The Application Of The Q-Tunnelling Quality Index To Rock Mass Assessment At Impala Platinum Mine
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 2002
Publications on hard rock tunnel support design in the South African mining industry have originated primarily from the goldmines during the past 50 years. Little has been published to date on the platinum and chrome mines of the Bushveld Complex. This paper covers the search for a suitable design methodology for off-reef tunnels at Impala Platinum Mine, situated on the Western Lobe of the Bushveld Complex. The fall of ground accident statistics for off-reef excavations of the mine are presented and the available rock mass quality evaluation systems are reviewed. The Q-Tunnelling Quality Index (or Q-Index) is selected because it assesses the important driving factors behind falls of ground at Impala. Two off-reef excavations are evaluated using the Q-Index, and it is shown that minor modifications are required for implementation at Impala. It will take some time before support design throughout the mine is based on the outcome of proper geotechnical investigations based on the Q-Index. Widespread implementation of such support designs should help to solve the fall of ground problem in off-reef excavations while at the same time reducing support costs.