Basic Principles For Stable Gullies In The Gold And Platinum Mines Of South Africa

Naidoo, K.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2002
Gullies are the vital in-stope excavations that provide access for mining personnel and material to, and mined ore from, the producing faces in the tabular hard rock mines. They pose a serious problem in most mines because they induce stress orientations, which, combined with blast damage, produce adverse rock fracture patterns that contribute to the loss of hangingwall and sidewall integrity. Rock-related injury statistics confirm this by highlighting gullies as the second-highest risk area in South African hard rock mines. Inappropriate gully geometries, poor blasting practice, and non-adherence to accepted standards worsen the problem. The aim of this work is, firstly, to provide guidelines to select the correct gully geometry and appropriate support for a particular geotechnical environment and, secondly, to review the practical issues behind gully safety and stability. In order to meet these aims, this paper reviews the available literature on gullies and their history, and reports on an industry-wide survey of practices and opinions. Then it covers observations from underground visits to 107 gullies situated in the respective geotechnical environments of the Basal Reef, Beatrix Reef, Vaal Reef, Carbon Leader Reef, Ventersdorp Contact Reef, Kimberley Reef, Kalkoenkrans Reef, Merensky Reef, and UG2 Reef. Despite the differing geotechnical conditions and gully geometries, common problems are experienced with geological structure, stress, and fracturing. Results from numerical modelling are also presented to help analyse the underground observations and to quantify the merits of the different gully layouts. It is concluded that there are no new techniques available to improve gully stability, but that significant improvements in safety are attainable by employing the correct gully geometry for the geotechnical environment, good blasting practice, and appropriate support.
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