Ultra-Deep Mining: The Increased Potential For Squeezing Conditions
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 1998
This study reviews the concept of squeezing (large time-dependent deformation) in rock and investigates the possibility of this phenomenon becoming more pronounced in the planned ultra-deep mines of the South African gold mining industry. Although squeezing behaviour is not commonly found at the current depths of the gold mining industry, it is observed at Hartebeestfontein Mine due to a combination of weak rock and high stresses. Calculations based on the average strength of the Witwatersrand quartzites and the competency factor used to identify squeezing conditions in civil engineering tunnels, indicate that there is an increased risk of squeezing behaviour in ultra-deep mines. This will adversely affect the profitability of these mines and highlights the need for further research into the time-dependent behaviour of rock. Finally, the current support strategies in squeezing conditions are reviewed.