Factors Affecting The Quality Of Tunnel Infrastructure At Premier Diamond Mine

Smith, M. S.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2004
Paper written on project work carried out in partial fulfilment of B. Eng (Mining Engineering) degree The condition of tunnels at Premier has deteriorated to such an extent that an objective viewpoint on what leads to poor condition was required. Poor and untimely development results in schedule deviation, rehabilitation, and increased working costs. The project focused primarily on quality, and not on efficiency. The project gave management guidelines that need to be focused on in order to produce quality infrastructure. The conclusions were reached by doing literature searches, underground site investigations, benchmarking and computer simulations. From the results we can see that, in order to produce good quality tunnels, we have to have the basics working. This was found to be one of the major problems. Firstly, tunnel profiles are not to the design specification and no fixed blast designs existed. After revising tunnel profile statistics, over break increased to 10% (previously 7%) and development metres were 50 m short of target. Blasting was not monitored and designs not optimized for the conditions. Furthermore, geological factors are the main contributor to tunnel failure, although this process is initiated and aided by poor development (overbroken tunnels, incorrect profiles, direction and location) and blast damage. Continuing to develop tunnels in the current manner will cost R 1.5 million in additional costs for loading and supporting overbreak, whilst an additional 1 800 man-shifts will be required. Blast patterns were designed as a starting point for trials, while the implementation of a blast management system, development statistical database, tunnel hand-over procedures and a revision of the bonus system were proposed.
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