A probabilistic approach to ground support design in underground mines,

Beauchamp, Kevin
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2003
In many cases traditional support designs cover the many variations in ground conditions and bolt performance by a conservative factor of safety. The result is that most bolts are ineffectual most of the time and yet the response to occasional roof collapses is an even more conservative design. The probabilistic analysis presented in this paper takes several important parameters of a support design into account such as span, bolt strength, bolt length, water pressure, seismic accelerations, joint orientation, bed thickness and joint strength and allows the effect of variations in these parameters to be evaluated simultaneously. The analysis demonstrates the application of the probabilistic approach to both blocky, wedge-dominated conditions and bedded deposits dominated by laminations. All mine excavations have a designed stand-up time. By taking into account of the possible variations in the design parameters explicitly, it is possible to produce a support system designed to ensure stability over a given period of time. Rather than use a factor of safety criterion, the approach uses a percentage reliability or probability of failure. By understanding the probability of failure of the support system, it is possible to improve the performance of ground support without any increase in cost or conversely to decrease the cost while maintaining the performance of ground support. This approach reduces reliance on empirical experience and leads to a better understanding of the key factors that influence stability and can provide a much more accurate and optimized assessment of support design and performance. The result is a more cost-effective support system and we hope that a broader application of this approach to ground support in underground mines will lead to a greater acceptance in the industry of probabilistic analyses and of terms such as Probability of Failure and Reliability of Support.
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