Tunnels Under Pressure In An Ultra-Deep Witwatersrand Gold Mine

Diering, D. H.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
The paper takes the reader into the depths of a modern ultra-deep South African gold mine and gives a perspective on the vertical and horizontal extent of the tunnel networks in such a mine. Depending on the mine design layout employed, tunnels once excavated are subjected to various levels of stress change over their life time, and the support requirements are explained. It is suggested that shotcreting is the only viable ultra-deep level support medium, and after looking at the latest developments, the logistical problems are put forward. In an effort to overcome most of these problems, the South African ultra-deep mining industry embarked on a collaborative research programme in 1998. The importance of tunnelling and in particular tunnel support as a critical technology for future successful ultra-deep level mining is stressed. While not yet fully ?on top of? these problems and challenges, our industry is now fully addressing them and we expect to make significant progress during the next 4 to 5 years.
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