Underground Geomechanics at Porgera Mine, Papua New Guinea

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1991
Mt Waruwari, host to the Porgera underground gold mine in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG), is a prominent ridge of sediments and dioritic intrusives rising approximately 600m above the surrounding valley floor. Consequently, mining occurs in a low stress environment where structural and material considerations are foremost in the design of ground support and reinforcement. Three major rock types are encountered in the underground mine. These are locally referred to as "black sediments" (slightly indurated mudstones and clayey siltstones), "altered sediments" (derived from black sediments by thermal metamorphism), and "intrusives" of dioritic composition. The rocks are moderately to highly fractured, the black sediments being generally weak and occasionally sheared while the altered sediments and intrusives are quite strong but often brittle. Mining takes place from a series of stopes extracted by either slot and mass blast or a modified vertical crater retreat method (VCR), which are backfilled with a cemented rock fill. Ground support and reinforcement has been relatively conserv- ative to date and generally relies on pattern reinforcement of all development with cement grouted "rebar" bolts and mesh, extending to pattern cable bolting with occasional mesh in stope backs. In addition there has been considerable reinforcement of stope hangingwalls in some cases. A programme of broad scale structural mapping, monitoring with extensometers, material property testing, and stress analysis has been devised to allow optimum design of ground support and reinforcement in the future. Considerable work remains to ,omplete this task.
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