Stone Mine Design in Highly Fractured Rock

Scovazzo, Vincent
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2002
Cost-effective underground mine configurations have been designed in highly fractured rock masses where the stone possesses a high material strength. A limestone mine in the eastern United States is used to demonstrate procedures for the geotechnical design of one such operation. The mine discussed is located in both limbs and the axis of a recumbent fold that fractured the rock mass. In a highly fractured rock mass, where the host rock has high strength, a design can be developed to alleviate intact rock failure. This is possible because in most cases as the stress levels needed for intact failures are approached, the stresses are quickly dissipated due to movement along discontinuities, which represent planes of weakness. As a result most underground failures in highly fractured rock are due to sliding or toppling. Even when intact rock fails in a highly fractured rock mass, it is the movement along an existing joint or other weakness plane that often initiates or causes this failure. It is therefore important to obtain the characteristics of weakness planes that are the discontinuities within the mass. The required information on weakness planes, geology, and strength of materials is discussed and recommendations for obtaining this information are presented. A discussion is provided on failure modes and the use of developed information for their evaluation. The impact on geotechnical design is demonstrated through pillar sizing procedures; however, this approach can also be applied to mine roof and pillar foundations.
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