Gilman Modification of Mitchell Slice Stoping

Jude, William L.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
INTRODUCTION Although the mining method described in this chapter is locally designated "modified Mitchell," there are so many features which are characteristic of square sets that the designation "modified square set" would describe the method equally well. The method was developed as a result of local operating experience with various mining methods, observing operations in mines in the southwest where Mitchell stoping had been thoroughly developed, and an exhaustive study of min¬ing methods literature. Since 1941, modified Mitchell stopes have con¬tributed over 50% of the total stope production and were largely responsible for supporting production dur¬ing the war years and period of declining manpower and increasing costs. GEOLOGY The community of Gilman is situated on Battle Mountain at an elevation of 2743 m (9000 ft) in the Battle Mountain mining district, about 45 km (28 miles) by highway north of Leadville, CO. The sur¬rounding area, including the Mount of the Holy Cross and Eagle River Canyon, is noted for its beauty and recreational facilities, both summer and winter. Massive sulfide ore bodies of the limestone replace¬ment type occur as chimneys and mantas or as blankets in strata dipping 0.19 rad (11°) northeasterly. A chimney is shaped like an inverted cone with shale, quartzite, and porphyry caprocks forming its base. This relatively impervious capping apparently blocked rising ore constituents which formed the chimneys and mantas. At the apex or lower extremity of the chimneys, the ore follows small fractures and bedding planes in under¬lying quartzite. Dimensions of chimneys vary, ranging up to 61 m (200 ft) vertically and 76 m (250 ft) horizontally near capping. The manta or blanket ore bodies vary in vertical cross section from one hundred to several thousand feet. One such manta was developed from its outcrop to its chimney source approximately 610 m (2000 ft) downdip. Another manta of substantial cross section and length did not follow shale but extended updip with limestone capping from its source at a lower horizon. All chimneys, however, make up to the shale¬quartzite-porphyry capping. Chimney ore minerals are mainly pyrite and chalco¬pyrite with accessory copper and silver minerals, surrounded by, and in places overlain with, marmatite, pyrite, and galena. Manganosiderite extends into the ore. It may or may not be impregnated with sufficient marmatite and galena to be of commercial grade. Ore may be massive, coarsely crystalline, or sandy, some¬times rubbly. Generally speaking, chimney ore masses are incompetent and of variable grade. Caprock is heavy and caves readily. Manta ore minerals are mostly marmatite, pyrite, and galena associated with manganosiderite. Structural characteristics of the ore are similar to those found in chimneys and where the manta contact shale capping the ground is unusually heavy. However, the large manta with limestone capping mentioned previously consisted of a hard strong ore mass in fairly strong host rock. Commercial ore contacts are fairly regular in this manta but in others the ore waste contacts along the walls are irregular with shaly limestone pendants extend¬ing downward into the ore at capping. Dolomite sand is also quite frequently encountered along wall contacts and less frequently overhead. MINING METHODS Practically all stoping in the Gilman ore bodies has been carried on with timber and fill methods and the features which have been briefly described have dictated the choice. Although at the present time modified Mitchell and underhand square-set stopes account for the total production, considerable production has been obtained from alternate horizontal cut-and-fill stopes with Mitchell truss stopes in the pillars. This method was highly satisfactory in the hard manta ore body mentioned earlier and where ore excavations 11 m (35 ft) wide and 23 m (75 ft) long required no auxiliary timber support. It was a pillar recovery application of the method devised by M. W. Mitchell at the Calumet
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