A Review Of Mechanized Versus Handheld Bolting In Hard Rock Tabular Orebodies

Menasce, J. R.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2006
Mechanization in low-stope panels situated in hard rock infers roof support by tensile bolting to allow free passage of trackless mining equipment in the production areas. This is in sharp contrast to conventional mining, where compressive roof supports?such as timber and grout packs?have traditionally been used, up to 1.5 metres from the production face. Bolting is a hazardous operation because material is dislodged from the roof during the drilling activity. Even with temporary roof support installed, small pieces of rock are dislodged by the percussive action of the drifter. Operations with the man situated directly under the drill, during the drilling activity, are hazardous. The only way to remove the hazard is to move the man away from the machine for as much as possible throughout the complete cycle Costs associated with safety cannot be quantified, but need to form part of the decision-making process. Machine selections based on purchase and running costs alone do not justify the investment cost of mechanized bolters. The equipment selection process needs to take into account the total cost of mining as well as the human safety impact and loss of production costs from having to re-bolt roofs in a production panel to prevent falls of ground. Labour costs in mechanized low-stope bolting are between one-quarter and half the labour costs of non-mechanized bolting. This paper reviews the mechanized bolting option versus handheld bolting from a mining process and cost perspective in a hard rock, low-stope room-and-pillar mining operation in the platinum and chrome industries.
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