# Planning Economics of Sublevel Caving

Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
 INTRODUCTION There are many mine planning factors in sublevel caving, as in the other mining systems, which when varied can substantially alter mining costs and profit¬ability. In this chapter, the following four topics are addressed with regard to economic optimization of sub¬level caving: production planning, haulage level spacing, orepass spacing, and extraction cutoff. The costs used here are the right order of magnitude but since each mine is unique, they should be considered only as examples. The objective is to demonstrate the tech¬niques which can be used. In a real mine, the evalua¬tions must be done using actual costs and conditions. It is difficult to predict exactly the costs involved, and therefore it is valuable to perform a sensitivity analysis to evaluate the effect of making incorrect as¬sumptions. Since the mining industry is very capital intensive, the effect of the interest rate must also be studied. PRODUCTION PLAN FOR AN IRON ORE DEPOSIT Introduction The first and most important thing to do before de¬signing an underground mine is to establish a long-range production plan. Such a plan is necessary for all eco¬nomic evaluations and should provide information about the lifetime of the mine, how much ore and waste must be handled per year, how much development per year is required, etc. An example is given in the following section. Problem In an iron ore mine sublevel caving is used. The iron content is 42%, and the mine supplies a pelletizing plant with an annual capacity of 3 million t/a. The ore body is shown in Fig. 1. The length of the ore body is 1000 m and the width is 100 m. Each slice is 10 m high, and there are 10 m be¬tween crosscuts, each of which has an area of 20 m2. The density of the ore is 3.5 t/m3. The spacing between rings is 2 m, and the extraction is 100%. The iron con¬tent is 66% in the pellets and 6% in the tailings. The problem is to develop a detailed production plan. A typical sublevel caving sequence is shown in Fig. 2. Solution Amount of ore per meter of crosscut: 20 X 3.5 = 70 t. Number of crosscuts per slice= 100. Length of crosscuts per slice: 100 X 100 = 10 000. Ore from crosscuts per slice = 10 000 m X 20 m2 X 3.5 = 700 000 t. Number of sublevel caving rounds per slice: 10 000/2 = 5000. Area for each blast in sublevel caving: 10 X 10 - 20 = 80 m2. Amount of ore per blast: 80 m2 X 6 m X 3.5 = 560 t. Extraction: 100% (see extraction curve Fig. 12). Loaded ore per blast: 75% or 420 t. Loaded waste per blast: 25% or 140 t. Total: 560 t. Total amount of rock from each blast in the sublevel caving: Ore: 560 t of which 2 X 70 = 140 t from develop¬ment work and 420 t from sublevel caving. Waste: 140 t. Total: 700 t. The ore needed per year is 3 X (66-6)/42-6 5 mil¬lion t. Necessary number of blasts per year= 5,000,000/ 560 = 8929. Distance to develop per year = 8929 blasts per year X 2 m per blast 17 858 m. Total amount/year: Ore from development work 17 858 m x 70 t/m = 1.25 million t/a Ore from sublevel caving: 8929 blasts per year X 420 tons per blast = 3.75 million t/a 5.00 million t/a Waste rock dilution: 8929 blasts per year X 140 tons per blast 1.25 million t/a Total amount to hoist 6.25 million t/ a The amount of ore from development work will in¬crease a little if the horizontal drift is placed in the ore body and not in the footwall. In this example the ore loss in 20%, and the waste rock dilution is also 20%. After taking the ore loss into account, the lifetime for 100 m of the ore body will be: