The Mechanism, Optimization And Effects Of Preconditioning

Toper, A. Z.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
This is a sampling of the papers presented at the conference, the proceedings can be bought from the SAIMM An extensive research programme to address the issue of rockburst control has been undertaken over a number of years. This paper discusses the development of preconditioning techniques to control face bursts, for safer mining in seismically hazardous areas. Preconditioning involves regularly setting off carefully tailored blasts in the fractured rock immediately ahead of a mining face, so as to encourage slip on pre-existing fractures, in order not to allow the accumulation of high strain energy density in the rock mass. Two different preconditioning techniques have been developed, namely face-perpendicular preconditioning and face-parallel preconditioning. Both have prevented face bursting in areas to which they have been applied, even though several large seismic events have occurred close to the faces in some areas. In addition, minimal overall damage was observed in the preconditioned panels following these events, compared to similarly exposed unpreconditioned panels. Preconditioning has also provided some protection to the face area from distant events, through the capacity of the preconditioned ground to absorb energy. An improvement in hangingwall stability and productivity has also been noted in preconditioned areas. In order to determine the optimum blast parameters for achieving the most effective preconditioning, an extensive optimization study was carried out for the face-perpendicular preconditioning technique. While optimum values for parameters such as hole length, diameter and spacing were determined, it was ultimately concluded that the differences in results obtained by varying the preconditioning parameters were less significant than the clear positive differences observed when comparing preconditioned areas with non-preconditioned areas.
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