If you have access to OneMine as part of a member benefit, log in through your member association website for a seamless user experience.
|Stope support systems, typically consisting of props and packs, are used extensively in the gold and platinum mining industry to stabilize the rock mass in the excavation vicinity and to reduce the hazard associated with rockfalls and rockbursts. The design of stope support systems was historically based predominantly on past experience and practices, and cost considerations. The recent development of a new and improved support design methodology, has led to the potential for significant increases in worker safety and support cost savings. This paper reviews some of the fundamental rock mass and support criteria that form the basis of the improved support design methodology. The considered design criteria are the height of potential fall; quasi-static stope closure rates; dynamic stope closure rates; compressive hangingwall stresses; discontinuity spacing, orientation and interface properties; effect of support length (stoping width); effect of compression rate; consistency of support performance; a real coverage; support spacing; and zone of support influence. The proposed support design methodology combines both the zone of influence and key block stability theories, resulting in optimized support systems for rockfall and rockburst conditions. The site-specific methodology consists of two stages: (i) a tributary area analysis, and (ii) a zone of support influence and a stability analysis, considering hangingwall failure due to buckling, shear and block rotation, which gives maximum safe spacing of individual support units. The methodology is suitable for designing support systems for both blocky hangingwalls and hangingwalls fragmented by face-parallel extension and shear fractures.|