Undercut-and-Fill Mining as Practiced by Homestake Mining Co., Creede, CO

Winters, A. S.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
INTRODUCTION Homestake Mining Co. owns and operates the Bull¬dog Mountain mine near Creede, CO. Lead-silver con¬centrates are produced from ores extracted from narrow veins which dip from 1.04 to 1.39 rad (60 to 80°). An¬nual mill throughput is approximately 90 700 t (100,000 st). Ore shoots average 2 m (7 ft) in width and the ore is often weak, muddy, and poorly consolidated. Walls can be either strong or highly fractured along the strike of the veins. Cut-and-fill methods were initially selected to mine the deposit and considerable overhand mining occurred during the initial stages of the mine. Because of un¬stable ground conditions, mine management recognized that other methods would have to be employed. Undercut-and-fill mining was adapted to extract the loose ore from narrow veins and is presently the primary method used. Approximately 80% of the annual pro¬duction is extracted by this system. Loading ramps are positioned along the strike of the vein on 90-m (300-ft) intervals to allow for 45-m (150-ft) long cuts in each direction from the extraction raise. This interval was selected for efficient slusher operation and stope cycling. Loading ramps rather than chutes were selected for ore movement into 4.5-t (5-st) Granby-type cars because of extremely sticky ore conditions. Mined-out areas are filled with deslimed mill sands. Sand is pumped from the mill into two mine storage dams where the water is decanted. Each dam has a 544-t (600-st) capacity. Sand is pumped into the mine at a 30 to 40% slurry through 2195 m (7200 ft) of 51-mm (2-in.) thick wall pipe. When called for, sand is reslurried within the dams to a density of 55 to 65% and pumped to the particular mine opening requiring fill. Dry cement is added to the slurry prior to pumping. The capacity of the mine fill system is 20 t/h (22 stph). DEVELOPMENT Vertical development below the main adit level oc¬curs on 61-m (200-ft) intervals from an internal winze. Main haulage drifts or laterals are 2.7 x 2.7 m (9 x 9 ft) in section and driven parallel to the vein structures. Ground conditions generally dictate that better progress can be realized in the footwall than in the hanging wall. A distance of approximately 21 m (70 ft) is maintained between vein and drift openings to accommodate a smooth 18-m (60-ft) radius curve for crosscuts which are driven on 91-m (300-ft) intervals. Approximately 18 m (60 ft) of tail room is driven past the vein inter¬section to accommodate train loading. Ore and waste are hauled using diesel or electric driven locomotives operating over 18-kg (40-Ib) rail [762-mm (30-in.) gage]. Loading ramps are established above each crosscut¬ vein intersection. Scram drifts are then driven in the vein to determine the width and grade of the ore. If a prior decision to mine the block had been reached, then the scram is driven only far enough [about 12 m (40 ft)] to establish a drawpoint and scraper tail room. In most cases, the drawpoint is a 2.1 x 2.1-m (7 x 7-ft) cutout driven about 2.4 m (8 ft) into the footwall. On the level above, a raise bore station is established in the footwall to one side of the crosscut-vein inter¬section. The station is of sufficient size to accommo¬date a Robbins 41R raise boring machine. Support for the station is accomplished with 1.2 and 1.8-m (4 and 6-ft) roof bolts and wire screening. Once completed, a 152-mm (6-in.) concrete slab is poured and the raise drill set in position to center the 1.5-m (5-ft) diam hole approximately 1.8 m (6 ft) from the vein footwall. A 229-mm (9-in.) pilot hole is then drilled to the scram cutout below and reamed back to full diameter (see Fig. 1). STOPING Initial mining in a typical undercut-and-fill stope be¬gins from the top of the borehole. The initial cut can be either immediately beneath the track level or the old scram drift depending upon the particular situation. Cuts vary but are generally 2.4 to 3 m (8 to 10 ft) high. Support is accomplished by square-set timber, overhead caps, or roof bolts and screening depending upon ground conditions. Once the initial cut is removed, underhand timber and screen is installed and cemented sand fill placed. The stope is then ready for undercut mining. Prepara¬tion work begins with sinking 4.5 to 6 m (15 to 20 ft) on the borehole plus cutting a slot to the vein. As sinking progresses, hanging sets are installed to provide man¬way and service facilities. Hanging sets 1.7 m (5 ft 8 in.) long and 1.6 x 2.2 m (5 ft 4 in. x 7 ft 4 in.) in section are installed with steel hangers similar to shaft sets. Framed 203 x 203-mm (8 x 8-in.) timbers are made up in advance and shipped to the stope during sinking operations. When manway and service facilities are completed to the floor of cut to be mined, generally 3.65 to 4.3 m (12 to 14 ft) below the previous sand fill, the ore is removed to the hanging wall plus a round each way along the vein. Levelers or long stringers are then installed over the raise opening to support the work deck, slusher, and grizzly opening. All waste and ore from the sinking process is fed by gravity to the raise (see Fig. 2). Once the stope is equipped, mining pro¬gresses outward in each direction from the grizzly open¬ing. Stope equipment consists of 907 kg (2000 lb) pull air tuggers, timber skips, 11-kW (15-hp) ventilation fans, 15 to 22-kW (20 to 30-hp) electric slushers, 762 to 1270-mm (30 to 50-in.) scrapers, 67-mm (25/a-in. ) jackleg drills, as well as other drilling and blasting supplies. In narrow stopes [generally less than 2 m (7 ft) wide], no support is required for the underhand caps of the previous fill. Where wide sections in the vein occur, segment braces are installed beneath the caps to insure that the sand support cannot slip away from the hanging wall. Sections as great as 6 m (20 ft) wide and 4.5 m
Full Article Download:
(228 kb)