Some unique problems of surface mining in the Arctic
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1988
Surface mining in arctic regions is characterized by many unique problems. Continuous and discontinuous permafrost (perennially frozen ground) occurs in most of the arctic and subarctic areas. Permafrost presents special problems of slope stability. Stability of permafrost depends on its temperature, moisture content, and material type. Permafrost slope fails due to solifluction, disturbance of ice-rich slopes, and liquefaction. Drilling and blasting of frozen ground present special problems. Depending on their degree of saturation with water, freezing soils and rocks have a number of important characteristics that affect blasting efficiency. Metals used in mining equipment and mining structures require special selection. At low temperatures, many steels lose most of their normal ductility and toughness (resistance to brittle fracture). This paper discusses engineering solutions to unique problems of arctic mining.