Cave Mining - State-of-the-Art

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 13
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
Caving is the lowest cost underground mining method, provided that drawpoint spacing, drawpoint size and ore handling facilities are designed to suit the caved material and that the drawpoint horizon can be maintained for the draw life. In the near future several open pit mines that produce in excess of 50 000 tons per day will have to examine the feasibility of converting to low cost, large scale underground operations. Several other large scale, low grade underground operations will experience major changes in their mining environments as large dropdowns are implemented. These changes demand a more realistic approach to mine planning than has occurred in the past, where existing operations have been projected to increased depths with little consideration of the change in mining environment that will occur. As economics force the consideration of underground mining of large, competent orebodies by low cost methods, the role of cave mining will have to be defined. In the past caving has generally been considered for rock masses that cave and fragment readily. The ability to define cavability and fragmentation, the availability of large, robust LHDs, a better understanding of draw control requirements, improved drilling equipment for secondary blasting and reliable cost data have shown that competent orebodies with coarse fragmentation can be exploited by cave mining at a much lower cost than with drill and blast Methods.
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