San Manuel Mine

Tobie, Ray L. ; Richards, H. H. ; Thomas, L. A.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
GENERAL DESCRIPTION Since the beginning of operations, with the exception of a small tonnage mined by slushing, ore extraction has been by full gravity caving. Formerly, a checkerboard sequence of block undercutting was followed with the even-numbered blocks in one panel and the odd¬numbered blocks in the adjacent panel being mined. As these blocks were depleted, the intermediate or pillar blocks were mined (Fig. 1). Following this checker¬board, the mining sequence went through a number of changes, finally evolving into diagonal retreat panel cav¬ing by blocks (Fig. 2). The numbers in Fig. 2 indicate the sequence in which blocks were undercut. Gaps in the numbering sequence indicate undercutting on the level outside the illustrated area. Geology The ore body is a low-grade deposit of chalcopyrite mineralization disseminated throughout structurally weak, highly fractured, strongly altered granitic host rocks. It takes the shape of a gently dipping elliptical cylinder consisting of an ore shell of variable thickness surrounding an interior waste core. Major and minor axes of the mineralized cylinder are 1524 m (5000 ft) and 762 m (2500 ft), respectively, and length approximates 2438 m (8000 ft). Ore is sufficiently fractured to break readily into medium-coarse size. The igneous rock complex containing the ore body is covered by a wedge-shaped blanket of Tertiary con¬glomerate which was brought into place by faulting along the major regional structure of the San Manuel fault. Thickness of the conglomerate cap varies from only 9 m (30 ft) at the east end of the ore body to more than 610 m (2000 ft) at the west. Structurally, the con¬glomerate is much more competent than the igneous host rocks and, when caving, it breaks into massive chunks. Conglomerate boulders seen in drawpoints underground are very coarse. The total rock column over the initial mining area of the 1415 grizzly level was 354 m (1160 ft) of which 122 m (400 ft) was ore, 79 m (260 ft) was leached igneous capping, and 152 m (500 ft) was conglomerate above the San Manuel fault. Diamond Drilling: From 4572 to 7620 m (15,000 to 25,000 ft) are drilled annually from underground workings to delineate the ore body. MINE DEVELOPMENT Haulage Level In the south or main ore body (see Figs. 3-6), with the exception of the draw and transfer raises, all the extraction openings are concreted (Seaney and Tobie, 1965). The haulage panel drifts, which are 18 m (60 ft) below the grizzly drifts, are first driven with pre¬concrete ground support. The drift, which has an arched section, then is concreted using mobile collapsible steel tunnel forms. The haulage drifts leading from the pan¬els to the hoisting shafts are not concreted. After the panel drifts have been concreted, the raise stations from which transfer raises will be driven are constructed and the raise-station ore-drawing chute is installed. The chute is prefabricated of A-36 steel with undercut guillo¬tine gates made of abrasion-resistant 2.5-cm (1-in.) steel plate powered by 20-cm (8-in.) air cylinder installed on each side of the raise station. Transfer Raises The transfer raises are lined with 15 x 20-cm (6 x 8-in.) cribbing and are 1.22 m (4 ft) in the clear. Each cribbing is protected from wear by a high carbon steel angle which is nailed onto the cribbing. The transfer raises are driven from each side of the raise station on an angle of 1.1 rad (63°). Each raise con¬sists of a main and a backover branch. The transfer¬raise driving crew consists of two men working one shift only. Grizzly Drifts After the transfer raise reaches the grizzly level, the grizzly drift can be driven. The grizzly drifts are spaced at 10.6-m (35-ft) centers and are driven parallel to the long axis of the ore body (see Fig. 2). This drift is driven by a two-man crew working on one or more drifts at a time using feed-leg machines. The eight grizzlies in the 42.7-m (140-ft) long drift are spaced at 5.3-m
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