Integrated Underground Mining and Processing Systems

CIM Edmonton 2004
Andrew Bamber, Bern Klein, Mario Morin, Malcolm Scoble,
Abstract Mining costs are rising and revenues are shrinking as mines get deeper and deposit grades get lower. While open pit methods are attractive for shallow deposits, new techniques must be developed to exploit deep, low grade orebodies. Underground processing is an alternative that offers an opportunity to reject waste at an early stage in the mining cycle, facilitating bulk mining methods at depth, and significantly reducing horizontal and vertical transport costs, as well as reducing the quantity of solid waste for surface disposal. This research seeks to establish fundamental design criteria for the application of underground processing, including suitable orebody characteristics, mining methods, rock mechanics criteria, process and engineering design and equipment selection, as well as using a systems approach to modeling the economic impact of the application of underground processing on the mining operation. A case study using field data from a Sudbury Basin deposit as a basis is considered.
Keywords: underground pre-concentration, Resource utilization, Waste management, Systems engineering, Deep Mining, deep mineral deposits, Rock mechanics, underground waste rejection
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