A Review of Geotechnical Considerations in Narrow Vein Mining in a High Stress Environment

Dight P M,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1993
The challenge of narrow vein mining is to produce ore with as little dilution as possible, at the least cost -commensurate with the increasing degrees of safety being demanded for mine workers by the modem 'duty of care' legislation. Geotechnical factors play an important, if not overriding, role in these areas. The geotechnical factors cover the complex interaction over a period of time, between the in situ and induced rock stresses, rock structures, rock mass strength and the cable, rock bolt and other ground support members. In the Archaean schist belt areas where many of our narrow vein mines occur the pre-mining in situ rock stresses are commonly significantly higher than the overburden stresses. These are concentrated in areas beneath previous open pits and may be highly concentrated in the pillars and abutments of stopes on narrow veins. The presence of high in situ stresses may be suspected from the appearance of drill cores and underground development long before they become sufficiently concentrated by mining to cause damage or bursts. These initial indications are discussed and modem low cost methods of stress measurement are described. Practical and quick methods of analysing the stress redistribution around scopes and other underground excavations are now available and guidelines for interpreting them in terms of rockmass characteristics, stope stability and support requirements are developed with the object of increasing safety, whilst reducing overall costs and dilution.
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