Narrow vein mining and empirical stability charts

Symposium on Vein Deposits
Penny Clair Stewart, Robert Trueman,
Abstract Narrow vein underground stope design engineers in Australia have expressed significant interest in the requirements and methodology for developing site-specific stability charts. This is largely due to concern that existing stope stability charts inadequately take into factors influencing narrow vein stope stability, such as, the effect of backfill abutments and the effect of in stope pillars. This paper presents conclusions from a comprehensive statistical examination of case history requirements for a site specific stability chart and critiques literature arguments for site-specific charts. A new statistical analysis technique enabled the authors to quantify case history requirements and any site-specific effects the model exhibits. The analysis indicates that a reliable stable-failure boundary requires at least 150 case histories, of which a minimum of 10 percent should be unstable stope surfaces. Marginal site-specific effects were observed for the operating conditions captured within the database. The authors conclude that the apparent site-specific effects contained in previous literature are attributable to operating conditions inadequately represented in the database. Such operating conditions could induce erroneous stability predictions at any site, and therefore, are not truly site-specific. Following from these conclusions, a strategy for taking into account operating conditions particularly relevant to narrow vein mining has been proposed. In particular, the development of a chart that accounts for the effect of backfill abutments on stope stability. Backfill abutment effects are particularly relevant to mechanised narrow vein mining methods such as modified Avoca. Collaboration from at least five sites is required to obtain access to relevant data and underground drives for geotechnical mapping. Preliminary estimations indicate that approximately three months fieldwork is required to meet case history requirements. CMS data in conjunction with 3-dimensional design software will be used to calculate equivalent linear overbreak/slough (ELOS). In contrast to stable, failure, major failure and caving categorical variables, ELOS is an objective and continuous stability variable and is therefore, more conducive to mathematical modelling. Where possible, cavity monitoring survey (CMS) data will be collected.

Keywords: narrow vein, Backfill, Stope design, Mathews method, Stope stability, logistic regression, overbreak, Dilution
Full Access to Technical Paper
PDF version for $20.00
Other papers from Symposium on Vein Deposits