An Economically Viable Method of Dragline Mining in Weak Unstable Ground at German Creek Mine, Central Queensland

Ward B, ; Xaykhamphoune,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1992
Draglines have been used exclusively for primary overburden stripping at the German Creek Mine complex in central Queensland, where coal has been extracted from a series of ten open cut pits working seams of the German Creek Coal Measures. Due to the dip of the seams, most of the pits have now reached the limit of current economic viability and the emphasis has switched to underground extraction using longwall methods and to a new area of open cut reserves in the nearby Rangal Coal Measures at German Creek East. This area is characterised by weak Tertiary overburden, relatively steep dips and low strength intraformational shear planes at the top and bottom of the coal.The first pit, with a maximum depth to coal of 15 m at the low wall, avoided any major slope failure through use of scrapers to excavate the boxcut and dump the spoil away from the low wall. However, this method was not considered economically viable for the second pit where low wall depths reached 44 m. Following geotechnical investigations the boxcut was divided into a number of zones depending on depth of cover, dip and thickness of Tertiary clay. Slope stability was assessed for each zone using several analytical techniques to ensure that dragline mining would be acceptable. Slope design parameters incorporating various stabilisation techniques, notably an updip trench backfilled with competent spoil to form a low wall buttress prior to excavation of the boxcut panel, were successfully integrated into the mine plan after careful consideration of the complex scheduling to minimise rehandle.
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