Longwalling At Great Depth In A Geologically Disturbed Environment - The Way Forward
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 2000
TauTona Mine (the renamed Western Deep Levels East) is using a longwall mining method with stability pillars to extract the Carbon Leader Reef at a depth ranging from 2097 metres to 3456 metres below surface. Seismic activity and the complexity and hazards associated with negotiating geological features at great depth pose the most severe hazard to deep level gold mining in South Africa. It impacts negatively on safety and the profitability of the mining. The critical success factors in longwalling at depth are: ?Sound mining strategies and face shape control ?Ensuring follow behind development infrastructure is kept up to date ?Support system design as a strategy to effectively limit the serious effects of damaging seismicity. This paper describes the following: ?Implementation of the required mining strategies ?The evolution of a new stope support system and problems associated with its development and implementation. How this support system was adapted for the successful negotiation of major geological features with known seismic potential and problems encountered ?Current initiatives to optimize follow behind development infrastructure ?Current initiatives in designing a new gully support system and problems experienced with its development and implementation. Finally, this paper will deal with the way forward, briefly covering areas like the above-mentioned gully support system, the proposed phased introduction of technology, and the use of alternative mining layouts.