Shrinkage Stoping at the Crean Hill Mine

Henderson, K. J.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 3
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
INTRODUCTION Shrinkage mining at Inco Ltd.'s Crean Hill mine can best be defined as a horizontal breasting method utilizing the broken ore for the mining floor and to provide wall support, with draw from a series of boxholes or draw¬points at the base of the stoping block. In choosing to shrink a given block of ore, the initial investigation centers on the ore configuration and grade, the expected ground conditions in the stoping area, the expected profit compared to alternative mining methods, the future production requirements, development lead time, the availability and type of equipment in the area, and the availability of experienced miners. These factors are weighed against other mining methods and shrinkage mining is chosen when the advantages outweigh the dis¬advantages. These will be discussed in more detail later. At Inco Ltd.'s Crean Hill mine, shrinkage mining makes up 17% of total mine production and is decreasing due to the advent of advanced blasthole techniques, notably in-the-hole drilling. Shrinkage is an adaptable mining method that is currently employed in narrow irregular ore zones, as undercuts for in-the-hole blast¬hole stopes, in ore bodies that do not extend from level to level, and in areas where quick production is required with a minimum of capital outlay or minimum develop¬ment. Two major types are currently in use which are classified on the basis of type of draw system employed. These are the utilization of load-haul-dump (LHD) equipment drawing from drawpoints, and the slusher and train method drawing from boxholes into a slusher trench and loading into a train. A third method being phased out is drawing from chutes directly into a train. In all three methods the actual stoping operation remains the same. In the initial planning of a mining block, the ore body is first located using an exploration diamond drill¬ing program. This is essentially done at a 130-m (400¬ft) spacing and it gives an indication of the amount of ore, grade of ore, the configuration of the ore body, as well as other geological features such as ground condi¬tions which will affect future mining. This drilling is done from an exploration drift 165 m (500 ft) long in the hanging wall and covers a vertical extent of 330 to 670 m (1000 to 2000 ft). However, these data are not accurate enough for detailed planning. When the de¬cision has been made to mine, a preliminary develop¬ment drill drift is driven in such a position that it can serve the dual purposes of allowing the ore body to be drilled off in detail, or of later serving as a haulage or access drift. Diamond drilling from this drift is usually on a 15-m (50-ft) grid spacing and gives adequate information for detailed planning. Utilizing the drill data, a decision is made on the mining type. For a shrinkage operation, the stoping block is ideally 49 m (150 ft) in length and a maximum of 13 m (40 ft) in width. Lengths of 65 m (200 ft) are considered a practical maximum because of the length of time the back of the stope remains open during the min¬ing of a cut. A minimum length of 13 m (40 ft) is used because the amount of time spent in opening a new cut increases in comparison with the total stoping time. The maximum width of 13 m (40 ft) is used because ex¬perience with the ground indicates that generally stope backs tend to be unstable over greater widths. However, widths of 33 m (100 ft) have been mined. A minimum width of 5 m (15 ft) is used to allow an effective draw, but in unusual cases, a width of 3 m (10 ft) has been mined successfully. The dip of the ore should not be less than 1.04 rad (60°). Angles flatter than this will not pull properly resulting in inefficient mining because of ore hang-ups on the footwall side of the stope and the need for large stagings on the hanging wall. In considering shrinkage, mining ground conditions play an important role. Strong shearing, cross faulting, or dikes are avoided. These usually cause dangerous mining conditions and an alternative safer mining method which will give adequate support to these adverse ground conditions is employed. Production requirements are taken into considera¬tion when planning a shrinkage mining program. In it¬self, shrinkage mining is capable of producing ore in a relatively short time with little capital development. If quick production is required, this method can produce ore rapidly as all that is required is that the draw system be completed and the miners with jacklegs and stopers produce a limited amount of ore. The obvious disadvan¬tage is that not all the ore broken can be pulled from the stope immediately. However, a mining horizon with sev¬eral shrinkage stopes in different stages of production can adequately maintain scheduled tonnage require¬ments, the cycle being stopes under development, stopes actively mining, and stopes completed and pulling. When the decision has been made to use shrinkage mining in a given block, the haulage and draw system is driven. The proximity of the orepass system dictates whether the system is to be a LHD operation or a slusher trench operation. If the orepass system is in close prox¬imity to the stoping block, LHD equipment is employed because of its ability to operate efficiently over short haulage distances. A long tram to the orepass usually dictates a slusher trench operation with haulage by train. Internal orepass systems are used effectively with LHD equipment with a load-out and retramming taking place on a lower horizon. In addition, stoping blocks in older areas of the mine are developed track because of the capital cost involved in converting an existing level to trackless mining. DRIFT DEVELOPMENT USING LHD EQUIPMENT The haulage drift for a draw system using LHD equipment is driven parallel to the ore body in the foot¬wall at a sufficient distance to allow an 11.5-m (35-ft) drawpoint to be driven into the ore (Fig. 1). The actual position of the drift depends entirely upon the ore con¬figuration and the drift size depends on the equipment to be used. Drift sizes of 4.6 x 4.1 m (14 x 121/2 ft) for an St-4 and 3.8 x 3.6 m (111/2 x 11 ft) for an St-2 meet company and government clearance standards and allow sufficient space to accommodate a ventilation pipe. The
Full Article Download:
(155 kb)