In-the-wall haulage for open-pit mining

Hustrulid, W. A. ; Seegmiller, B. ; Stephansson, O.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1988
Introduction The concept of in-the-wall haulage was formally introduced to the mining community in the early 1970s. The basic concept is simple. Rather than the traditional in-the-pit haulage/access ramp, single or twin ramps driven in the pit wall are used with crosscut connections on the working levels. The in-the-wall pit haulage system could be considered as part of the opening of a new mine, a way of completing to final depth an existing pit, or part of the transition from open-pit to underground mining with the ramp remaining as part of the access. This paper is intended to acquaint the reader, particularly mine planning engineers, with some of the possibilities presented by the concept. Nordstrom (1983) said, "In many countries, mining engineers are either open-pit or underground specialists and, hence, often don't consider the possibilities for combining the best aspects of each into a hybrid mining system." This is believed to be true. There are few "hybrid mines" employing, for example, open-pit methods with underground haulage systems. One reason is the variance with the experience of the mining company and the engineers involved. However, with today's low metal prices, innovative and unconventional thinking may be just what a property requires to remain in production. All the possible situations where an in-the-wall ramp might be considered cannot be presented here. Rather, a few examples will be discussed for illustration purposes. Potential savings in stripping costs A major cost in open-pit mining is associated with the removal of overburden and waste rock. Although much of this stripping cannot be avoided, the volume (V) associated with the presence of an in-pit haul road can be quite large, V 100 (pit depth) a (road width) 2 x road grade (%) As an example, consider a vertical ore body 400 m (1312 ft) long, 60 m (197 ft) thick, extending to a depth of 160 m (525 ft). Cross sections are shown in Fig. 1. Other data are: ore tonnage = 11 Mt (12 million st), ore density = 2.9 t/m3 (0.09 st per cu ft), waste rock density = 2.7 t/m3 (0.08 st per cu ft), road width = 20 m (66 ft), road gradient = 10%, and level interval = 10 m (33 ft). The evaluation has been made assuming that the pit slope (0) is constant around the pit except on the side with the haul road. On this side, the slope is decreased to allow for the road. Slope angles of 30° to 60° have been selected to indicate the dependence of stripping volume (V) on slope angle. The stripping at the ends have been calculated assuming representation by cones. The volume associated with the haul road is 2.6 Mm3 (92.8 million cu ft). A comparison of the strip volumes involved is shown in Table 1. As can be seen, the percent savings in strip volume varies from about 4% to 17% and depends greatly on the slope angle. It is perhaps more interesting to examine the savings in stripping costs that could then be used to cover the cost of the access ramp and the crosscuts for stripping costs of $3/m3 ($0.08 per cu ft). The cost with the road volume is 2.6 million x 3 = $7.8 million.
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