The Integration Of Geology And Engineering In Ground Control And Mine Planning For A Multi-Level Underground Limestone Quarry
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Jan 1, 2001
An underground limestone quarry, developed in the 1940's, transitioned from a surface quarry to an underground room-and-pillar operation. The quarry expanded to a second underground level when the reserves on the first level reached the property boundaries. The historical basis for the sill pillar thickness between the first and second level, pillar dimensions, and mining height was lost during the course of several changes in ownership. When reserves on the second level reached a five-year life, and plans were initiated for a third level, quarry management embarked upon a thorough evaluation of i. current ground control practices for the support of the immediate roof, ii. roof support in the declines between the surface, Level 1, and Level II, iii. pillar centers and pillar safety factors, iv. pillar alignment between levels, v. mining height within a level, and vi. the locations of declines to access future reserves on level three. The evaluation began with detailed mapping of the location and orientation of calcite veins, joints, fractures, and ground conditions in the immediate roof of Level II. The orientation and location of calcite veins, joints, and fractures on Level II were compared with similar mapping on Level 1, completed in the 1970's to establish whether these features were continuous and would be expected to affect conditions on Level III. Rock strength, physical properties, and fracture spacing were obtained from two (2) diamond core holes drilled from Level I to Level II and two (2) holes drilled from Level II to define the vertical extent of future reserves on Level III. The effort to characterize geological conditions was expanded to a rock mechanics investigation of the: i. performance of the current roof support, ii. optimization of roof and rib scaling, iii. calculation of safety factors for 416 pillars on Level II, iv. evaluation of future pillar centers and mining height within a level based upon pillar strength and pillar geometry, v. development of beam safety factors for the immediate roof on Level II, vi. identification of the most suitable strata for the roof in the future level three, and vii. use of LAMODEL to develop a large numerical model of overburden, inter-level, and total stress on the pillars in levels one and Level II with a stress "footprint" on the proposed level three. The characterization of engineering parameters and geological conditions resulted in changes to the: ? active operations in Level II regarding scaling ? equipment and scaling practices, ? pillar centers, ? mining height, ? raising the immediate roof horizon to avoid ? laminated strata in the current roof, and ? a change in rock bolts from a friction based system ? to active tensioned rebar. The planning and design of level three is ongoing and relies heavily upon the geological and engineering investigations conducted during the past year and one-half.