Use of a Plate Loading Device to Quantitatively Evaluate Weak Rock Mass Classifications in the Underground Gold Mines of Nevada USA

Kallu, Raj R.
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2014
Underground gold mines in Nevada are typically hosted in geologic zones with a wide range of geotechnical properties ranging from blocky competent rock to faulted and highly altered soil-like material. Geotechnical engineering design in weak rock utilizes rock mass classification systems as inputs to both empirical and numerical methods. The most common rock mass classification system utilized in the gold mines of Nevada is the easy-to-use Rock Mass Rating (RMR) system; however, in practice it is difficult to apply in weak to very weak rock masses. This paper attempts to improve the sensitivity of RMR in weak rock masses by utilizing W-RMR?a modified procedure for calculating RMR?and evaluates its performance against other methods of determining RMR for predicting in situ moduli. In-situ rock mass moduli were determined using a portable plate loading device (PPLD), and these data were used to quantify the improved sensitivity of the modified RMR versus existing classification systems. The PPLD was designed for performing rapid and economical in-situ deformability tests in a mining environment. Tests were performed at eight sites yielding thirteen rock mass moduli measurements. Statistical analyses indicate Detailed-Discontinuity RMR-89 and W-RMR provide the best correlations to the in-situ moduli compared to other methods of calculating RMR.
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