The Challenges Facing Continuous Mining, Using Low Energy Rock Breaking Technologies

Peake, A. V.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2003
Continuous Mining presents an opportunity to extract reef in the stope ?continuously? by integrating the drill and blast activity using propellants or low energy charges. To date, the majority of effort spent on Continuous Mining systems has focused on developing an effective rock breaking process (micro breaking process), and to some extent, eliminating fumes and dust. The perceived benefits of applying low energy charges have been identified as: ?Concentrated mining yielding face advances of 40 to 60 m per month ?Lower stoping widths through better-controlled breaking ?Increase in the advance per blast ?Increase in labour productivity ?The potential to mine reefs where specific conditions make conventional mining uneconomic e.g. reefs with shales in the immediate hangingwall. However, the ability to successfully use low energy charges to create a ?Continuous or Semi-Continuous? mining method is dependent on overcoming the following challenges. ?Improving reliability of rock breaking. This is dependent upon achieving:? Improved drilling accuracy, and? Successful stemming or gas confinement, particularly in fractured rock ?Reducing gas and dust levels ?Reducing high costs. Through the research carried out in Future Mine, many different low energy rock breaking methods and systems were investigated. Whilst detailed results cannot be published here, the guidelines for overcoming low energy rock breaking challenges are discussed.
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