Stope Back Caving Mechanism and Preventive Measures
Stope back caving in a mine using open stope mining interrupts the planned mining sequence and causes oversize muck and dilution with adverse economic implications. As many underground mines are mining or have plans to mine at depth, stope back caving could have significant impact on the mine sustainability. Therefore understanding the caving mechanism is important in preventing future occurrence and improving the mine economic performance.
Falconbridge Ltd Kidd Mine is an underground mine using open stope method producing more than 2 million tonnes per year. Its current lowest mining level is approximately 2070m below surface and the lower portion of the orebody is being developed. In years of 2002 and 2003 the back of three stopes of approximately 1900m and 2040m below surface caved and caused substantial mining difficulties at the mine. As these caved stopes are subject to stress concentration, seismic activities and near major geological structures, the caving mechanism is much more complex than that of stopes near surface. In addition to the recorded caving history by site observations, the mine carried out cavity surveys and test drilling to define the caved profiles. The mine seismic monitoring database provided information at these stopes. Stress modeling work conducted by an external consultant provided the stress patterns at the caved stopes.
Based on the field collected data and stress and seismic information, this paper presents details of the stope caving process and cavity surveyed profiles, reviews the predictability of the stability graph approach for these cases, discusses the caving mechanism and proposes preventive measures to stabilize the stope back.
seismic activity, open stoping, back stability, caving mechanism, Deep Mining