al 1989) A major factor influencing the mining of the El Teniente orebody, particularly at increasing depth in the primary ore, has been the existence of extremely high lateral in situ stresses associated with the nearby subduction zone in which the Pacific plate is thrust under the edge of 17 Chapter 1: Introduction the South American plate. Rock bursts were first experienced on the Teniente 4 level in 1976 (Alvial 1992) and have been a continuing problem since mechanised mining began in the stronger and stiffer primary ore.

They are notoriously difficult to measure. Furthermore, they may vary through the life of a cave. For example, as the height of the cave and of the column of broken ore increases, the induced stresses in the cave back may change, as may the structure and rock mass strength of the orebody. 1: Estimated caving rates Operation Estimated Caving Rate (mm per day) CODELCO El Teniente Sub 6 panel cave 200 to 300 CODELCO Esmeralda panel cave 170 to 200 De Beers Koffiefontein (TKB Kimberlite) 200 to 400 De Beers Premier Mine (TKB Kimberlite) 100 to 1200 De Beers Premier Mine (HYB Kimberlite) 60 to 250 Henderson Mine 270 Northparkes E26 Lift 1 block cave 110 to 380 (pre inducement) Under steady-state production conditions, the average rate of draw will be a function of the rate of natural caving and the bulking factor of the caved ore.

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