The Stress-Strain Behaviour Of In-Stope Pillars In The Bushveld Platinum Deposits In South Africa
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 2007
In South Africa, the Bushveld platinum group metal deposits are unique in that they are the largest platinum group metal deposits in the world. These deposits occur as two distinct stratiform tabular orebodies and strike for many hundreds of kilometres. Mining is extensive, with depths ranging from close-to-surface to 2 000 m. The mining method is a variation of planar open stoping. Pillars are widely used to support the open stopes. Crush pillars are commonly used in this role, where the residual pillar strength provides the required support resistance to stabilize the stoping excavations. This paper describes the direct measurement of stress within these crush pillars, and describes the stress?strain behaviour of these pillars. These findings indicate that the measured pillar failure stress is too high. The implications of these findings are that roof damage and pillar bursting could occur, and some examples of this type of damage are shown. The paper concludes that this problem could be mitigated if the three dimensional pillar geometry were modified and the pillars were cut smaller.