Vein Mining at LKAB, Malmberget, Sweden

Marklund, Ingemar
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 2
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
INTRODUCTION Today at LKAB, the primary mining method used is sublevel caving, independent of ore-body size, shape, dip, and geographical location. The mining of small ore bodies with relatively flat dip involves a lot of develop¬ment work, a large initial investment, big dilution, and large ore losses. In 1975 serious investigations into other possible methods, especially for those small ore bodies which do not lie in direct contact with other ore bodies, began. Different methods were studied and a number of in¬teresting ideas came from Russian mines. An analysis was made of one of the proposed methods, sublevel benching, in which mining is carried out from raises, and which uses the throw from the blast to place the broken ore. However, there were reservations about working in big open rooms at great depth, and doubts about the possibility of getting acceptable drilling results in an acceptable environment from raised platforms. Testing was therefore delayed for a time. However the investigations continued and in the fall of 1976, it was decided to try vein mining in a small ore body (Indian) (see Figs. 1 and 2). MINING RESULTS The results are now available from the mining of Indian and are as follows: Ore plan area 1200 m2 Level height 50 m Ore volume 60 000 m3 Ore tonnage 270 000 t Iron content 62% Dip 0.69 rad (40°) Ore thickness 14 m Ore compressive strength 26 MPa Ore C-factor (fracture density) 0.21 Hanging wall compressive strength 28 MPa Hanging wall C-factor 0.27 About 40 000 m of the holes were drilled by ring drills with an average productivity of 85 m/shift; loading of a round (2 rows, 750 m of hole) was usually accomplished in one shift. The total ore recovery was about 270 000 t with an average iron content of 59%, and three to four shifts were required per round (4700 t) to load. The principal of "throwing" the rock during blast¬ing worked well, and no ore remains on the footwall. ROCK CONTROL Before mining commenced at Indian, it was dis¬covered that the rock strength in its vicinity was rela¬tively poor. Since the ore is flatly dipping, and mining was to take place with open rooms, the strength of the hanging wall was of great importance. A supplementary program of exploration drilling was done during the fall of 1976 in order to assess fracture spacing and rock strength from the drill cores. Results showed that the strength of the hanging wall was low because of the many fractures. A decision was made to try cable bolting of the hanging wall by extending some of the ordinary blast¬holes. Cables (20 mm diam) were grouted in these larger holes and the rest of the hole was then utilized for ordinary loading (see Fig. 2). About 100 bolts altogether were installed and, to date, only small falls have occurred and the hanging wall is holding. Its exposed area is 2100 m2 DEVELOPMENT WORK On the 350-m level, four crosscuts (two per mining room), one longitudinal drift, and two elongated drifts (one per raise) for the raise climber were developed as shown in Fig. 1. Of the 230 m of drift, 60 m were in ore and the rest in waste. For mining room A alone, a total of 115 m of drift were needed with 30 m in ore. The drift dimensions were about 4.5 X 5.5 m. In the drifting on the 300-m level, two connecting drifts were driven from one existing transport drift forward to the respective raises. The total development was 93 m, all in waste (Fig. 1). The two raises having a length of 80 m each were driven at an angle of 0.68 rad (39°) from the hori¬zontal. They were driven along the footwall contact with a separation of 30 m and had an area of 10 m2. LONG-HOLE DRILLING The drilling of long holes with the ring drilling unit began in the fall of 1977 in raise A. The equipment consisted of an Alimak raise climber, equipped with a lower platform from which the charging was done.
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