Improving Stope Support At Modikwa Platinum Mine

Vuuren, Jaco J. van
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2004
Modikwa Platinum Mine, in the Eastern Bushveld of South Africa's Limpopo Province, is a new operation employing a hybrid mining method where mechanised methods are used for the main developments and the narrow, 60cm reef is conventionally stoped using a down-dip conventional mining method. Throughout the mine, the hanging wall immediately above the reef comprises 3 jointed and laminated layers of varying thickness, commonly known as the triplets, below a non-cohesive leuconorite parting plane. At North shaft, using pre-stressed standing support and mechanically anchored rockbolts, it was found difficult and hazardous to hold all three triplets in the hanging wall, however bringing them down caused a significant increase in dilution and therefore cost of mining. A novel solution was conceived whereby two of the triplets are kept up using short, stiff resin anchored rockbolts installed systematically within 0.5 m of the face. This resulted in both safety and productivity benefits. The rockbolts create a stable and safe hanging wall and allow the mine to extract UG2 reef more economically. New drilling equipment, developed locally from available drilling technology, can be operated from a safe position, and in situ tests and measurements are made to confirm effective support. The technology and underlying concepts were successfully tested in a trial stope prior to rolling out the new support system across all the stopes at North Shaft. This has involved an extensive training programme to ensure that the rockbolt system is installed correctly and that the conditions are appropriate for this technology. The paper describes the motivation behind the project, the underlying technology and its application to Modikwa, and the benefits now being realised.
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