Review of support systems used in poor ground conditions in platinum room and pillar mining: A Zimbabwean case study.

Chikande, T.
Zvarivadza, T.
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The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.
Falls of ground pose costly hazards to personnel and equipment and thus measures should be taken to prevent them. This study endeavours to improve the support systems used in geotechnically poor ground at a Zimbabwean platinum mine by analysing the status quo and recommending an effective support system. Various techniques were used to determine the quality of ground conditions, predict the rock mass behaviour, and to identify the appropriate rockbolt type. An analysis of the current ground control methods and their limitations was also undertaken. The results showed that the current support system and mining practices in poor ground need to be modified to improve safety and productivity. Stoping overbreak is influenced by poor ground conditions and the explosives currently used. The use of emulsion is recommended to replace ANFO. Redesigning of pillars is also recommended in poor ground conditions. An evaluation of the current roofbolt system indicated an opportunity for improvement. With new insight on the performance of the shorter length roofbolts currently in use, a new support system was recommended taking into consideration cost-benefit analysis. Barring down using pinch bars in poor ground was seen as a risky and time-consuming exercise, hence the use of mechanical scalers is recommended to achieve zero harm and to meet production targets. Smoothwall blasting is recommended in poor ground to minimize excavation damage. Other recommendations include the use of hydrological surveys to determine groundwater levels and implement corrective measures. Both empirical and numerical modelling approaches need to be utilized in determining the optimum support.
Paper written on project work carried out in partial fulfillment of BSc. (Mining Engineering).
Bord and pillar mining , Explosives , Pillar design , Roofbolts , Support systems , Cost effectiveness , Rock mechanics , Hydrological surveys , Zimbabwe
Chikande, T. and Zvarivadza, T. 2016. Review of support systems used in poor ground conditions in platinum room and pillar mining: a Zimbabwean case study. Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. 116(4), pp. 323-332.