Choosing an Underground Mining Method

Hamrin, Hans ; Kennedy, Bruce
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 25
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
Once an ore body has been probed and outlined, and sufficient information has been collected to warrant further analysis, the important process of selecting the most appropriate method or methods for mining can begin. At this stage, the selection is preliminary only, serving as the basis for a project layout and feasibility study. Later, it may be found necessary to revise the details, but the basic principles for the ore extraction should remain a part of the final layout. With respect to the basic principles employed, relatively few mining methods are used today. For the purposes of this presentation, the principles are classified as follows: 1) For naturally supported stopes, the available methods are room-and-pillar mining and sublevel stoping. 2) For artificially supported stopes, the available methods are shrinkage stoping, cut-and-fill mining, square-set mining, and longwall mining. 3) For caving methods, the available techniques are sublevel caving and block caving. Due to the uniqueness of each ore deposit, the variations on each of these methods are nearly limitless. It is impossible to include even the major variations in this chapter; the goal of this chapter is to present the principles as a guide to the mining engineer in adapting the general methods to specific needs. The selection process described herein is intended to supply the techniques by which the candidate methods available for a given ore body can be reduced to one or two feasible approaches. The feasible approaches then can be evaluated in detail, and the particular modifications can be investigated. In describing costs and economic factors, all values herein are expressed in terms of 1978 US dollars.
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