Stoping Systems And Technology - Introduction
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 1999
The purpose of this paper is to explore the application of technology to stoping systems. Technology, because for the past 100 years the South African narrow reef mining industry has battled to control working costs in a labour-intensive industry. Stoping systems, because it is the stoping method and methodology which is at the heart of the mining system. Introduce a more efficient stoping system and the mining system will look after itself. The technology applied to stoping over the past 100 years can be categorized as follows: ?The introduction of pneumatic rockdrills early this century, the cumbersome rig mounted units being replaced by smaller, lighter hand-held units which were then made easier to use with the addition of an air leg ?Scraper winches to replace gravity and shovels to move rock both in the face and the gullies were first introduced in the late 1920s ?Hydraulic props as a support method arrived in the1960s ?Some people argue that tungsten carbide inserts were equally important. There have been a number of attempts to introduce different technologies into stoping, the most recent being trackless equipment. Where the stoping layout suits the technology it has been successful. There have been too many instances where a technology has been installed because it is fashionable. At the end of the day the outcome from change in the stoping systems has to be safer and more profitable mining systems. It is the contention of the author that change is only likely to be effective if it is supported by the introduction and application of appropriate technology.