Blasting and preconditioning modelling in underground cave mines under high stress conditions
Cave mining is an underground mass mining technique. The largest projects, which are known as 'super caves', produce hundreds of thousands of tons of ore per day, which involves large footprints with considerable column height, and have a life of mine of over 20-40 years. These operations are typically located deep, under high stresses and in competent rock masses, making initiation and propagation of the caving process harder to manage. These challenges must be confronted by optimizing the fragmentation of the orebody to achieve smaller size blocks that will result in consistent caving and improved flow of the ore from the drawpoints. To achieve better performance from the drawpoints, preconditioning is applied to fragment and damage the material required to cave. We present a proposed design for preconditioning in underground mines, considering the challenges that these large-scale mines are already facing, based on a comprehensive analysis of current design parameters, case studies, and sensitivity analyses using numerical models.
Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2021, vol. 121(2): 71–80.
Fragmentation, Preconditioning, Caving, Blasting, Structures, Stresses, Explosives