Geotechnical Planning and Development of the BHP Minerals San Juan Pilot Mine, Waterflow, NM

Christensen, P.E.
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1998
Due to ever-increasing stripping ratios associated with the No. 8 Seam at the San Juan Mine surface operation, BHP Minerals decided to implement longwall mining for the extraction of the substantial future reserve base. In preparation for longwall developments, BHP opted to first develop a small-scale pilot operation within the No.8 Seam on an adjacent lease to address geotechnical/geological concerns related to ground control, subsidence, caving, panel and entry design, and operational issues related to entry development and proper face equipment selection. Room-and-pillar mining methods are currently being utilized to develop a full extraction panel for a wide range of geological, geotechnical, and geomechanical evaluations aimed at characterizing and assessing the mineability of the No.8 Seam. Variable roof and floor conditions, coupled with a multi-bench coal seam, require that a number of mining horizons, opening geometries, and roof and rib support fixtures be evaluated relative to expediting gate and panel developments. Issues related to development of timely caves in areas subject to overlying sand channel deposits will also be addressed through underground in-seam stress and deformation measurements, and interburden and surface subsidence monitoring. This information will ultimately be used to evaluate face support and gate and panel pillar/entry development requirements. The current depositional model for the property, developed from an aggressive drilling, highwall mapping, and lineament evaluation program, will also be refined during the Pilot Mine study through extensive in-trine mapping, additional roof and floor drilling and physical property testing, and determination of the in situ principal horizontal stress field.
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