Dragline Digging Methods in Australian Strip Mines - A Survey

Baafi EY,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 12
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1998
Open cut mining in Australia is facing the greatest challenge in its history in attempting to compete not only with other operations internationally, but also with underground operations domestically. Most flat dip and shallow depth surface-mineable coal reserves have been depleted during the last two decades and new open cut operations must extract deeper coal deposits. As open cut coal mines move into deeper areas and the stripping ratios increase, the relative cost of overburden removal also increases. It therefore becomes even more important to design the mine around the optimum overburden removal scheme. The deeper mines are usually multi-seam operations with a more complex geology and with more geotechnical and hydrological problems. Deeper mines are subjected to greater problems requiring more detailed mine planning and design, such as selection of the optimum mining method and pit layout. In planning and design of such operations, the number of alternative methods which need to be considered is consequently greater.Dragline productivity and its stripping capabilities are directly affected by the selection of digging method, strip layout and pit geometry. Every mine has a unique combination of geological conditions. The operating methods that work well at one mine may not necessarily work at another site. Selection of an optimal stripping method, strip layout and pit geometry for a given dragline must be considered with respect to the geological conditions of the mine. With increasing geological complexity of Australian strip mines, it is becoming more important to use sophisticated techniques such as computerised mine planning methods to assist in optimising dragline operations.
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