Woodlawn Mine - An Underground Operation Review

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
Woodlawn Mines began underground operations in 1986. At the time of going underground it was envisaged that there would be no 'contract' payment to the underground employees. This was a relatively unique step to make, especially as most major underground mines in Australia relied heavily on the contract system to motivate their workforce. (Obviously with varying degrees of success.) Woodlawn faced the task of motivating their employees through a multi-skilled system with a great emphasis on leadership and a genuine care for their employees. The 'proof of the pudding' is that Woodlawn has not lost any time over industrial issues since beginning underground operations in 1986. To achieve success in any operation the organisation must not only be advanced in its management principles but also be prepared to be innovative in the way it deals with physical problems, ie ground control, equipment selection and maintenance. Difficult ground conditions at Woodlawn have necessitated the deployment of two Cabolt Jumbos and the construction of cost-effective shotcrete systems. The shotcrete system now being built has been tested in a prototype form and is proving to be a safe and simple way to manage weak, low stress friable ground. Although the ground at Woodlawn has low stress component by virtue of the fact the ore can have a density of 4.5dm3, cable dowelling has become a necessity. The two cable dowel jumbos install high quality reinforced cables. The pressure of 'production' means that these machines must be consistently available for use and the training of maintenance personnel and operators ensures that a maximum of cable dowels can be installed over any given time span. In any modem mine ventilation is a primary concern and the major area of concern comes from the vehicles themselves. In our recent replacement for the standard 'Toro' loader, three engine options were considered. A relative newcomer to underground mining was accepted. The Detroit 60 series (DDEC) engine came with a great reputation and has lived up to this. The engine has an electronic management system that reduces particulates to a hardly visible minimum, provides great amounts of engine power and reduces fuel consumption by approximately 45 per cent. The operational benefits of such an engine are worth sharing through this conference.
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