The Application of the Cavity Measurement System at Olympic Dam Operations

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
The Olympic Dam mining operation is some 520 kilometres NNW of Adelaide on the Roxby Downs Pastoral lease. The deposit containing copper, uranium, gold and silver was discovered in 1975 by Western Mining Corporation (WMC). A joint venture was formed in mid-1979 between WMC (51 per cent) and British Petroleum (BP, 49 per cent) for the development and exploitation of the deposit. WMC assumed 100 per cent ownership after acquiring BP's share in early-1993. Ore is won from a highly mechanised underground mining operation and processed to refined products. Current annual output from the mining of 3.0 Mt of ore is approximately 83 500 t of refined copper, 1400 t of uranium oxide, 750 kg of gold and 12 000 kg of silver. Conventional long hole, open stoping techniques are used to extract the production ore. Since stope production began in April 1988, full surveys and appraisals of stopes have been carried out to evaluate the integrity of the design and blasting techniques. This evaluation included the determination of the degree of dilution or non break that had occurred. Performance information also made it possible to re-design any adjacent stopes to retrieve remaining ore and conversely, avoid the chances of targeting backfilled material in the future. Performing stope surveys proved not only to be a time-consuming process but one fraught with access and line-of-sight problems. Occasionally it was not possible to obtain any stope survey data, and as was often the case with the mine pass system, rarely. In 1992 the sudden failure of the pillar between the fine ore and mullock passes and the subsequent delays to production, emphasised the need to effectively monitor pass wear. Initial information regarding the development of the Cavity Measurement System (CMS) prototype (Figure 1) indicated that it had the potential to solve these problems by the introduction of a remote scanning device into a cavity. Following a great deal of investigation, Olympic Dam Operations purchased the first CMS in Australia. This paper discusses its application for all underground void surveys and the procedures developed to manage both field and office requirements.
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