Wall Reinforcement in Open Pit Mining

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1986
Stressed steel cables, similar to those used in pre-stressed concrete, have been used for rock mass reinforcement, in civil engineering, for many years. This type of reinforcement has been attempted for open pit wall support, on several occasions, but has never gained wide acceptance as a practical approach because of high cost and complexity of installation in a mining environment. On the other hand, untensioned, fully grouted cable dowels (cable bolts) have gained wide acceptance for ground support in underground mining and it is perhaps surprising that this technique has not been used to a greater degree in open pit mining. The first systematic application of this technique in Australia was at the Mary Kathleen uranium mine in 1976, where it was spectacularly successful in maintaining steep stable walls in a jointed rock mass with unfavourably dipping structures. Cable bolting, and other techniques, are now being used to an increasing degree for wall support in both small and large open pits, for two basic applications: 1. stabilisation of potentially unstable sections of a wall, or 2. to allow steeper walls and reduce waste stripping volumes. In virtually every situation, wall rein- forcement has significant economic as well as technical advantages. The paper describes the development of the techniques, the mechanisms of wall support, the methods used, and discusses several case histories of its application to Australian open pit mines.
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